3. Pre-snap penalties were devastating for Vols.
Similar to the sacks, the penalties always seemed to come as Tennessee football was deep in Georgia territory. Now, on the surface, it doesn’t seem like too big of a deal. UT surrendered 55 yards in penalties, and the Dawgs surrendered 60 yards. However, the penalties by the Vols were almost exclusively unforced pre-snap penalties on the line.
Two factors were in play for that. One was the Georgia crowd. Similar to what the Vols did to the Alabama Crimson Tide a few weeks back, Georgia’s crowd stepped up in a big way. After many of us, our site included, noted that their stadium isn’t that loud, they took it personal and caused a ton of mistakes with their noise.
Then there was Kirby Smart’s brilliance with his defensive shifts. In another way that he confused Josh Heupel, Smart kept calling switches on the defensive line, and the Vols were never adequately prepared to handle them. It was confusing too many times.
The Vols had to settle for a field goal on their first drive because a false start brought up 1st and 15. Then a false start forced a punt on their second drive. Two false starts on a drive into the Georgia red zone also rendered that one scoreless. They had nine penalties on the day.