[su_spacer size=”30″] But fret not by fellow Bulldawg fans. Lift thine eyes from the ground and do not despair for this Saturday’s game versus Tennessee is almost upon us. Georgia has a chance to get back on that SEC saddle and ride their way to an Eastern Division title with a win in Knoxville. This is no easy task as Neyland Stadium has always been a foreboding venue to go into and get a win at, but Georgia has the talent and ability to do so. Let’s take a look at the key match-ups of the game in this weeks Game Day Preview.
Win the turnover battle
[su_spacer size=”40″] Last week, the one thing that Georgia could not do against a talented team like Alabama is turn the ball over and lose the turnover battle. They did both turning the ball over 4 times and ended up minus 2 in the turnover margin for the game.
[su_spacer size=”40″] While Tennessee is no Alabama and even though they have lost two in a row to the Gators and Razorbacks, they are still an SEC team with quality talent. Georgia cannot turn the ball over like it did versus Alabama and expect a different outcome even against the Volunteers.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Special teams need to be special
[su_spacer size=”40″] I am not sure what has happened to Georgia’s special teams this season, but after game one, it seems those units have been not so special. There have been lapses in execution and some plays that just leave fans scratching their heads in bewilderment. I already had a thin spot up top and it has grown considerably thinner this season already.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Last week, Colin Barber’s punt was blocked, recovered and ran in for a TD by the Tide. It would be easy to blame Barber because he has had some struggles, but not on that play. The punt protection broke down and a blocker failed to pick up the Alabama rusher. It was basically one of those “LOOK OUT!!!” plays.
[su_spacer size=”40″] On top of that, Georgia’s return game has disappeared. In the Bulldawgs last three games, Georgia has had 8 punt returns for 38 yards or an average of 4.75 yards per punt return. Kick returns have not fared any better. This season, Georgia has had 16 returns for only 224 yards, a paltry kick return average of just 14 yards per return. How paltry? The Dawgs are currently in last place in the SEC in kick return average and last place nationally. Yes. You read that right.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Meanwhile, Georgia’s opponent this weekend is first in the SEC and nationally in kickoff returns, averaging 37.92 yards per return as well as having returned 2 for touchdowns. They also have been consistently good on punt returns averaging 15.80 yards and have returned 1 for a touchdown which puts them 4th best in the SEC and 25th nationally.
[su_spacer size=”40″] If Georgia wants to win up in Knoxville, they need to be especially good on special teams. They must prevent sophomore Evan Berry from breaking the game open with a big kick return. The Bulldawgs’ punt coverage units must hem in Cameron Sutton and Alvin Kamara on punt returns. Tennessee’s special teams are good enough to keep them in the game. If Georgia makes mistakes like they have been doing in this phase of the game, it could be costly.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Run the ball over the Vols like Herschel ran over Bill Bates
[su_spacer size=”40″] Tennessee’s run defense is 11th in the SEC and 79th nationally, allowing 171.60 yards per game and 4.45 yards per carry. Last week, the Orange shirts had no answer for the Arkansas running game, and the Razorbacks ran rough shot over the Vols, amassing 275 yards on the ground on 50 carries.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Yes. The Volunteers are going to load the box and try to make Georgia pass the ball, but the Bulldawgs need to come out and make a statement with the running the game. They have the offensive line and tailbacks to do so.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Don’t let Joshua Dobbs look like Peyton Manning
[su_spacer size=”40″] Last week, the Tide came into Sanford Stadium with a lot of questions at QB and Georgia seemed to have figured that part of the game out. Coker out played Georgia’s QB in the bad weather conditions and was able to hit open receivers. How? Alabama’s play action. Several times, Georgia’s defensive backs were caught looking in the backfield or biting on the play fake.
[su_spacer size=”40″] You can be assured that Tennessee is going to try and do the same thing. The defensive backfield has to stay disciplined, trust the linebackers and defensive linemen in front of them to take care of the running back. If the Georgia DBs get caught peaking back there this Saturday, the Vols have a solid group of WRs that could make the Bulldawgs pay for that mistake.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Dobbs can also hurt defenses with his legs by either extending the play till his receivers get open or taking off to try to pick yardage via his fleet feet. If the defensive backs are able to be a blanket on Saturday, the front 7 cannot lose contain and the pass rush must eat again. They have to be hungry after managing 6 sacks in their first 2 game but only 2 in the last 3 contests.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Bulldawg Bob’s Prognostication
[su_spacer size=”40″] I realize the last several games between the Dawgs and Vols have been close, hard fought affairs, and I also realize that Tennessee could just as easily be 5-0 instead of 2-3 this season. . . however, I just have a feeling that Georgia will play angry. As much as Alabama needed their win last Saturday, Georgia needs this win even more; so. I like the Bulldawgs to come out on top 38-21.
GAME DAY INFO[su_spacer size=”10″]
Date: Saturday, October 10th, 2015
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, Neyland Stadium[su_spacer size=”20″]
Pregame Broadcast begins at 11:30 AM ET
Gates open at 1:30 PM ET
Kickoff at 3:30 PM ET[su_spacer size=”20″]
Televised on CBS
Play-by-play: Verne Lundqvist
Color commentator: Gary Danielson
Sideline reporter: Allie LaForce
Live stream available on CBSSports.com[su_spacer size=”40″]
Listen on the Bulldog Radio Network[su_spacer size=”20″]
Listen to the Game on Audio Stream[su_spacer size=”20″]
Play-by-play: Scott Howard
Color commentator: Eric Zeier
Sideline reporter: Chuck Dowdle[su_spacer size=”40″] [su_document url=”http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/geo/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2015-16/depth_chart_event/depth_chart.pdf”] [su_spacer size=”40″]
For more game info, check out:[su_spacer size=”20″] GEORGIADOGS.COM – University of University of Georgia Official Athletic Site – Football