The Tennessee Vols didn’t leave Athens with a win on Saturday, but they looked a lot better against the Georgia Bulldogs than most folks expected.

While there are no such thing as moral victories in sports (at least in my opinion), the Vols’ 38-12 loss on Saturday was certainly an encouraging sign for a program that’s been stuck in a Groundhog Day-like-sequence of rebuilds.

Tennessee wasn’t expected to present much of a challenge to the second ranked Bulldogs. The final score doesn’t look like the game was very close, but the Vols kept it competitive into the fourth quarter.

Moving forward, I think the Volunteers have a lot to build on. Vol fans should be optimistic.

As far as the game against Georgia, here’s what stood out.

  • Tennessee started the game strong with a 17 yard Ty Chandler run. The offensive play calling looked more creative early in the game.
  • Georgia’s blocking up front was too much for the Vols to overcome. Darrell Taylor had a nice day for Tennessee, finishing with three sacks. But the Bulldogs were too successful at opening running lanes.
  • Jeremy Pruitt made some good defensive play calls, but the execution just didn’t work out. On one play early, Tennessee had an unblocked blitzer that forced the ball out early. Johnathan Kongbo, however, was unable to make the play in the open field.
  • Tennessee has the worst luck ever. When a ball hits the ground, it’s usually 50/50 who will recover. The ball went Georgia’s way every single time on Saturday. The Bulldogs even scored a touchdown on a Jake Fromm fumble.
  • Ty Chandler is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands. Tennessee needs to get him the ball more in the passing game. Chandler scored with some nifty moves on a 35 yard touchdown.
  • Tennessee’s best play of the day was a 37 yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Guarantano to Josh Palmer. The play was executed to perfection.
  • The Vols kept competing on Saturday afternoon against a very good Georgia team. I think Tennessee is clearly on the right track. They just have a lot of work left to do.

Featured image via USA Today

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