Tennessee Football 3 Keys: Georgia


The Tennessee Vols (5-4) will take on a problem no team has yet been able to solve on Saturday when they face the Georgia Bulldogs (9-0) in Athens. Here are the three keys to a Tennessee victory.

By Steve Wright

1 – Keep the scoreboard moving

Tennessee is the best offense that Georgia has faced all year and it isn’t close. Hendon Hooker is playing at an outstanding level and the Vols will be able to move the ball on the Georgia defense to some degree. The problem is that the Vols are last in the entire nation in time of possession. This is a little by design based on the tempo style of the offense – and they beat Kentucky last week 45-42 when holding the ball for what felt like about seven minutes – but against Georgia that could be an issue. The key to making it less of an issue is to score – even if it is only field goals – to avoid empty possessions. Scoreboard pressure has to be a thing here.

2 – The defense has to win on third down

The offense can hold up. The defense is the question mark. The Tennessee defense has been brutal on third down and it cannot get off of the field because of it. Teams convert close to 50% of third down attempts on the Vols and the way that Georgia plays – running the ball, solid defense, and not putting quarterback Stetson Bennett in positions where he has to bail out the team – is going to see them with a lot of third and short opportunities. Tennessee doesn’t have to win all of those, but it has to win enough.

3 – Big play magic

The Vols offense has seven touchdowns this season that have gone for 70 plus yards. This is massive as grinding out a win against a Georgia defense that is loaded with NFL prospects isn’t going to happen. The Vols must hit Georgia hard on offense break big plays, while big plays in the special teams and defensive areas wouldn’t hurt at all either. If the Vols can be +2 or more in the turnover margin and hit a big scoring play from deep then they have the right formula to win.

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