Last week, I wrote about the importance of the Mississippi State game and how it could be the key to a successful season for Georgia. Following the Dawgs two touchdown victory over the West Bulldogs, Georgia will travel to Knoxville to take on Derek Dooley's Tennessee Volunteers. Thanks to losses by Florida and South Carolina on Saturday, Georgia is now tied for first place in the SEC East. But in recent years, the trip to Knoxville has not been a kind one for Georgia.
2009 was an absolute disaster. Once erratic Jonathan Crompton looked like a Heisman Trophy winner and the only Georgia offense came from Brandon Boykin. But that was not a good Georgia team. Two years earlier, Georgia lost 35-14 to Tennessee in a game that was no where near that close. The game ended up being the deciding factor in keeping the Dawgs out of the SEC Championship and ultimately out of the national championship game.
The last victory for Georgia in Knoxville came in 2005, when DJ Shockley and Thomas Flowers played key roles. Georgia totally dominated Tennessee last year, but that was before Tyler Bray became the quarterback. And maybe we are to blame for eventually taking the job. Late in the game last year, Bray took over for Matt Simms and promptly went 8 of 12 for 81 yards. He gradually saw more playing time and eventually took over the starting job.
And while Bray is off to a fast start this year, don't forget that Tennessee has played arguably the easiest schedule in the SEC so far. They lost their only meaningful game so far to Florida and lost their best player (Justin Hunter) to a season ending injury. They are incredibly thin on both lines and running back Tauren Poole only averages 4.5 yards a carry despite the poor competition they have faced.
The key for Georgia this weekend is to continue to play the way that has brought them success the last three weeks. Solid defense and ball control offense should limit the time that Bray has to throw to Da'Rick. If the Dawgs can stay grounded, they will find themselves at 4-2 with Vandy and a bye week coming before Florida. Otherwise, it is going to be one hell of a rough fall down the mountain to 3-3.