Volunteer Roadshow Game Preview: Georgia State
The time has come for Tennessee fans. We are now only 2 days away until Tennessee’s season kicks-off, and with that, we will begin our first opponent preview of the year.
Georgia State is a team that is at rock bottom, they had an abysmal season in 2018, finishing 2-10, with a horrid secondary. If that’s not bad enough, things aren’t expected to improve heavily this year either under Head Coach Shawn Elliot, as SB Nation is predicting a 4-8 season. In addition, Georgia State had an extremely young secondary due to injuries, and that resulted in teams humiliating (We’re not exaggerating) them downfield. Their offense seems to be weak as well, however, the secondary is just too awful to put into words. Literally all season this team was embarrassed deep down the field. This is a team Jarrett Guarantano can have his way with, which will build great confidence heading into a big matchup with BYU in a seemingly must-win game for Tennessee.
As for returning talent, Georgia State returns a total of 14 starters (7 for both offense and defense). They return their starting QB, Dan Ellington who only missed one game due to injury last season. Ellington is a dual-threat junior QB, who can run around under pressure. He is capable of avoiding the heat from defenses, and his strength is using his legs. He led his team in rushing and scored 5 times using his legs. Ellington is a strength among an offense that struggled last season, and it will be important to keep an eye on him during the game.
The Panthers offensive line was impressive last season, however this year they lose that strength. 4 of their starters on that line have exhausted their eligibility, resulting in a younger offensive line this year.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers return 7 players. They return most of their secondary, but again that secondary was horrid last season. We expect an experienced Tennessee receiver group to embarrass this secondary.
We at Volunteer Roadshow are comfortable saying that this game should serve as a tuneup game for the Vols before playing BYU next week. It is true that Tennessee has had trouble blowing out teams that are far below their talent level in the past (Charlotte 2018, UTEP 2018, UMASS 2017, Southern Miss 2017, etc) but this game is different. Tennessee is expected to improve greatly this year and be one of the most improved teams in the nation. That being said, a team that has a ceiling of winning about 8 or 9 games should have no trouble blowing out a team like Georgia State.
So in short, is this team capable of upsetting Tennessee? Absolutely not. Here at Volunteer Roadshow, we almost never prematurely declare victory, but this Georgia State team is simply not capable of keeping up with an SEC Team (obviously). You should expect an absolute massacre, in a game where Tennessee has to get experience for underclassmen, heading into a must-win game against BYU next week.