I've already told you everything you need to know about the passing game, the gist of which is this: Tennessee has demonstrated the ability to move the ball through the air but not the ability to stop the opposition from moving the ball through the air. What about the running game, though?
I can see you cringing already. We all know about the bruising Tennessee ground game. The Volunteers' ability to run the football consistently is a staple of Big Orange football. As the Bulldogs' losses to U.T. mounted in the '90s, one Vol running back after another rushed for big yardage against the Red and Black.
And so it is that, on Saturday, Georgia will face a Tennessee rushing attack ranked . . . 11th in the conference? Can that be right?
I just double-checked the stats and, sure enough, that's the case. The Volunteers average just 132.2 yards per game on the ground and Tennessee's five rushing touchdowns for the season are the second-fewest in the league. Although Georgia has two tailbacks in the top ten in the S.E.C. in rushing yards per game, no Big Orange player made the grade.
The Vols will be going up against a Red and Black defensive front that is more accomplished than often appears to be the case to those of us watching from the stands in Sanford Stadium: Georgia ranks fourth in the conference in rushing defense, conceding just 119.0 yards per game on the ground.
During the early part of the campaign, an inexperienced offensive line hampered the Bulldogs' ability to get it going in the running game, but the Classic City Canines made a giant leap forward with 328 rushing yards last weekend to up their average to 178.2 yards per game on the ground. Most impressively, the 'Dawgs have scored a dozen rushing touchdowns in 2007 . . . more than S.E.C. rushing leader Arkansas has scored.
The U.T. defense has fared surprisingly poorly against the run, ranking ninth in the league with 188.2 rushing yards allowed per outing. Although the Vols have given up only one more rushing touchdown (7) than Georgia has allowed (6), no team in the conference has permitted more yards per carry than the 5.2 averaged against the Big Orange.
With any luck in the world at all, Thomas Brown (5.6 yards per carry) and Knowshon Moreno (5.5 yards per carry) will have stellar days against the Volunteers. For the record, both Bulldog tailbacks have broken a 50-yard run this season. Don't be surprised to see at least one of them do it again on Saturday.
That takes care of the running game. Next, we will turn to the kicking game in my ongoing efforts to provide you not with a dash of data, not with an increment of information, but instead with . . . Too Much Information.