Tennessee Week: Hale's Look at the Game

ATHENS - David Hale's look at Georgia's game with Tennessee.

PASSING: Despite throwing his first interception of the season against Alabama two weeks ago, Matthew Stafford set a career high in completions, finishing 24-of-42 for 274 yards and two touchdowns. Stafford has led a strong passing attack for the Bulldogs this season, while freshman receiver A.J. Green has chipped in with nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns so far. Tennessee's aerial attack has been dismal through five games, and the Volunteers made a change at quarterback a week ago, giving sophomore Nick Stephens his first career start. He responded by completing 10-of-17 passes for 156 yards an a score. Jonathan Crompton could see playing time at QB this week, too. EDGE: Georgia.

RUSHING: Knowshon Moreno had one of the worst games of his career against Alabama, finishing with just 34 yards rushing on nine carries, but the running game was effectively shut down after the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead. Moreno looks to rebound from the poor performance and an injured elbow this week to add to the 10 rushing touchdowns he's racked up already this season. Tennessee's Arian Foster is in line to break the school record for rushing yards this season and has killed Georgia the past two years, rushing for 161 yards and six touchdowns. He'll share time with Montario Hardesty at tailback for the Vols. EDGE: Georgia.

DEFENSE: The Bulldogs' defense had no answer for Alabama two weeks ago. The pass rush continues to struggle, the secondary allowed John Parker Wilson to complete 13-of-16 passes, and this week, preseason All-SEC linebacker Dannell Ellerbe will be out with a knee injury. Tennessee leads the SEC in total defense this season and has allowed just one rushing touchdown all year. The Vols are led by standout safeties Demetrice Morley and Eric Berry, who had a 48-yard interception return last week against Northern Illinois. EDGE: Tennessee.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Both teams have struggled punting at times this season. After a strong start to the year, Georgia's Brian Mimbs had an awful game against Alabama. Tennessee has been one of the nation's worst punting teams, but gets starter Britton Colquitt back this week after a five-game suspension. The difference, however, may come in Georgia's stellar return game, including punt returner Prince Miller, who ran in a 92-yard touchdown against Alabama. EDGE: Georgia.

ONE TO WATCH: Knowshon Moreno. Georgia had to abandon the run early in its last game after falling behind quickly, and Moreno had to leave the game in the fourth quarter after suffering an elbow injury when he hit an opponent's helmet while making a block. He looks to rebound this week against one of the nation's top run defenses, but it might be the third-year sophomore with the advantage. Moreno is averaging more than six yards per carry and leads all SEC runners with 10 touchdowns.


Georgia is the heavy favorite in this game given Tennessee's early struggles, but there are plenty of reasons to think this will be no walk in the park for the Bulldogs. Tennessee has handed Georgia its worst loss in each of the past two seasons, including a beating last year that many Bulldogs called the most embarrassing of their careers. Georgia is coming off another bad loss to Alabama, and it remains to be seen how sharp the team will look after a two-week layoff. Tennessee will be playing with its back against the wall after an 0-2 start in the SEC, and head coach Phil Fulmer may need this win to save his job. Still, the Volunteers' offense has been dismal thus far, and they barely squeaked by Northern Illinois last week. The Bulldogs are the better team, they just need to prove it on the field.

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