Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) during Georgia’s game against Tennessee on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Former SEC coach: Georgia-Tennessee not as close as final score, fans worth 7 to 10 points

ATHENS — Jeremy Pruitt has been in enough staff meetings and prowled enough sidelines to know what was at stake and what could make the difference in THE game last Saturday.

Georgia beat Tennessee 27-13 in a battle of teams ranked No. 1, the Bulldogs by the AP and Coches’ Poll, the Vols by the College Football Playoff Committee.

Coach Kirby Smart devised a flawless gameplan as the Bulldogs charged to a 24-6 halftime lead and took the air out of the ball in the second half after rain began to fall, producing difficult ball-handling conditions.

Pruitt, as Tennessee‘s former head coach, knows the Vols personnel well, but also, he’s aware of the nuances of Georgia having coached with Smart and faced Todd Monken’s offense with Stetson Bennett.

Here are a few of Pruitt’s takeaways from Monday night’s “On The Beat”

1. Georgia fans’ impact at Vince Dooley Field

“It tells a little bit about where Georgia is as a program. Kirby Smart challenged the fans, and they responded like his players.

You could tell it gave Tennessee issues, it would give anybody issues.

The fanbase was worth 7 to 10 points in that game on Saturday with the false starts, and things that put Tennessee behind the chains, and it also slowed down the tempo.

Incomplete passes, penalties, guys going out of bounds, things that slow down the fast tempo of Tennessee. That all created an advantage for Georgia.”

2. Georgia’s offensive pressure

“Everybody is talking about Georgia’s defense, which was awesome, they had a great game plan, executed it, and challenged Tennessee’s wide receivers and got pressure up the middle.

But I go back to Georgia’s offense, as efficient as they were to start the game, they put a lot of pressure on Tennessee.

Tennessee has been able to get off to fast starts this year. Georgia got some stops, Georgia put points on the board early, and created some explosive plays.

Stetson Bennett was able to make some big plays downfield and he hurt Tennessee with his feet.

It was a game that was not as close as the score indicated, which a lot of Tennessee fans would not like us saying that.

But I go back to Tennessee-Florida, that was a one-score game (38-33) and that game was not near as close as the final score, Tennessee dominated that game, and this was kind of the same way.”

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