Georgia Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers: game preview

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts and links to SB Nation game pages.

Keys to the game

  • When Georgia has the ball -- watch their passing game against Tennessee's passing defense. With the Bulldogs surprisingly struggling with their running game, Tennessee may be able to make them one dimensional without too much extra help from non-traditional run support. If that happens, expect Georgia to be even more likely to lean on the strength of its passing attack, which may allow Tennessee's secondary, relieved of extra focus on run support, to ball-hawk an offense that is prone to turnovers anyway.
  • When Tennessee has the ball -- look for the Volunteers to run the ball. It's what they do best, and the Bulldogs' average defense should find it difficult to stop. They do appear to have an advantage when Tennessee looks to pass.
  • Prediction: Tennessee 30, Georgia 24.

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Georgia Logo
Opponent
Date
W/L
Score
Opp. W/L
@ Oklahoma St. 9/5/09
L
3-1
South Carolina 9/12/09
W
4-1
@ Arkansas 9/19/09
W
2-2
Arizona St. 9/26/09
W
2-2
LSU 10/3/09
L
5-0
Totals  
3-2
136-139
16-6

 

FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

The Bulldogs' defense wasn't horrible against Oklahoma State, but the offense only produced a touchdown and a field goal to go with two fumbles, an interception, and a bunch of punts. QB Joe Cox had the flu, if I remember correctly.
FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

After putting up only 10 points against the Cowboys, no one expected 41 points from Georgia against South Carolina's defense. The Bulldogs recorded five TDs and two field goals, but also gave away two more fumbles and another interception. Plus, the defense gave up three TDs and five field goals to the Gamecocks.

FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

Georgia spotted Arkansas a 21-10 lead before making it a game. The teams then traded points and the lead several times, but the Bulldogs ended up on top 52-41 having scored six TDs and three FGs. Three games makes a trend in the turnovers category with the Dawgs giving away another two fumbles and another interception. It's like a goodie pack or something. The defense also gave up five TDs and two FGs.

FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

Against Arizona State, the Dawgs got off to a quick start, scoring two TDs early. Good thing, too, because they then went punt, punt, punt, fumble, interception. The defense did better against the Sun Devils, holding them to two TDs and a FG. With the score tied at 17, the game came down to a missed FG by ASU and a game-winning FG for Georgia.

FULL SCREEN VERSION

 

The first half for the Bulldogs? Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, which of course adds up to . . . nothing. Georgia barely made it past midfield in the first half, but got good field position in the second and capitalized with two TD drives. LSU closed strong, though, scoring two TDs on its last two offensive possessions and nabbing an interception on Georgia's last.

Conclusions? Um, bipolar disorder? The offense scored a bunch of points against South Carolina and Arkansas, but struggled against Oklahoma State, Arizona State, and LSU. But at least they're consistent in the turnover category, giving away three in every game except the last one, in which they still gave up one.

The defense is also hard to peg, as they've allowed a bunch of points to South Carolina and Arkansas, but been a bit more stingy against Oklahoma State, Arizona State, and LSU.

National Unit Rankings

Now on to the national rankings.

Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Offense 105 98.80 Florida 307.50 12 Florida 307.50
Passing Offense 42 241.80 Houston 446.00 3 Arkansas 329.25
Total Offense 86 340.60 Houston 573.25 10 Florida 526.25
Scoring Offense T-60 27.20 Texas 49.50 8 Florida 45.50
Rushing Defense 49 121.40 TCU 47.00 8 Alabama 64.40
Pass Efficiency Defense 65 125.70 Florida 75.31 11 Florida 75.31
Total Defense 64 358.20 Florida 212.75 11 Florida 212.75
Scoring Defense 85 27.80 Nebraska 7.00 11 Florida 7.25
Net Punting 4 42.30 Oklahoma St. 42.86 1 Georgia 42.30
Punt Returns 93 5.25 Louisiana Tech 32.00 9 Alabama 18.81
Kickoff Returns 57 22.04 Stanford 41.08 8 Florida 34.50
Turnover Margin 115 -1.80 Air Force 2.60 12 Auburn 1.60
Pass Defense 87 236.80 Eastern Mich. 89.25 11 Florida 120.00
Passing Efficiency 35 145.40 Florida 173.93 5 Florida 173.93
Sacks 41 2.20 Pittsburgh 4.40 5 Mississippi 3.00
Tackles For Loss 47 6.00 Cincinnati 10.00 7 Arkansas 7.75
Sacks Allowed T-17 1.00 Iowa St. .20 3 Auburn .40


