Turnover time?

If you enjoy crisply executed, mistake-free offensive football ... well, Neyland Stadium might not be your most appropriate destination this weekend.

Tennessee ranks 10th and Georgia 11th among Southeastern Conference teams in giveaways this fall. The Vols have surrendered the ball 12 times (four fumbles, eight interceptions) and the Dawgs have given it up 13 times (seven fumbles, six interceptions). Only Mississippi State (eight fumbles, six interceptions) has been more careless with the pigskin.

Turnovers are a major reason Tennessee stands 2-3 overall and 0-2 in SEC play. They have been just as damaging for Georgia, which is 3-2 overall and 2-1 in league play.

In addition to committing turnovers on offense, the Vols and Bulldogs have problems securing turnovers on defense. Tennessee has registered just eight takeways (five fumbles, three interceptions). Still, that's twice as many takeaways as Georgia (one fumble, three interceptions)

Given all of the above, it is no surprise that Tennessee ranks ninth among the 12 SEC teams in turnover margin at minus-4 or that Georgia ranks dead last at minus-9.

Fortunately for Tennessee, the Vol defense has risen to the occasion following offensive turnovers this fall. Monte Kiffin's stop unit has allowed just 23 points off turnovers - two touchdowns, three field goals - even though several of the 12 turnovers occurred on UT's side of midfield.

As Vol head coach Lane Kiffin noted: "We've been fortunate to be very good on defense after sudden-change."

Sudden-change is the head man's term for situations that follow a dramatic shift in field position - a long kickoff or punt return, a blocked kick, a fumble recovery, an interception or a failed fourth-down conversion.

"We talk all the time about how you create for your team - for your whole stadium - by field-position plays, by turnovers, by big returns," Lane Kiffin said. "It's why people in sudden-change after turnovers usually score more than they do normally. It's not because of where the ball is but because of the energy created. Your offense goes running out and your defense comes running off. When you're at home it creates great energy; when you're on the road it kills the crowd."

What follows is a look at every turnover Tennessee has committed this fall, plus the response of the Vol defense:

Game 1: Western Kentucky intercepts a pass at its 41-yard line. The Hilltoppers punt three plays later.

Game 1: Western Kentucky recovers a fumble at its 40-yard line. The Toppers pick up one first down via penalty, then punt the ball away.

Game 1: Western Kentucky intercepts a pass at its 15-yard line. The Hilltoppers punt to cap a three-and-out.

Game 2: UCLA recovers a fumble at the Tennessee 35-yard line. The Bruins score a touchdown six plays later to tie the score at 10-10.

Game 2: UCLA intercepts a pass at its 27-yard line. The Bruins punt the ball back to Tennessee three plays later.

Game 2: UCLA intercepts a pass at the Vol 33-yard line. The Bruins gain nothing on three plays, then miss a 51-yard field goal.

Game 2: UCLA intercepts a pass at the Vol 26-yard line. The Bruins gain four yards in three plays, then boot a 39-yard field goal for a 13-10 lead.

Game 3: Florida intercepts a pass at its 35-yard line. The Gators advance to the Vol 18-yard line, then settle for a 35-yard field goal.

Game 3: Florida intercepts a pass at its 26-yard line in the final two minutes, then runs out the clock with three running plays to seal a 23-13 victory.

Game 4: Ohio U intercepts a pass at Tennessee's 30-yard line. The Bobcats score a touchdown three plays later to take a 14-7 lead.

Game 4: Ohio U fumbles the ball but Tennessee's defender fumbles it back on the same play at the Bobcat 8-yard line. Ohio punts three plays later.

Game 5: Auburn recovers a fumble at Tennessee's 30-yard line. The Tigers hit a 43-yard field goal three plays later, padding their lead to 6-0.


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