Tennessee at Georgia
Sanford Stadium (AKA the most disgusting place in the state of Georgia)
weather: probably wet
And it all comes down to this. The Tennessee Vols hop on I-75 en route to upset the Georgia Bulldogs. The matchup will provide what I think will be the game of the day. The weather may not be as bad as originally projected, but it will likely still be somewhat of a factor.
Whether it’s rainy or dry, these two teams will experience a battle they haven’t seen in the past three contests. Tennessee has put up a respectable fight in the previous two meetings, albeit only for a portion of each game. This time the Volunteers will look to carry the fight to the Bulldogs and keep it there for 60 minutes. Or longer.
Georgia has outscored Tennessee by 96 points in the previous three meetings. A higher class of talent has simply worn on the Volunteers in those contests. However, the Vols are better equipped this time around.
Tennessee is led by what is now an experienced and exceptional offensive line. It is lightyears beyond the Auburn front that Georgia experienced a week ago.
The Tennessee offensive line got an immediate upgrade when Cade Mays decided to transfer from the Bulldogs and come back home to play for the orange and white. The Knoxville, TN native played his first game as a Vol last week against Missouri after being declared eligible days before the contest.
Mays, along with senior Trey Smith, paved the way for the Tennessee rushing attack against the Tigers. The Vols tallied 232 yards on the ground. They are averaging 4.2 yards per rush on the year while running the ball 58 percent of the time. Keeping the ball out of Georgia’s hands is something Tennessee will have to do in order to stabilize the weapons that the Bulldogs have on offense.
Georgia hasn’t put up alarming numbers with their offensive attack, but they have high-caliber weapons. Running backs Zamir White and James Cook are averaging over 5 yards per carry. Wideout Kearis Jackson has totaled over 200 yards receiving, while fellow sophomore George Pickens has hauled in a pair of touchdowns. The key to the Bulldogs offense is controlling the clock and pounding their opponents into submission. Georgia has controlled 58 percent of the clock through the first two games.
The biggest worry for the Vols is attacking a very talented Georgia defense. Kirby Smart’s defensive scheme has yet to allow a red zone touchdown. The Bulldogs are only giving up 2.3 yards per carry. However, their opponents have only attempted 50 rushes.
Tennessee is averaging 42 carries through two games, echoing head coach Jeremy Pruitt’s sentiment of emphasizing the run game. But, when the Vols pass, they are very effective. The difference in this game will be the collective effort of the Tennessee wideouts. According to Pro Football Focus, Tennessee has the second-highest graded receiving corp among Power 5 teams (74.6).
It will no doubt be a dog fight down in Athens as two former co-workers are pitted against one another across the sidelines. Look for the Vols to easily cover and possibly suck the life out of Bulldog faithful, ala the 2016 Dobbs Nail Boot. Plus, you have to like Smokey’s chances here. The bluetick hound loves to hunt in the rain. Uga won’t even come out of the dog house. Vols (+12.5)
Other Fan Run Picks and Predictions:
Will Stevens: Arkansas +14 (lock), UGA 24-16
Matt Hubbard: Vols 35-31
Hayden Wallen: Lock of the Week is Fla (-6.5), UGA 21-17
Dylan Salor: Vols 21-20
Austin Sanders: Vols 27-24
Tanner Carson: UGA 24-17
Charley Collier: 24-21 Vols
Stetson Marlin: 23-21 Vols via Cimaglia GW FG
Treigh Patterson: UGA 20-13
Nate Hodges: UGA 27-13
Trey Wallace: UGA 27-23
Tucker Holt: Vols 21-17
Billy Stats: UGA 31-13