Tenn. Tech Week: Game Preview

ATHENS -Dawg Post's look at Georgia's game with Tennessee Tech.

Georgia (4-4, 3-3 SEC) vs. Tennessee Tech (5-3, 4-2 Ohio Valley)
Where: Athens
When: 1 p.m., Pay-Per-View TV
Last meeting: Georgia 67, Tennessee Tech 0, 1943

Offense:

Georgia: Joe Cox remains as Georgia's starting quarterback despite throwing three interceptions last week and 12 in eight games this season. While it has been a rollercoaster ride for Cox this season, he'll have a new challenge this week as the Bulldogs play their first game without receiver A.J. Green since 2007. Green suffered a bruised lung against Florida and will miss this week's game. Caleb King will get his first start at tailback, too.

Tennessee Tech: While there won't be many big names on Tennessee Tech's offense this week, quarterback Lee Sweeney is one to know. He's a transfer from Louisville and has helped open up the Golden Eagles' offense. Sweeney is part of a pass-first attack that will throw to set up the run and could be more dangerous than Georgia fans might expect.

EDGE: Georgia

Defense:

Georgia: The Bulldogs' defense had an extra week to prepare for Florida yet still looked completely overmatched on the Gators' first two drives last week. Georgia did rebound, however, but it was too little, too late. Still, Georgia ranks among the worst teams in the country in pass defense and will likely be without top pass rusher Justin Houston this week.

Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles focus almost completely on stopping the run, occasionally putting as many as nine players in the box. That's not likely to change this week with Green out and Georgia's passing attack coming under scrutiny. Tennessee Tech has 13 interceptions as a defense this season.

EDGE: Georgia

Special teams:

Georgia: While the Bulldogs have struggled in numerous areas this year, they may have the best kicker-punter combo in the country in Drew Butler and Blair Walsh. Butler leads the country in punting, while Walsh has connected on four field goals of 50 yards or more and leads the SEC in touchbacks. Add to that the strong season from kick returner Brandon Boykin, who set a school record for kick-return yards, and it could be a big day for Georgia's special teams.

Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles have a struggling field-goal kicker in redshirt freshman Tim Donegan, who has connected on just two-of-six field goals this season. Donegan doesn't have a ton of leg strength either, which means Boykin could be in for a big day. Tennessee Tech has also switched punters already this season, with Jason Lennartz now handling the role.

EDGE: Georgia

Coaching:

Georgia: Mark Richt spent most of the past week answering questions about the future of his program rather than the game today. Georgia is 4-4 this year and just 10-7 in its last 17 games. Richt insists the program remains strong, but fans are getting restless.

Tennessee Tech: Golden Eagles' coach Watson Brown is no stranger to the SEC. He coached at Vanderbilt for five seasons from 1986-1990 with limited success. He then moved on to UAB, where he led the Blazers into Athens in 2003 and nearly pulled the upset, falling 16-13 after scored the final six points of the game.

EDGE: Georgia

Key matchups

Offense: Georgia's receivers vs. Tennessee Tech secondary. The Golden Eagles dare opponents to throw the football, and Georgia will be happy to oblige. But without A.J. Green, it remains a question which receiver will step up to fill the void. Tavarres King and Rantavious Wooten – both freshmen – will get the start.

Defense: Georgia secondary vs. Lee Sweeney. The Bulldogs have the 73rd-ranked passing defense in the country and have struggled against several top passers. Sweeney may not be in the same ballpark with Tim Tebow or Ryan Mallett, he has Division I talent and could be the Golden Eagles' only shot at an upset.

Prediction: Georgia 48, Tennessee Tech 10


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