May 21, 2024

Tennessee vs. Georgia Preview

Tennessee is struggling to right the ship after a disappointing start to the 2015 season, while Georgia is reeling off a physical beatdown from Alabama. Which team has what it takes to get a victory on Saturday?

Photo by Ben Moser

Photo by Ben Moser

[title_box title=”Tennessee vs. Georgia Preview”]

Saturday at Neyland Stadium, the Volunteers blew a 14-point first quarter lead in a 24-20 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Vols have held at least a 13-point lead in each of their games and are now 2-3. All other Power Five teams that have led by at least 13 points are 157-5, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

After a colossal fourth-quarter collapse against Florida the previous week, the Vols return to Neyland Stadium against the Hogs was seen as a must-win game. Tennessee jumped out to a 14-0 lead in just seven minutes, but failed to score a touchdown the rest of the game. The Vols didn’t necessarily struggle on the offensive end, racking up 365 total yards, but failure to execute in the red zone and struggles on the defensive side of the ball were key factors in the loss.

The Volunteers’ defense, which is No. 71 in the FBS in points allowed, allowed 275 yards rushing and another 219 through the air against the Razorbacks.

This week, the No. 19 team in the country, Georgia, rolls into town. The Bulldogs boast an average of 244.8 rushing yards per game, led by the third-leading rusher in the FBS, sophomore Nick Chubb.

In Georgia’s 38-10 loss to Alabama last Saturday, Chubb was the lone bright spot, rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown. Georgia’s run game will be a huge obstacle in Saturday’s matchup, as Tennessee’s defense has struggled to close out games thus far.

The Volunteers come into the game against Georgia without a win in the SEC. Along with the baggage of a 2-3 record, comes a disappointed fan base. The Tennessee faithful isn’t as optimistic as it was at the beginning of the season when it anticipated a much-improved year.

After multiple fourth quarter collapses, both fans and media have criticized head coach Butch Jones’ ability to manage a game in the final minutes. With conference losses to Florida and Arkansas, the pressure is on for Jones to lead the Volunteers to a big win.

Through his first 30 games as head coach, Jones has a 14-16 record. Tennessee fans cringe as they realize it is the exact same record Derek Dooley had through his first 30 games. That is a comparison the Big Orange faithful does not want to exist.

But lucky for Jones and the Volunteers, while Georgia has contributed two of those losses, Tennessee has only lost by three points each time. That being, despite the Bulldogs’ elite ranking at the time.

When looking at the history of the Tennessee-Georgia game, there aren’t many more competitive series’ in the SEC East. The series between the Vols and Bulldogs is tied at 21-21-2, with the ‘Dawgs taking the last five games. To put it into perspective, the last time Tennessee beat Georgia, Lane Kiffin was head coach. It was a dominant 45-19 win in Neyland Stadium.

Going into this game, both teams are at a crossroads in their season after being preseason favorites to win the SEC East. The Bulldogs no longer look like the absolute favorite after the loss to Alabama and Florida’s dominating performance against then-No. 3 Ole Miss. The trip to Knoxville is a must-win for the Bulldogs to keep their SEC East championship hopes alive and well.

On the other side, Tennessee comes into the game limping after three painful losses. Facing loads of criticism, Jones and ‘Team 119’ are in a tough spot. After not being able to finish late in games, the Volunteers have nearly erased their preseason expectations of competing for the SEC East title. But even with two early conference losses, a win against Georgia would be huge for the Vols. It would give Jones a much-needed signature win in his critical third year and would serve to revive the spirits of disappointed Volunteer fans. A win against Georgia would provide Tennessee with a desperately-seeked boost of confidence heading into the toughest stretch of their schedule.

The matchup between Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC) and No. 19 Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC) will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be aired by CBS.

Featured image by Ben Moser 

Edited by Cody McClure

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Dalton, a firm believer that sporting events are best spent on Twitter, is an Assistant Sports Editor for TNJN and a sophomore studying Journalism at the University of Tennessee. Two of his favorite pastimes include beating his roommates at 2k and remaining in awe of the amount of stories fellow editor David Bradford writes. Twitter: @dk_writes

1 thought on “Tennessee vs. Georgia Preview

  1. The Volunteer season rides on this game. This match up against a ranked SEC rival could be the best or worst thing to happen to TN this season. If the Vols pull one out in front of their dismayed fans, it could revive the life back into this season and the fan base. Another loss could complete suck the life out of this program and really this has to effect the recruiting in some way, unless we pull a Louisville, which I don’t recommend.

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