Rapid Reaction: Shocker! Tennessee toppled by lowly Georgia State
A monumental loss in Neyland Stadium was all that the Vols’ faithful feared. Tennessee is much closer to an FCS opponent than it is an SEC power.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Vols’ shocking 38-30 loss to Georgia State, a Sun Belt Conference team which went 2-10 last season:
Tennessee fans don’t believe
I know it was hot and it was just Georgia State but the crowd on hand for a season opener was embarrassing. Empty stands have become all too common at Neyland Stadium but this was an opportunity for UT fans to show up and support a coach, Jeremy Pruitt, heading into his second season against a team that the Vols should be handily beat. Georgia State had another idea. Tennessee fans seemed to know that another disappointing outing was on the schedule.
UT’s offense has no identity
It seemed as if the Vols had no idea where to funnel the ball throughout the game. Throw it? Maybe, but to whom? Run it? Perhaps, but who is the best option? A new offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney, did anything but resurrect the Vols. Instead, it looks like UT’s offense will take a much-lamented step back as it adapts to a new approach offensively.
The Vols are soft up front
Again and again, Georgia State was able to pound away at UT’s defense. The game wasn’t a case of out-scheming UT. It seemed to be a case of the Panthers being more physical. That’s hard to imagine given the stature of the two programs.
Tackling and conditioning was also embarrassing
The Vols couldn’t tackle and, at times, couldn’t seem to be on the field. Was tackling a point of emphasis during preseason camp? How about being in shape to play in the August heat? Georgia State looked ready. The Vols did not.
Tennessee’s secondary is not elite
The Vols were surprisingly sloppy on the back end of their defense. That was supposed to be a strength. However, Georgia State, though it had just 139 yards passing, threw the ball effectively at key moments and the Vols made multiple mistakes in the secondary. It seemed as if anyone, including Georgia State’s mascot “Pounce the Panther,” could get open against the Vols on Saturday.