Hot or Cold: Tennessee looking to upset No. 12 Georgia
Tennessee travels to Athens, Ga., for its annual SEC East matchup against No. 12 Georgia. We analyze several areas where the Volunteers are hot or cold.
Freshman running back Jalen Hurd is off to an impressive start to his collegiate career. Hurd leads Tennessee with 209 yards on 48 attempts. Despite being listed as the team’s No. 2 running back, Hurd has seen the majority of carries over senior Marlin Lane and is averaging 69.67 yards per game. The five-star prospect has improved his numbers each game, rushing for 29 yards against Utah State in Week 1, 83 against Arkansas State in Week 2 and a career-best 97 against No. 4 Oklahoma in Week 3.
Tennessee’s defense has been impressive through three games. The “Orange Swarm” is more than just stellar individual play from A.J. Johnson, who leads the SEC with 29 tackles. Sophomore Jalen Reeves-Maybin is right behind him with 25 tackles of his own in his first season as a full-time outside linebacker. As a team, the Vols forced a talented Oklahoma offense to a 3-of-12 third down efficiency and several field goal attempts on drives beginning in Tennessee’s territory. Facing one of the nation’s top running games, the Volunteer defense will need to see a stellar performance on Saturday.
Tennessee’s ability to avoid injuries. Starting left tackle Jacob Gilliam was the first casualty, falling victim to a torn ACL in Week 1. In Week 2, both wide receiver Von Pearson (high ankle sprain) and tight end Ethan Wolf (knee bruise) left early with injuries. Seeing an increase in playing time, Josh Smith and Daniel Helm both suffered similar fates against Oklahoma and will be further analyzed leading into this week’s game against Georgia.
Tennessee’s offensive line look terrible against Oklahoma in Week 3. Abysmal would be too nice of an adjective to use. Justin Worley was on the ground for the majority of Saturday’s game and had little to no time in the pocket. Oklahoma has one of the best pass rushes in the nation and is the closest thing to an SEC caliber defense– if not better. For Tennessee to succeed against a talented Georgia front seven, it must see an improvement in the trenches.