Observations

Offense. Wow. I had to do a double-take on the rushing offense, but yes, this is Georgia, and they are ranked 105th in the nation and last in the SEC. Their passing offense is better, relatively speaking, but is still not quite in the top third. Total offense, then, is at the top of the bottom third of the nation and 10th in the SEC. Scoring offense is smack in the middle nationally and 8th in the SEC.

Defense. The Bulldogs' defense is also nothing special and is running in the middle of the pack, just barely outpacing Ohio. They're pretty good at protecting their QB from sacks, though, so don't expect too much pressure on Joe Cox.

Special teams. Georgia has excellent punting and punt coverage, but a poor punt and kick return game.

Turnovers. Practically opposite of what we saw last week, the Bulldogs are a rotten 115th in turnover margin so far this season, netting out at -1.8 per game. Is it time for the law of averages to even things out or is that just who they are?

Caveat. Georgia's played a tough schedule, so their numbers may be negatively skewed.

Stastical Comparison

Here's how the two teams stack up against each other in each of the key statistical categories in hooper's wizbang BlogPoll Computerer:

 

 

Players to watch for

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
Rushing Richard Samuel T-97 58.40
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Joe Cox 36 146.43
Total Offense Joe Cox 45 235.80
Receptions Per Game A.J. Green T-36 6.00
  Michael Moore   2.60
Receiving Yards Per Game A.J. Green 17 105.40
  Tavarres King   34.00
  Orson Charles   33.80
Interceptions Brandon Boykin T-48 .40
  Bacarri Rambo   .20
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game) Drew Butler 1 49.78
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Price Miller 61 6.14
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Brandon Boykin 29 26.73
  Branden Smith   17.43
Field Goals Blair Walsh T-22 1.60
Scoring Blair Walsh T-52 7.60
  A.J. Green   6.00
All-Purpose Runners A.J. Green   105.40
  Brandon Boykin   80.60
Sacks Cornelius Washington   .40
Tackles Rennie Curran T-8 11.20
  Reshad Jones   5.80
Tackles For Loss      

 

Observations

Running backs. Georgia's most productive RB in 2009 is Richard Samuel, but he's only averaging about 58 yards per game.

Quarterbacks. Joe Cox is fairly efficient and fairly productive, ranking in the top third nationally in passing efficiency and throwing for about 236 yards per game.

Receivers/Tight Ends. Cox's favorite target, of course, is A.J. Green, who's pulling down six catches and 105 yards per game. Michael Moore appears to be a short yardage guy, as he's the second-leading receptions-per-game guy, but both Tavarres King and tight end Orson Charles get more yards on fewer touches.

Defense. LB Rennie Curran is the team's leading tackler, averaging just over 11 per game and ranking 8th in the nation. The next leading tackler -- DB Reshad Jones -- gets about half that many.

Special teams. Drew Butler ranks first in the nation in punting with a 49.78 yard average. Brandon Boykin is a moderate threat at kickoff returns, averaging about 27 yards per return. Blair Walsh is solid kicking field goals for the Bulldogs.

Conclusions

  • The numbers suggest that this is not a great Georgia team, but they may be better than their numbers due to the difficult schedule they've played to date.
  • The Bulldogs haven't run the ball well this season. Their passing game is better, but it's not exactly elite, either.
  • The defense is merely average.
  • The Dawgs are turnover-prone.
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