Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s showdown between Tennessee and Georgia.

When: Saturday
Where: Athens, Georgia
Game Time: Noon ET
TV: SEC Network
Current Line: Georgia (-17)

Game Buzz: The Tennessee Volunteers (2-1) travel to Athens, Ga., for their annual SEC East matchup against the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs (2-1). The Vols are coming off a Week 4 bye that followed a 34-10 loss to No. 4 Oklahoma. The Bulldogs look to continue their momentum after a 66-0 win over Troy in Week 4. Georgia holds a four-year winning streak over Tennessee that began with a 41-14 home win in 2010.



Players to watch:

  • QB Justin Worley
  • RB Jalen Hurd
  • WR Marquez North
  • WR Josh Malone
  • TE Ethan Wolf
  • DE Derek Barnett
  • LB A.J. Johnson
  • LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
  • LB Curt Maggitt
  • CB Cameron Sutton

Keys for Tennessee: 

  • Feed the freshman. Jalen Hurd must set the tone early and provide Tennessee with another strong performance. Hurd has progressed each game, seeing a season-best 97-yard performance against Oklahoma. The freshman tailback leads Tennessee with 209 rushing yards and a touchdown on 48 attempts through his first three collegiate games and must continue his success in his SEC road debut.
  • Tennessee’s offensive line must improve. The Oklahoma pass rush exposed the Vols o-line as the inexperienced group many expected entering the season. Quarterback Justin Worley was sacked five times and hurried eight times during the Week 3 loss. Facing a strong Georgia front seven, Tennessee’s line must step up on Saturday.
  • A.J. Johnson must contain Georgia’s running backs. Todd Gurley is a Heisman hopeful that leads a strong running game with 402 yards, four touchdowns and 9.8 yards per carry on 41 attempts. Freshmen Sony Michel and Nick Chubb are also averaging over nine yards per carry. Johnson must prove why he’s gaining consideration as one of the SEC’s top defensive players by stepping up against one of the nation’s best rushing attacks.

Volunteers’ glaring weakness to watch: Offensive line. As mentioned, Tennessee struggled in the trenches and Worley suffered the consequences. The Vols o-line had zero prior starting experience entering the 2014 season and it showed against a tough matchup. For Tennessee to compete, it must see an improvement in the trenches coming off a bye week.

Most interesting part of the game: Can A.J. Johnson stop Todd Gurley? Two of the best players in the SEC clash on the Sanford Stadium gridiron. Whichever player holds the advantage could decide Saturday’s game.

Team Buzz: Tennessee enters Saturday’s matchup with an improved, young roster. The Vols were inches away from an upset over Georgia last season, before losing on a game-winning field goal in overtime. If Tennessee captures a surprise win Saturday, they will become an immediate contender in a wide open SEC East race.


Players to watch:

  • RB Todd Gurley
  • RB Sony Michel
  • RB Nick Chubb
  • QB Hutson Mason
  • LB Leornard Floyd
  • LB Jordan Jenkins

Keys for Georgia:

  • Do what you do. Georgia’s bread and butter is running the football, and no team has yet shown the ability to stop its ground-and-pound attack. Make the Vols show they can stop the run on a consistent basis. Hutson Mason is completing 71 percent of his passes, most of those being short to intermediate throws. Tennessee boasts some athletic linebackers, but can they slow down Gurley and company?
  • The secondary must play more aggressive. The Volunteers have talent at the skill positions, and the Bulldogs have shown an inability to play with athletic backs and receivers. The makeover under coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is still in progress, but can the ‘Dawgs rise to the occasion on a big stage?

Bulldogs’ glaring weakness to watch: The secondary. Georgia has played vanilla coverages for the most part this season, and as mentioned, has shown they can be beaten by athletic skill players. The Bulldogs must create pressure on Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley to take some pressure off the single coverage looks Georgia will throw at the Vols in the secondary.

Most interesting part of the game: Does Tennessee stack the box and test Hutson Mason? Mason has been very good in what he’s been asked to do, but has not been asked to win the game yet for Georgia.

Team Buzz: The Bulldogs are still the favorite in the East, and have a chance to claim stake in that division with a win on Saturday. Can they run the football with success? Can they shore up the secondary?