By Jimmy Hyams / @JimmyHyams
Top-ranked Georgia leads the nation in scoring defense and ranks second in run defense.
It hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 14 points in a game this season.
It has the best defense the SEC has seen since Alabama in 2011.
So does Tennessee, with the No. 3 scoring offense in the SEC, have a puncher’s chance against the modern version of the Junkyard Dawgs?
“They have chances because they can create some unscheduled plays,’’ Neuheisel said. “You’re right about the Georgia defense. It’s like waves crashing on a beach: they just keep coming, right?
“There are so many names and so many very talented players who don’t seem to mind they’re not getting all the playing time, and none of them are getting real individual attention, which they probably could if they were elsewhere.’’
You might differ from Neuheisel on that one. Defensive tackle Jordan Davis has been touted by some as the SEC Player of the Year and linebacker Nakobi Dean is projected as a first-round draft pick with All-American ability.
If the Vols can put a few touchdowns on the board, Neuheisel thinks UT could pull a major upset – UT is a 21-point under-dawg – since Georgia isn’t prolific on offense.
Neuheisel noted that Georgia rushed for only 168 yards against a Missouri defense that allows 280 per game and yielded 458 on the ground to Tennessee.
“For those reasons,’’ Neuheisel said, “I think Tennessee has a chance. Plus you’ve got 100,000 people wearing Orange. Anything can happen.’’
Neuheisel also thinks Georgia could face a distraction. Star linebacker Adam Anderson has been suspended pending an investigation into rape. Anderson’s attorney has requested Georgia reinstate his client since no charges have been filed.
“I’m interested if that might not have some residual impact, if they’re looking towards their teammate (and saying) is he being treated fairly.’’
As of Wednesday night, the UT-Georgia game was not a sellout.
About 2,700 tickets remain.
Georgia purchased its allotment of 5,000 and likely will pick up more tickets on the open market.
Is Time of Possession Overrated?
Neuheisel was impressed that Tennessee won against Kentucky with just 13:52 minutes time of possession.
Neuheisel said Wake Forest did that to Army in a 70-56 win, but actually, Wake had the ball for 17:17, which, in Tennessee’s offense, might be a dozen more plays.
“To do it against Kentucky (and defensive minded coach Mark Stoops) I think speaks volumes for the job Josh Heupel’s offense is doing,’’ Neuheisel said.
“`And also, salute the defense. To be out there for 99 plays and get the stop when you had to, that was big time.’’