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Georgia vs. Tennessee 2017: Preview, prediction, how to watch and odds

The Georgia Bulldogs travel to Knoxville in a pivotal SEC East matchup.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia
Georgia vs Tennessee in 2016
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Who: No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs vs. Tennessee Volunteers

When: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017

Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn.

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET


Radio: Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network, Vol Network from IMG

How to watch online: WatchESPN

Odds: The Bulldogs are presently seven-point favorites, via OddsShark.

Georgia and Tennessee will renew their rivalry on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville. If recent history is any indication, we’re in for a treat. The past six meetings have been decided by one score or less, with UT winning the past two meetings.

Last season’s finish was one of the more dramatic ones in college football as Georgia led for much of the game. That is until the Vols finally took a 28-24 lead late in the 4th quarter. Jacob Eason led the ‘Dawgs back, hitting Riley Ridley for a touchdown with just 10 seconds remaining.

Game over, right? Nope.

Georgia received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after its score, and Tennessee ended up receiving the ball at UGa’s 43-yard line. Then, UT quarterback Joshua Dobbs heaves a hail-mary attempt into the end zone that is caught and the Volunteers win.

John Kelly against the Georgia defense

If the Vols are going to win on Saturday, they need a big day from running back John Kelly. The junior running back is having a strong season, having rushed for 450 yards and six touchdowns. Kelly is averaging almost six yards per attempt. However, Kelly won’t find it easy running against Georgia’s front seven.

The Bulldogs have the nation’s 17th-ranked rushing defense, allowing 97 yards per game. UGA is holding opponents to a meager 3.0 yards per attempt.

This matchup could determine the outcome. If Kelly can get going, it opens things up for quarterback Quinten Dormady. Of course, Dormady must do his part, too. And he’s had his struggles this season.

Nick Chubb could have a huge day

The last time Nick Chubb played in Knoxville, it was a day to forget. The now-senior running back was well on his way to a All-American season before a knee injury cut his sophomore season short.

Two years later, Chubb—fully healthy—returns to Knoxville. And he’s poised for a big performance. And he could get it, too. Tennessee is not good against the run, ranking No. 117 in rush defense, allowing over 242 yards per game. It’s important to note the Vols’ defensive stats are skewed a bit due to playing Georgia Tech and its triple-option offense in the season opener.

Chubb is the best back Tennessee has faced all year. Expect Kirby Smart to ride Chubb and Sony Michel to keep the pressure off Jake Fromm, and Chubb will have rush for over 100 yards.

So, who wins?

As recent history suggests, this game will be close. Tennessee will give Georgia its best shot and keep this game close until late in the fourth quarter. But, Georgia just has too much for the Vols. After all, this is the same Tennessee team that beat UMass by a mere four points at home just last week.

Prediction: Georgia 27, Tennessee 20