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October 4, 2013
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Tennessee offense vs. Georgia defense
It is at this point in the season that teams start to really find an identity. Tennessee has yet to do that offensively, so a number of things could happen here. We, however, expect the Volunteers to attack Georgia where the Bulldogs are the weakest right now and that is in the secondary. Expect Butch Jones to put the game in Justin Worley's hands early with the short passing game. The Vols will go sideline to sideline with hitches, curls, slants, and screens to make the Georgia defense cover the entire field. All of this will likely be done with an up-tempo attack. The run game will also be sprinkled in to keep the UGA interior defensive line and linebackers honest. If Tennessee is able to find success, expect the Vols to stick with it and use that success to set up some double moves for big plays in the second half. If the Vols struggle to move the chains with that game plan, it could be a long day.
Tennessee defense vs. Georgia offense
Since it is likely that Todd Gurley will be out for this one, Tennessee has to worry less about Georgia's ability to ground and pound on the road. That means the Vols will be focused on limiting the big play. Expect more two high safety looks than not, and for Tennessee to work hard on keeping everything in front. Georgia has an explosive offense and the Vols can ill afford to let Aaron Murray and company hit the big play. Now making Georgia earn every yard doesn't necessarily mean that the Bulldogs will be stopped, but with this game being on the road with tremendous crowd noise, this is a solid strategy. Expect Tennessee to leave the run game up to the defensive linemen and linebackers and to keep the secondary back so they can drive on the football. If Tennessee is able to succeed here, Georgia will have to be careful with the football and not commit penalties. If Tennessee is unable to slow down UGA's ground game or if Georgia hits a few big plays, the Vols might need to score a lot of points.
Georgia offense vs. Tennessee defense
Georgia is going to come into this game doing what it has all season. Expect the Bulldogs to get Murray going early with the passing game. Also expect plenty of throws to the perimeter if Tennessee is in a soft zone. In the run game, expect Georgia to try and get Keith Marshall to the edge to avoid two of Tennessee's best defensive players in Daniel McCullers and A.J. Johnson. If Georgia can move the chains frequently in the early going and execute in the red zone, it will likely force Tennessee to play from behind. If the Bulldogs balanced attack stalls at any point due to penalties, sacks, or any other mistakes, then the Tennessee defense will likely gain a lot of confidence.
Georgia defense vs. Tennessee offense
Make no mistake, Worley has struggled all season. He has had issues at home and on the road, and Georgia is in an odd situation because of that. On one hand, you want to pressure Worley and try to force him into mistakes. On the other hand, you don't want to over play him and allow things to open up in Tennessee's rushing attack. Expect Georgia to come after Worley early. The Bulldogs can't let the Vol signal caller stand behind his great offensive line and have all day to throw, so expect Todd Grantham to mix in some overload blitzes with some pressure up the middle. If the Bulldogs can disrupt Worley early, Tennessee is going to have a hard time moving the chains with the pass. Georgia will be working to make Tennessee one-dimensional and should that come to pass, the defense should have a big day. If the plan to pressure Worley fails, then you would likely see Georgia try and play a lot of tight man coverage to shrink passing windows for the Tennessee quarterback.
Tennessee will be ready to play in this one and the crowd in Knoxville will be loud as always. Georgia is coming off a huge emotional win over LSU, and this has "let down" game written all over it. With that said, the talent disparity between the two teams right now is great. Georgia's offense is clicking on all cylinders while the defense, especially against the run, is gaining confidence. Expect this game to be fairly uneventful early. It will be close throughout the first quarter and into the second before Georgia hits a few big plays and starts to pull away. Georgia builds a solid lead and Tennessee keeps fighting to score late. Score: Georgia 31 Tennessee 17.
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