Game preview: UT vs. UGA
Tennessee Stat Book
Georgia stat book
1. Underdawg? Big Deal: Being an underdog in Sanford Stadium hasn’t exactly been the kiss of death for Tennessee. The Vols won (51-33) as dogs in 2006 and (19-14) in 2004. Way back in 1992, an underdog win (34-31) by interim coach Phillip Fulmer was another brick in the wall of a coaching change.
2. More Blessed to Receive: Forget giving. In the past two games the Vols have been taking and thus turned the turnover margin around. UT’s offense has avoided a turnover since Florida and the Vols are plus-5 in that span after a four-takeaway day at LSU. Matt Simms has a streak of 73 pass attempts without a pick.
3. Shrinking Offense: There’s a trend that needs to be stopped. The Vols’ offensive yardage has shrunk every week: 537 vs. UT Martin; 333 vs. Oregon; 288 vs. Florida; 287 vs. UAB; 217 vs. LSU. Georgia is allowing 324 yards per game. That’s a goal to aim for today.
4. Then There Were Two: If Dallas Thomas (ankle) doesn’t play today, the Vols are down to only two of their five opening-day offensive linemen, Jarrod Shaw and Ju’Wuan James, and they’ll both be playing new positions. Yikes. James will flip from right tackle to the left side, Shaw will slide from guard to right tackle and right guard Zach Fulton will become the third true freshman starter. Darrin Gooch will make his fourth start at center, James Stone his third at guard.
5. Bag of Chips: Tennessee has 15 scholarship players from the state of Georgia. Some of them grew up dreaming of being a Bulldog, but weren’t asked. Others want to keep the barking from folks back home at a minimum. Either way, that’s 15 Vols who should have a chip on their shoulder and play accordingly.
— Mike Strange