Georgia State Panthers at Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday, Aug. 31; Neyland Stadium; Knoxville, Tenn.
One week from Saturday, Tennessee football will take the field against a coach they are familiar with. The Vols will be facing the Georgia State Panthers, who are led by Shawn Elliott, a Steve Spurrier protege and once-interim head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Those connections could be scary for Rocky Top. Sure, Elliott is coming off a 2-10 season with Georgia State. But he’s got his guys in there now, and he can clearly coach, having taken them on a surprise 7-5 run his first year, in 2017.
With a year of experience, Elliott figures his team will be much better and more competitive. And that could be a scary scenario for a Vols team that has a lot of unknowns entering Jeremy Pruitt’s second season, especially if they are looking ahead to the next week.
The Vols are lucky to play this team early in the year, as they will still be reeling a bit from last season. But Georgia State is still a much better Sun Belt team and could look like a quality game when the season ends.
Despite GSU likely to be much better and UT likely to be looking ahead, this game won’t be close. Pruitt’s team will light up the Panthers’ defense, which was horrendous last year and shouldn’t be much better. While Jarrett Guarantano will get his yards, Ty Chandler will be the star, going for over 200 on the day.
Tennessee: 52 Georgia State: 10