Georgia Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers preview


After a virtual open date last week (sorry, Troy), the Georgia Bulldogs resume their “big boy” schedule on Saturday in Athens. SEC East rival Tennessee arrives at Sanford Stadium for a game that will be seen by a great deal of the country (ESPN coverage, etc.), and the pressure is on the Bulldogs to hold serve against a team that is perceived to be inferior from a talent perspective. Let’s take a look at the particulars.

Opponent: Tennessee Volunteers

Time/TV: 12:00 pm, ESPN

Georgia Offense vs. Tennessee Defense

The Tennessee defense is solid, but as Oklahoma displayed in a 34-10 victory two weeks ago, they can be exploited if given the right match-ups. The Vols currently rank in the 40’s nationally against both the run and the pass, and prior to the Oklahoma game, Tennessee allowed only 26 total points against Utah State and Arkansas State. In short, this is a group with real talent, but it isn’t as if the Vols are a brick wall and this side of the ball, and that bodes well for UGA.

Obviously, the Troy massacre will alter the statistical profile of the Georgia offense a bit, but the team currently ranks among the top 15 nationally on the ground, averaging 304 rushing yards per game. Todd Gurley will get a full workload after a virtual bye week (6 carries) against Troy, and with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb around to provide changes of pace, it is entirely plausible that Georgia possesses the best “traditional” (i.e. non-option) running game in the country.

Hutson Mason will be without three wide receivers (again) this week, but the trio of Justin Scott-Wesley, Malcolm Mitchell and Jonathon Rumph has been absent all year, and that shouldn’t change anything. Mason hasn’t been asked to “win” Georgia a game on his own, but the senior has been wildly efficient through 3 games, and that provides optimism.

Georgia Defense vs. Tennessee Offense

Tennessee is not a terrifying offense by any stretch, and if the Vols go for 30+ in this game, the defensive issues for UGA become very, very real.

The Vols are led by QB Justin Worley, who has amassed 721 passing yards in three games, but he has completed only 58% of his passes on the year, and Tennessee is not blessed with any special talent in the passing game. For the season, the Vols are middle-of-the-pack (62nd) nationally in passing, but because the Dawgs possess a weakness on the back-end, this is the match-up to watch.

Freshman RB Jalen Hurd leads the Vols on the ground with 209 yards and 4.4 yards per carry, but again, the Georgia front seven should be fully capable of slowing his progress. Tennessee has had all kinds of issues opening holes for their admittedly talented running backs, and as a result, they currently sit 98th in America in rushing, accumulating just 130 yards per game.


Georgia is the better team in this spot, and because they are playing at home, this would be an ugly spot to drop a game. However, Tennessee should be fully rested and ready to roll as they are coming off of an open date last week, and the Vols will be “up” to face a top-15 team in Georgia. Still, the Bulldogs should be able to score as they please, and barring a defensive disaster, the scoreboard should finish in the right direction for UGA.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning. Check it out!