Tennessee’s two-game winning streak against Georgia came to a screeching halt on Saturday, as the Bulldogs handed the Vols their worst home loss since 1905, with a 41-0 defeat at Neyland Stadium.
The good: The human checkerboard at Neyland Stadium is always a beautiful sight to behold, even if it has ended in defeat more often than not. A sellout crowd of 102,455 packed Neyland today and perfectly coordinated their bad selves to execute the checkerboard. Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop had a good game plan early, and his unit played with fire and execution. Tennessee’s run blitzes were effective in the first half, and the Vols got a couple of sacks to boot. Unfortunately, the defense wore down as the game progressed, and it can hardly be said that it was a stellar defensive effort overall. But the secondary was pretty good in pass coverage throughout the night, limiting the Bulldogs to seven of 17 passing for 82 yards and an interception.
The bad: Tennessee’s quarterback play. Redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano completed six of seven passes after junior starter Quinten Dormady was finally benched in the second half, but only for 16 yards. As for Dormady, he had a disastrous night, completing five of 16 passes for 64 yards and two interceptions. Forty of the 64 came on one play, which ended in a fumble. Take that away, and Dormady was four of 15 for 20 and two picks. That’s disastrously bad. He stared down his receiver on his first pick, which came on the first play from scrimmage, most of his deep passes were underthrown, which resulted in the second pick, and he continues to throw off his back foot.
The ugly: Tennessee’s offense overall. The Vols finished with just 142 yards of offense, never made it to the red zone, and were shut out for the first time in 291 games. How long is 291 games? Twenty-three years. The last time the Vols were shut out was 1994. Since then, Randy Sanders has been the offensive coordinator and Derek Dooley was the head coach for three years. Neither Sanders nor Dooley were shut out.