Carson Beck (QB #15) – Beck continues his stellar 2023 season as he and the Bulldogs’ passing offense cruised past a motivated but outmanned Ole Miss defense. Beck threw for over 250 yards for the tenth straight game and finished the contest with 306 yards and two touchdowns. Neyland Stadium is one of the toughest environments for opposing teams, and with the Vols’ crowd expected to be as raucous as always, look for Georgia’s gunslinger to utilize his unique ability to block out the noise and continue his Heisman campaign against a suspect Tennessee secondary.
Rara Thomas (WR #5) – The Mississippi State transfer is now playing a critical role for Georgia’s offense, and as the Dawgs approach their final regular season SEC game of the 2023 season, Thomas looks to continue his impressive form. The wideout has 22 receptions for 365 yards and one touchdown on the year. Against Ole Miss, Thomas jump started Georgia’s first drive with a 44-yard reception, showcasing his impressive run after the catch ability. Tennessee has a vulnerable passing defense, and it would not be a surprise to see Thomas targeted in one-on-one situations down the field.
Oscar Delp (TE #4) – Delp has been exceptional filling into the starting lineup due to Brock Bowers injury, and even though Bowers has returned, Delp will still be an essential piece of the Bulldog offense. Mike Bobo loves utilizing two tight end sets whether in the run game or passing game, meaning Delp’s minutes should not decline much. Georgia will still draw up plays to the big tight end in the red zone, and a vulnerable Tennessee secondary fits the mold for a favorable matchup the Bulldogs can exploit.
Nazir Stackhouse (DT #78) – Stackhouse followed his exceptional Missouri performance with another strong outing as the Bulldogs’ defensive lineman racked up three total tackles on the night and tacked on a sack. Stackhouse, known as a dominant run stopper, has been exceptional recently at disrupting the passer from the interior line, something the Bulldogs’ defense has lacked this season. Against a high-tempo Tennessee offense, Stackhouse will be relied upon to both stop the run against Tennessee’s potent rushing attack and disrupt Joe Milton on passing downs to prevent the deep ball.
Tykee Smith (DB #23) – Smith finished the Ole Miss game second in tackles only behind CJ Allen. The West Virginia transfer has been Georgia’s most impressive player in an uber-talented secondary this season, leading the group in total tackles (46) and interceptions (4). Last year against the Vols, Javon Bullard was the x-factor for the Georgia defense, blitzing out of the STAR position that Smith currently plays. Smith will have to hold up strong in both pass coverage and be effective in the run game if Georgia plans to leave Knoxville undefeated.
CJ Allen (LB #33) – Allen, in his first career start, may have been the best Bulldog on the field against Ole Miss. Many questions arose after Georgia captain and leader Jamon Dumas Johnson went down with a broken forearm. It was expected that Coach Kirby Smart was going to give the nod to the talented freshman to start the game, but whether Allen could dominate and communicate in an effective manner remained to be seen. Allen excelled, finishing the game with a team-high 9 total tackles and adding on a sack and a tackle for loss. The freshman will have another tall task against Tennessee’s offense this week, but expect Allen to put together another impressive performance in Knoxville.
In Georgia’s 28-17 season-opening victory over Tennessee Between the Hedges in 1988, Rodney Hampton ran for 196 yards and two TD’s and Tim Worley had 144 and a pair of scores.
Kevin Butler, one of Georgia’s greatest players, and Willie Gault, one of Tennessee’s legendary receivers, were teammates for the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl championship team.
The big play in the Bulldogs 41-14 victory over the Volunteers in 2003 was Sean Jones 92-yard fumble return for a touchdown on the final play of the first half to give Georgia a 20-7 lead.