For the first time this season Volunteer fans will witness a high powered offense on display in Neyland Stadium. However, it doesn’t belong to the team clad in orange.
On Saturday afternoon the Tennessee Volunteers (3-2) will host the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs (3-1) in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. EDT on CBS. Also, with the nationally televised kickoff, the Vols will debut their new “Smokey Gray,” uniforms on Saturday for the first time. They first unveiled them during their August 15 media day prior to the season.
The Vols have already witnessed one highly potent offense this season when they faced Oregon in their third game of the season and received a 59-14 shellacking. It was the worst loss in the program’s history since 1910. What awaits them this time around isn’t quite as powerful offensively, but is relatively similar.The Bulldogs have the sixth best offense in the nation, averaging 554 yards per game, with three of their four contests to this point in the season coming against top 10 opponents. They are also ranked fourth nationally in scoring offense, averaging 41.2 points per game.
Georgia’s offense has the one–two punch Tennessee has been lacking the past few years. Senior quarterback Aaron Murray brings a passing attack that could shell shock any defensive secondary. In four games he already has 1,338 yards passing with 11 touchdowns.
Tennessee’s defense won’t be able to get too fixated with Murray’s powerful arm, though, as the Bulldogs rushing attack is just as lethal. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have combined for 663 yards rushing this season, giving them an average of over 165 yards rushing per game so far.
In 2012 the “Gurshall,” duo combined for 294 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, leading Georgia to a 51-44 victory in Athens, Ga., their third straight over Tennessee.
One bright spot for the Vols this Saturday is they’ll be facing a youthful defense that has given up 32.5 points per game this season, including 21 to an unranked North Texas team two weeks ago. Tennessee is averaging 31.8 points per game in five games, but a few of those points were contributed by defensive scores.
Defensively, the Vols are ranked third nationally in turnovers with 15, and first in the SEC. 11 of those 15 turnovers are interceptions, which ties them with Virginia Tech for first nationally in interceptions on the season. Tennessee has forced at least one turnover in each game this season, and multiple turnovers in four of the five played thus far. They’ll need to keep that streak alive if they are to have a shot at upsetting the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.