The Vols will kick off the 2019 season against the Georgia State Panthers in Knoxville on Saturday, August 31. It will be the perfect complementary piece to a long Labor Day weekend.
How does the staff think this game will shake out? Find out below and feel free to let us know how you think the game will go as well!
Austin: Tennessee 31, Georgia State 17
Tennessee hasn’t scored more than 30 points against an FBS opponent since the opening game of 2017. That was an exciting 42-41 win over Georgia Tech in double overtime. If only the rest of the season could have been that exciting. Tennessee has a new offensive coordinator. Trey Smith is back on the left side of the line. Georgia State was a poor defensive squad last season. All of the ingredients are there for Tennessee to really explode offensively.
One area where Tennessee struggled offensively last year was running the football. That should not be an issue against an undersized Georgia State team. I expect the offense to have a massive day running the ball. However, that will keep the clock moving all game long and shorten the number of possessions. I think Georgia State could give us some problems through the air with empty formations, and a late score could make the game look closer on the scoreboard than it was on the field. I’ll take the Vols to dominate, but Georgia State to cover the spread.
Clint: Tennessee 38, Georgia State 14
Some first game jitters will be apparent when the Vols take the field on Saturday. Georgia State isn’t a bad team, and their offense might cause some early issues for a Tennessee defense that is still mixing and matching their young talent with their veterans. It wouldn’t be shocking if this is a close game at half.
Starting in the third quarter however, I think Tennessee will take over. The raw talent advantage on both sides of the ball will start to wear down Georgia State, and the Volunteers will ride smoothly into the fourth quarter with a multiscore lead. Add on a late touchdown with the backups on the field, and the Vols feel decent heading in to the BYU contest.
Evan: Tennessee 34, Georgia State 10
I think the Vols take care of business on Saturday, but it won’t be enough to cover the (+26) point spread.
Hopefully Tennessee doesn’t sleepwalk through the first half and the starters can get out of the game as early as possible. That’s what I’m hoping for. Outside of a victory against the Panthers, staying healthy in advance of the BYU matchup is the biggest priority.
Ty Chandler has a big game and the defense does enough to cause the Panthers to tap out early on, leaving the Vols with an easy win.
Noah: Tennessee 34, Georgia State 13
No Georgia Tech triple option and no Will Grier has got to be a welcome sight for Tennessee.
The Vols have opened the last two seasons with two of the most difficult offenses in college football to defend and went 1-1 in those games, with the Georgia Tech opener coming down to the last play in overtime.
Georgia State should be the type of opener Tennessee needs to work out some kinks, get the newcomers some experience and get a chance to test out Jim Chaney’s offense in an actual game.
For those reasons, I think this one will start out a little slow, but the Vols go on to win comfortably and start Jeremy Pruitt’s second season off 1-0 with BYU looming.
Terry: Tennessee 45, Georgia State 17
Tennessee returns a bunch of veterans at quarterback, receiver and running back. Will the offensive line allow them to be great? We’ll get our first look at that answer on Saturday afternoon.
I think the Vols will be too big and powerful for the Georgia State defense, as they should be. Tennessee should be able to keep it simple and lean on the rushing attack early and often to take control of this one.