Dawgs Need Big Game vs. Vols

ATHENS – A year ago, it was the low point. This season, Georgia needs its game against Tennessee to be the turning point.

Last season, the Volunteers jumped out to a 28-0 lead against Georgia en route to a 35-14 win, and the bitter taste left in the Bulldogs' mouths spurred them to an 11-game winning streak. As their date with Tennessee looms this season, that bitter taste has returned, following a 41-30 loss to Alabama. The aftermath of Georgia's most recent loss, however, isn't exactly the same as it was a year ago.

"Alabama loss and Tennessee loss were two separate losses," defensive end Jeremy Lomax said. "Alabama loss, we came out fighting. The Tennessee loss, we didn't do that. It felt like we just kind of gave in. … It's not a content loss, but at least we fought. It's motivation going into this week."

The Bulldogs have had a week to reflect on their loss to Alabama – a game in which the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 31-0 first-half lead – but quarterback Matthew Stafford said the team hasn't been consumed with the loss. It has been focused on its game against Tennessee.

The Volunteers have problems of their own. They lost their first two SEC games and are last in the SEC East. Some fans have called for head coach Phil Fulmer's job, putting Tennessee in a must-win situation.

"A team like that with their back against the wall, Tennessee, if they lose this one, they know they're going to be in a bad situation," Lomax said. "If they win, they'll be in a good situation. So any team like that with their back against the wall, it's a big deal, and we've got to go out there like our backs are against the wall."

That's exactly how Georgia responded to its loss last to Tennessee last season. Stafford said the team took a hard look at itself in the week that followed the loss and entered its next game determined to improve.

"It definitely opened our eyes up," Stafford said.

So, too, did the Bulldogs' loss to Alabama. The Crimson Tide exposed several of Georgia's most glaring weaknesses – excessive penalties, lack of a pass rush – in their win, and the Bulldogs have worked to find solutions during last week's bye. Whether the quick fixes will be enough against the Volunteers, however, remains to be seen.

"I don't want to paint the picture that we got it together and (Tennessee) doesn't," head coach Mark Richt said. "I am concerned about us and getting better after our last game and not thinking about them."

INJURY UPDATE: Richt said running back Knowshon Moreno was probable for this week's game and added that fullback Brannan Southerland, who saw his first action of the year on special teams against Alabama, was also likely to play. Wide receiver Kris Durham and defensive end Rod Battle are both out for Tennessee, while linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is questionable, Richt said.


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