1. Who forces the first turnover?
Last year, the Georgia State Panthers and Tennessee football were middle of the pack when it came to turnovers. However, they were both outside of the top 90 in turnover margin. That was due to both being outside of the top 100 in turnovers forced.
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Early on last year, Jeremy Pruitt lamented his team’s inability to cash in on turnovers and noted it would cost them in SEC play. It did, and that’s why they fell to 5-7 with six losses by 25 or more points. An outmatched team like they were needed to force a turnover.
Meanwhile, Georgia State was nearly dead last in turnover margin because they couldn’t even average one forced turnover a game. Because of those things, this matchup could be one that is extremely low on turnovers.
So who forces the first turnover seems irrelevant on its face. But if that turnover comes early on when the game hasn’t broken open yet, it could be the key to keep it from breaking open. After all, the other team may not be able to respond by forcing a turnover.
Simply put, this is a way for GSU to make this a game early. They showed last year they aren’t horrible at protecting the ball, and they can move the ball while doing so. Meanwhile, the Vols were horrible at forcing turnovers. As a result, if Shawn Elliott can draw something up to get lucky and force an early turnover, this may become a game.
Regardless of what happens, Tennessee football should be able to control this game and blow out the Georgia State Panthers. And yes, turnovers are a cliche key. But in this case, one turnover could change everything, and it’s GSU’s biggest key to not making it a blowout. They don’t have to win the battle in a big way. They just need to force one early to make this interesting.