NCAA FB

No. 6 Georgia wants to avoid letdown at Tennessee

Share This Story

   
 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray likely will become the Southeastern Conference's all-time leader in career yards passing Saturday at Tennessee.

Tennessee will try to make sure he remembers this game for an entirely different reason.

Now that the sixth-ranked Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0 SEC) have survived a brutal September schedule with their national title hopes intact, they must avoid a letdown against a Tennessee (3-2, 0-1) team that feasts on turnovers.

Murray is 99 yards away from matching former Georgia quarterback David Greene's SEC record of 11,528 career yards passing. He faces a Tennessee defense that has picked off 11 passes to match Virginia Tech for the most among all Football Bowl Subdivision programs.

''They're like every SEC team we're going to face all year,'' Murray said. ''Big. Fast. Big plays. They've shown that with 11 picks. If I'm not on my game or as accurate as I need to be, they're going to make plays on the ball.''

Murray leads an offense that has scored at least 35 points in each of its first four games. Georgia balances Murray's passing prowess with a rushing attack that features Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, though Gurley has a sprained left ankle that leaves his status for Saturday in doubt.

''They're very good, one of the best offenses I've ever seen,'' Tennessee safety Brian Randolph said. ''It's going to be a big challenge for us out there.''

The Volunteers are treating this big challenge as a big opportunity. Tennessee's defense should have plenty of motivation, as six of its starters on that side of the ball come from Georgia high schools. That figure doesn't include starting tackle Daniel McCullers, who attended Georgia Military College after going to Southeast Raleigh (N.C.) High School.

''It's a great challenge to show what this defense (is), how far we've come,'' Tennessee linebacker Dontavis Sapp said.

While Georgia finished the toughest portion of its schedule last week with a 44-41 victory over No. 10 LSU, Tennessee is in the midst of its own grueling stretch. The Volunteers have next week off before hosting No. 13 South Carolina on Oct. 19 and playing at top-ranked Alabama on Oct. 26.

Tennessee has lost 18 consecutive games against ranked opponents and is 1-24 against Top 25 teams since 2008. The Vols also have lost 11 of their last 12 October games.

But the Vols' tradition still has the attention of Georgia coach Mark Richt, who doesn't expect his team to overlook Tennessee after facing the likes of Clemson, South Carolina and LSU over the last month.

''You don't ever want to let down, but we're playing Tennessee so I don't foresee a letdown,'' Richt said. ''If we were playing somebody else, you might start talking that way, but not when you play Tennessee.''

--

Here are five things to watch when No. 6 Georgia faces Tennessee:

RUNNING BACK CONCERNS: Both teams have health issues at running back. While Gurley is nursing a sprained ankle, Tennessee's Marlin Lane has what has been described as a lower extremity injury. Each team could run effectively even if Gurley and Lane can't play. Georgia's Keith Marshall rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia's 51-44 victory over Tennessee last year. Tennessee's Rajion Neal is coming off a 169-yard performance in a 31-24 triumph over South Alabama.

WORRIES ABOUT WORLEY: Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley has thrown five interceptions in his last two games. Tennessee, a 10 1/2-point underdog, won't have a chance of pulling the upset unless Worley can avoid turnovers.

CROSSING STATE LINES: Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek and secondary coach Willie Martinez worked on Richt's staff at Georgia before getting fired in December 2009. Tennessee has six defensive starters who played for Georgia high schools. That figure doesn't include starting defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, who went to Georgia Military College after attending Southeast Raleigh (N.C.) High School.

BIG-PLAY POTENTIAL: Georgia's offense has produced 20 plays of 25-plus yards through its first four games of the season. Georgia beat Tennessee last year by capitalizing on numerous big plays. Marshall ran for touchdowns of 75 and 72 yards, and Gurley scored on a 51-yard run.

UNIQUE UNIFORMS: Tennessee will be wearing its ''Smokey gray'' uniforms for this game. It marks the first time Tennessee has used an alternate uniform since it wore black jerseys for a 31-13 victory over No. 21 South Carolina on Halloween 2009. That game also marks the last time Tennessee defeated a ranked opponent.

---

AP Sports Writer Charles Odum in Athens, Ga., contributed to this report.

Tagged: Marshall, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Justin Worley, Aaron Murray

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash