Tennessee football: Five key Vols to watch for against Georgia Bulldogs

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Oct 16, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Byron Young (6) on the field during the first half against the Mississippi Rebels at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Morale couldn’t be higher for Tennessee football. It’s coming at just the right time took, as the Vols are now set to host the No. 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. This morale comes from a huge 45-42 win at the Kentucky Wildcats over the weekend, and that victory has everything to do with key players stepping up to make big plays.

Josh Heupel’s entire system is based on big plays, and UT certainly had its fair share of those in that game. With UGA coming to town and bringing a historically great defense under Kirby Smart, the Vols will have to find more big plays. It may be a lot harder.

Guys who can make those plays, just a few within the game, are the ones who will be key. Rocky Top will also need those players on defense, as the Dawgs can move the ball pretty easily too. Just a few wild plays can help any underdog win, and UT should have that mentality. These are the five Vols who could make that difference when Tennessee football visits Georgia.

Byron Young
Defensive end Junior

6’3″ 235 pounds

Few people have come on as strong in recent weeks for the Vols as Byron Young. Despite the Vols getting torched all game by Kentucky’s offense, Young killed two drives in the fourth quarter. He killed one drive with two sacks, and he killed UK’s final drive by getting pressure to force two of the four straight incomplete passes.

Young was a late bloomer because eligibility issues as a junior college transfer kept him from seeing the field in the first two games. He’s slowly gotten better ever since, and he has three and  half sacks, six tackles for a loss and two pass deflections over the past four games.

I(f Tennessee football is going to pull off this miracle while playing host to Georgia, the Vols will need a couple of big sacks to kill drives. Young is capable of doing that, and with UGA not having a dual-threat quarterback, getting a couple of sacks may be possible. The only thing they have to do is figure out how to get past that elite UGA offensive line.

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