Tennessee football: 4 ways to beat Georgia

The No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers are now 2-0 on the season, advancing their winning streak to eight games, which is the longest winning streak in SEC right now. This week poses a challenge for Tennessee football because it has their its big-time game of the season against the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs.

The Vols are total underdogs in the upcoming game, as numerous reports show experts heavily favoring the Bulldogs this Saturday.

With that said, how can Tennessee keep up with Georgia?

Offensive line plays complete game

The Bulldogs’ defense is ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense. Their defense has talent, experience and strength. In the two games, Georgia allowed only 16 points for eight points per game. The dominant defense raises a challenge for the Vols O-line. Similar to their opponent’s defensive line, the Vols offensive line has experience and talent.

With the leadership of Trey Smith and Cade Mays, the O-line produces opportunities for the running backs. In the game against Missouri, the Vols rushed for 236 yards. Tennessee does a great job of keeping its guys fresh. The offensive line frequently rotates throughout games, which is odd to see but helps keep the players energized. The coaching staff leaving its star front line guys in for more extended periods against Georgia’s defense.

When the O-line performs to its full potential, it creates offensive opportunities for the quarterback and running backs. If the offense line maintains its composure from start to finish, the Vols will give the Bulldogs a run for their money.

Run the ball effectively

To piggyback off the first point, the Vols need to put the ball in their running backs’ hands this Saturday. Why would Tennessee want to run against one of the top defenses in college football? Good question. The answer is Ty Chandler and Eric Gray.

Chandler and Gray combined for 195 rushing yards and three touchdowns this past Saturday against the Missouri Tigers. Chandler carried the ball for 90 yards, and Gray finished with the rest of the 105 rushing yards.

Gray has 28 carries for 145 yards this season with two touchdowns. On the other hand, Chandler has zero negative rushing yards this season. He carried the ball 32 times this season for 176 yards and has avoided negative yardage. How? It all goes back to the solid offensive line. When Tennessee’s offensive line performs to its full potential, it creates opportunities.

Kicker consistency

Senior Brent Cimaglia is the Vols’ veteran kicker. Last season, he finished at 85.2% (23-27) on field goals and made all 35 extra points. His current season isn’t going as well. It’s only been two games, but he is 1 of 3 on field goal attempts. Cimaglia is 9 of 9 for extra points, and his field goal misses were fairly long attempts.

If the Vols’ offense can push the ball down the field and get field goal range, Cimaglia can do some damage. He has confidence and has to keep his consistency throughout the game on Saturday.

Kicker Paxton Brooks, a sophomore, has a solid season going for him right now. He is consistent with his punting and kickoffs. He needs to maintain from start to finish.

Early stops on defense

Georgia has strong lines of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Similar to its solid defensive line, the offensive line is massive and aggressive. Many teams fail to stop the ground game early against the Bulldogs. By the time they do, it is usually too late.

This means the Vols’ D-line has to jump on Georgia from the get-go and never let up. The goal for the Vols should be to stop the Bulldogs from gaining momentum on the offensive side.

The secondary needs to take care of the passing game. Cornerback Bryce Thompson is fully back and ready to play Saturday. Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt said earlier this week senior Shawn Shamburger, who plays the defensive back, will make his season debut this weekend against Georgia. The addition of Shamburger can rattle the offense for the Bulldogs.

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