Tennessee football vs. Georgia State: 10 keys for Vols and Panthers

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Georgia State travels to Knoxville for Tennessee football’s opener. Here are 10 keys to the game for the UT Volunteers and GSU.

It’s opening week on Rocky Top. Tennessee football starts things off in its second year under head coach Jeremy Pruitt with a home game against a Group of Five team that went 2-10 last year in the Georgia State Panthers.

Well, that’s an easier way to start off than with a neutral site game against the West Virginia Mountaineers under a first-year head coach. Vols fans will welcome any win coming off a 5-7 season in which they lost six games by 25 or more points.

But as Tennessee football gets set to host Georgia State, could there be any challenges presented by such a bad mid-major team from last year? After all, they were 7-5 in 2017, have a third-year head coach in Shawn Elliott who has experience with the SEC and coaching in Neyland Stadium, and they return a good bit of talent.

Our look at the keys to the game will take all of that into account to determine if Georgia State can pull off the upset, or at least give the Vols a scare. While all data points suggest that UT will be significantly better this year, the same could be true for the Panthers.

With the BYU Cougars heading to Knoxville next week, Pruitt is going to want to have this game in hand within a reasonable amount of time. He doesn’t want to risk injury, so having his backups play in the second half is ideal. That’s also ideal if he’s being honest about still not knowing his full depth chart yet.

Anyway, numerous factors in the game will determine if this is the blowout everybody expects, a scare that concerns everybody, or the upset of the week that wrecks the season before it starts. And this post is an analysis of all of them.

So continuing with our preview of the Vols’ first game in 2019, let’s go ahead and look at what will dictate the outcome. These are our 10 keys to the game between Tennessee football and the Georgia State Panthers.

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