Jeff Dantzler’s Tennessee vs. Georgia Preview

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Jeff Dantzler’s Tennessee vs. Georgia Preview

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[su_spacer size=”20″] Georgia and Tennessee lock up Saturday afternoon at 3:30 from Neyland Stadium, as the Bulldogs and Volunteers play for survival in the Southeastern Conference East Division race. The Bulldogs got pummeled by Alabama 38-10 between the hedges, dropping Georgia to 4-1 on the season, and 2-1 in SEC play. The Volunteers lost a third heart-breaker, falling to Arkansas by four, to drop to 2-3 and 0-2.
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Tennessee has had this one circled on the calendar since the schedule came out. Georgia has won five straight in the series, and seeks a second three-game Knoxville winning streak of the 21st century. But the last three times these two squared off, in Athens in 2012 and 2014 and Knoxville in between, far superior Bulldog teams escaped with victories by the miniscule respective totals of seven, three and three. Tennessee has closed the talent gap, and the Vols skill personnel and an impressive line of scrimmage have the Orange and White anticipating a breakthrough major win under the watch of third-year coach Butch Jones. Georgia is desperately trying to avoid being the bulls-eye team. The Vols have been oh so close this year. Tennessee isn’t that far away from being in the midst of a special season, but lost heart-breaking nail-biters to Oklahoma in Neyland Stadium and Florida in Gainesville, and then fell to Arkansas.
[su_spacer size=”40″] For the Volunteers, the timing of Saturday’s game is superb. Georgia is coming off of a highly anticipated, emotionally draining showdown with Alabama, in which the red and black was left hanging their collective heads. The Vols are in desperation mode after the loss Arkansas, and Tennessee can let it all hang out, as an open date follows the matchup with the Dogs, prior to the old rival Alabama in Tuscaloosa. What mode is Georgia in?
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The Match-ups

[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia O-Line vs. Tennessee D-Line
[su_spacer size=”40″] For the Bulldogs to win this Saturday — or any Saturday — the biggest key is for the offense to thrive with the ball in the hands of electric front-line standouts Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Malcolm Mitchell. That starts with the big boys up front opening holes, protecting the passer and creating stalemates for Georgia’s splendid backs to flourish.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Tennessee’s defense line is outstanding and will present one of the biggest challenges that Georgia’s offense will face this season. Derek Barnett, a sophomore standout is the headliner. He was second team All-SEC as a freshman. Expect for the Volunteers to line him up all over that defensive front. Barnett is a player that Georgia must identify prior to each snap. Much of that responsibility falls to junior center Brandon Kublanow, playing the position for the first time as a Bulldog after starting at guard the previous two seasons.
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[su_spacer size=”40″] Somewhere in a Bulldog shrine in Statesboro, Ga. rests a worn out cassette tape with the highlight calls of the 1980 national champions. Larry Munson’s calls with the introductions from Dan Magill. Mozart meets Da Vinci.
[su_spacer size=”40″] The preamble from the Greatest Bulldog ever leading into the calls from the Greatest College Football Announcer ever, highlighting the Greatest College Football Player ever are forever etched into cherished memory.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “September the 6th, 1980 marked the debut of the most sensational freshman halfback in the history of American football.”
[su_spacer size=”40″] Indeed, and the course Georgia took to the national championship beginning that sultry night in Knoxville borders on the improbable. The Bulldogs, who had gone 6-5 the year before, tailed Tennessee 15-0 in the third quarter. The odds a gambler could have gotten on a perfect 12-0 national championship season at that point. . .
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia got on the board on a muffed punt by Tennessee. Multiple Bulldogs had a shot at picking up or at least falling on the seemingly greased pigskin. It squirted out of the end zone though and the Bulldogs had to settle for a safety.
[su_spacer size=”40″] It was 15-2 and things didn’t look a whole lot better.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Soon thereafter, a legend was born.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “Five, 10, 12, he’s running over people!!!! Oh you Herschel Walker!” shouted Munson. He ran over Tennessee’s standout safety — and future Dallas Cowboys teammate Bill Bates — for the Bulldogs first touchdown. Donned in the red pants, Walker went left on a short side toss sweep for the second. All-American Rex Robinson was true on both extra points. Then with the Vols on the move, Nate Taylor and Pat McShea teamed up to cause and recover a Tennessee fumble in the shadow of the goalpost.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia would win 16-15 and the march to perfection was on.
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[su_spacer size=”40″] Make sure to check out Bulldawg Illustrated’s latest print edition: Don’t Jump Ship, digital issue available for free online click HERE.
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