3 & OUT: UGA/Tennessee Edition
During game week the staff at Dawg News Daily previews the matchup between the Bulldogs and their opponent. We focus in on 3 key position matchups or players that we believe will be the difference makers in Saturdays game.
DAWG NEWS DAILY'S 3 & OUT REPORT:
1) Win the First Quarter
Tennessee has been getting a jump on teams early with their up-tempo pace. The Vols are averaging 12.8 points in the 1st qtr so far this season. Getting behind 2 Touchdowns early can cause coaches to panic a bit and change the game plan to catchup which plays right into the Vols plans. We've seen UGA offensive coordinator abort game plans already this season when UGA struggled to run the ball against Missouri. Tennessee wants this to be a track meet, The Dawgs do not. Georgia wants to run the ball and keep the Volunteer offense off the field and keep a vulnerable defense on it. The Dawgs win the first quarter, they win the 1st round of this heavyweight matchup.
2) Jamon Dumas-Johnson
Jalen Carter's return is vitally important as the Bulldogs will need to get pressure with the front 5. He was in on 3rd downs last week against Florida and was in the backfield disrupting plays. Obviously the injury to Nolan Smith hurts as his leadership and ability to rush the passer will be sorely missed not only this game but the rest of the season. Jamon Dumas-Johnson (POP) is the guy most in line to play the SPY role on UT QB Hendon Hooker.
At inside linebacker, Dumas-Johnson has two sacks and five tackles for a loss. He also has a pass deflection and 40 tackles, 34 of which were solo, so he can line up at edge rusher or on the inside. Tennessee will want to establish the run, although the air attack get most of the pub, The Vols are rushing for just under 200 yards per game. The ability to run will setup the pass. If the Dawgs can stop the run and QB-runs on RPO, it will be a hug key to the Dawgs success. "POP" will be a major factor on Saturday!
3) Stetson Bennett
Many are looking a this as a quarterback duel. Bennett is on track to surpass last year’s yardage total. He has completed 181 of 268 passes for 2,349 yards. Although his yards per attempt are down, his completion percentage is up a few points.
The Dawgs are more focused on time of possession this year, so they rely on Bennett to make short passes to open up their running game and then convert third downs to stay on the field. It works, as Georgia has one of the best third down offenses in the nation. Oh, and then there’s Bennett’s mobility. This will be a huge key to the game in our opinion and why Bennett won the job from JT Daniels last season. He has 117 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
All the talk this week has been about Tennessee's offense but Before last week, they allowed over 300 yards through the air to four straight quarterbacks and over 400 yards to two of the, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson of Alabama and the Florida Gators respectively. Bennett showed some flaws last week against Florida with several underthrown balls and a few bad decisions. The long touchdown to Bowers last week was a badly thrown ball that luckily made it into Bowers mitts. Those mistakes cant make their way into this game. Expect the Legs of Stetson Bennett to play a major factor this Saturday!
DND's Final Score Prediction:
Tennessee is on a roll right now. Offense looks dominant with their defense growing each week. Their pass rush has given fits to quarterbacks which gives confidence to the defensive backs in man coverage. But this game is in Athens. The disrespect of Georgia is at an all time high. #3 in the initial college football playoff polls, The question "can UGA keep up with Tennessee?" , Anonymous Coaches being quoted in ESPN articles that Georgia's defense is suspect. All of this outs a BIG OL CHIP on the shoulder of Kirby Smart and company. Georgia will play inspired and the crowd will be ferocious. Expect a big game from Tight Ends Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington. Also, look for the 3 headed monster (McIntosh/Edwards/Robinson) to keep the chains moving.
Georgia: 38-28 (Line: Georgia -8.5)
FORMER DAWGS SCORE PREDICTIONS:-
*Aaron Murray: Georgia, 38-31
*Tavarres King: Georgia, 34-31
*Brandon Boykin: Georgia, 38-22