The reigning national champion n°3 Georgia Bulldogs welcome number 1 Tennessee Volunteers in a marquee game that will likely have major implications for the SEC Championship game and College Football Playoffs.
According to ESPN Analytics, the winner of this game will also have a 99% chance of winning the SEC East.
It’s been a lopsided streak in recent years as Georgia enters the showdown on a five-game winning streak — tied for its longest series history — with all five wins by more than 20 points.
Tennessee will look to change that with the Heisman Trophy favorite Hendon Hooker at the bar. Hooker has 21 touchdown passes this season, just behind Peyton Manning (23) in eight games in program history. Most of them went to Jalin Hyatt (14), who is on the verge of becoming the third receiver in SEC history to catch 20 touchdown passes in a season.
Here are Tennessee-Georgia’s best moments:
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) November 5, 2022
As expected, the Georgia receiver Adonai Mitchell will not play against the Volunteers. He is not in uniform for the warm-ups. Mitchell, a sophomore from Missouri City, Texas, was sidelined with an ankle injury and hasn’t played since Georgia’s 33-0 shutout of Samford on Sept. 10. He had five catches for 69 yards with the score in a 49-3 rout of Oregon in Game 1. He’s one of Georgia’s top deep threats in the passing game and quarterback Stetson Bennet could have used it against Tennessee’s fragile secondary. — Marc Schlabach
What do you need to know about Flights?
Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said the Vols should be as healthy as they have been all season today against Georgia.
Cedric Tillman, which led Tennessee in receiving last season, appears to be giving an already powerful receiving corps a boost. He played limited snaps last week against Kentucky, and Heupel said they had him on a “shot count” after missing the previous four games.
Heupel said Tillman would be “ready to roll” against the Bulldogs. The 6ft 3in Tillman is creating serious game problems with his size and athleticism, especially with speed Jalin Hyatt and his 14 touchdowns on the other side.
Tillman practiced at full speed, but the Vols wanted to make sure he was 100% before bringing him back for a game. Tillman underwent tightrope surgery to repair a sprained ankle in September. — Chris Low
How about them Dawgs?
There’s no doubt the Georgia defense will miss the senior outside linebacker Nolan Smith, who led the Bulldogs in sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback dispatches. He’s a versatile defender that Georgia has moved around a lot, and he’s one of the most experienced players on the team.
But the Bulldogs were going to have a hard time pressuring the Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker regardless of. Hooker gets rid of the ball quickly in Tennessee’s fast offense. He has great eye discipline and doesn’t make many mistakes, which is why he has just one interception this season.
Georgia cornerbacks — Kelee Ringo and Kamari Lasiter – are going to have to play well on the perimeter to slow down the Flights. They will face a monumental challenge trying to contain the UT Tillman receivers, Bru McCoy and Hyatt.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart says the Bulldogs are going to have to adapt to UT’s pace on the fly and do it well.
“They have multiple gaits that they use and they can go as fast as anyone in the country. They practice it, they preach it, they do a really good job of researching themselves and figuring out how they can go faster. . And our job is to be able to match that level of conditioning.” — Schlabach
It’s in Athens
What could be the biggest game in Sanford Stadium history is still hours away, but thousands of fans have flocked to Athens from all directions.
Former Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning is here. The same goes for the former Georgia defensive back and NFL Hall of Famer Champ Bailey. Country music star Luke Bryan arrived for “College GameDay” via a private jet. PGA Tour Golfers Kevin KisnerGeorgia alumnus and former US Open champion Gary Woodland were to arrive from Justin Thomas‘ wedding in Nashville on a Saturday morning.
The Bulldogs have hosted many great games at Sanford Stadium over the past 93 years, but perhaps none greater than Saturday’s, which will likely decide the SEC East title and who will play in the SEC Championship game. The winner will also have an inside track for the college football playoffs, while the loser will need help from other teams to get into the top four.
This is the first top-five game at Sanford Stadium since 1983, when Bo Jackson and No. 3 Auburn ended No. 4 Georgia’s 23-game winning streak with a 13-7 win. between the hedges.
“It’s a big game, isn’t it?” said Georgia coach Kirby Smart. “There’s nothing about a number up front. It would be a big game anyway because both teams are in the East.” — Schlabach