The Tennessee Volunteers faced off against the Georgia Bulldogs in a game that ended in historic fashion on Saturday. However, history was not on the side of Butch Jones and the Vols, as they were beaten 41-0 in the worst home loss for Tennessee since 1905.
The quarterback play for Tennessee couldn’t have been much worse last week. Quinten Dormady started the game for the Vols, but threw for just 64 yards on 5-of-16 passing and tallied two interceptions. Backup Jarrett Guarantano was put in for the third quarter to finish the game, and he also brought some life to the Neyland Stadium crowd. However, Guarantano had a forgettable performance with just 16 passing yards to finish the evening.
Running Backs: D+
None of the blame can be put on tailback John Kelly and the running backs in the 41-0 beating from the Bulldogs, but it still wasn’t pretty. Georgia clearly knew what it took to halt the heavily run-oriented offense of the Vols and they shut it down. Kelly fumbled and the running backs were held to just 62 yards on the ground on Saturday. Still, Kelly somehow managed to put together 91 total yards in the brutal beatdown from the Bulldogs.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: F
Not that they had much help from Dormady, but the receivers just couldn’t get open against the overwhelming Georgia secondary. There were 11 total catches in the game, but eight of them were completed to the running backs. Josh Palmer, Jeff George and Ethan Wolf all combined for three catches and 19 yards. Dropped passes were also a problem for Tennessee and have continued to be, as the season as moved along.
Offensive Line: D
No one was expecting the Volunteers offensive line to have a solid game against the stacked Georgia front seven, but it got ugly. Tennessee’s offensive line gave up a season-high three sacks and eight tackles-for-loss on Saturday. The Vols poor run blocking continued against the Bulldogs, especially after the front seven was keying in on Kelly. The Tennessee offensive line was just another part of the dreadful offensive performance on Saturday.
Defensive Line: D+
The Tennessee defensive line had been improving week-by-week heading into last weekend, but that all stopped against Georgia. Kendal Vickers was solid with nine total tackles, a sack and tackle for loss. However, the rest of the defensive line combined for just nine tackles. Vickers and Darrell Taylor both played well on Saturday, and were the only two with consistent production in game.
Although the Volunteers linebacker corps didn’t play great on Saturday, they were still the most efficient group on defense. However, that’s not saying much. Missed tackles was the name of the game for the Tennessee linebackers, but their stats looked solid. Quart’e Sapp lead the Vols with a team-high 10 tackles and a tackle-for-loss and Colton Jumper logged five tackles, one sack and two tackles-for-loss.
The Vols secondary missed a handful of opportunities to create turnovers in Saturday’s loss. Safety Nigel Warrior dropped an interception and another was bobbled by a couple of Tennessee defensive backs. This was the third game for the Volunteers secondary this season that it was tested with less than 20 pass attempts. Overall, the Tennessee secondary held Jacob Fromm to just seven completions for 84 yards on Saturday.
Special Teams: D
The Volunteers faced one of the best special teams in the entire country in the Bulldogs on Saturday. Georgia punter Cameron Nizialek didn’t allow a single punt to be returned and had a long of 59 yards. The Tennessee kick returns weren’t much better with just three returns for 60 yards on Saturday. Even Vols star punter Trevor Daniel struggled with a blocked punt off his blockers. This was the messiest special teams game that Tennessee has strung together all season.
Edited by Ben McKee
Photo courtesy of UT Sports