4. Vols never figured out Georgia’s blitz packages.
Without Nolan Smith, it was clear Kirby Smart would bring the heat all day. Georgia hasn’t been doing that all year, though, so Josh Heupel and Tennessee football clearly didn’t take seriously their ability to get pressure. They did that to their own detriment, and it cost them in a big way, as the Dawgs torched them.
UGA finished with six sacks, including a strip-sack in the end zone that should’ve been a safety. That doesn’t even include the rushed throws. Javon Bullard had two sacks, and then Trezmen Marshall, Warren Brinson, Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Jalen Carter all each had one. Carter had the strip-sack in the agme.
Those sacks were all at devastating moments as well. The strip-sack was on a third down. On the opening drive of the second half, the Vols got into Georgia territory, and then Hooker was sacked twice, killing the drive. Then on another drive, they got inside the red zone, and Hooker was again sacked twice, forcing a turnover on downs.
If any of those plays ends up differently, we could be talking about a different game. The strip-sack made it difficult for a good punt, which set up a Georgia touchdown, and the other sacks killed a touchdown drive. It’s hard to get past those incidents.