KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray likely will become the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in career yards passing today at Tennessee.
Tennessee will try to make sure he remembers this game for an entirely different reason.
Now that the sixth-ranked Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0 SEC) have survived a brutal September schedule with their national title hopes intact, they must avoid a letdown against a Tennessee (3-2, 0-1) team that feasts on turnovers.
Murray is 99 yards away from matching former Georgia quarterback David Greene’s SEC record of 11,528 career yards passing. He faces a Tennessee defense that has picked off 11 passes to match Virginia Tech for the most among all Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
“They’re like every SEC team we’re going to face all year,” Murray said. “Big. Fast. Big plays. They’ve shown that with 11 picks. If I’m not on my game or as accurate as I need to be, they’re going to make plays on the ball.”
Murray leads an offense that has scored at least 35 points in each of its first four games. Georgia balances Murray’s passing prowess with a rushing attack that features Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, though Gurley has a sprained left ankle that leaves his status for today’s game in doubt.
“They’re very good, one of the best offenses I’ve ever seen,” Tennessee safety Brian Randolph said. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us out there.”
While Georgia finished the toughest portion of its schedule last week with a 44-41 victory over No. 10 Louisiana State, Tennessee is in the midst of its own grueling stretch. The Volunteers have next week off before playing host to No. 13 South Carolina on Oct. 19 and visiting top-ranked Alabama on Oct. 26.
Tennessee has lost 18 consecutive games against ranked opponents and is 1-24 against Top 25 teams since 2008. The Vols also have lost 11 of their past 12 October games.
But the Vols’ tradition still has the attention of Georgia coach Mark Richt, who doesn’t expect his team to overlook Tennessee after facing the likes of Clemson, South Carolina and LSU over the last month.
“You don’t ever want to let down, but we’re playing Tennessee so I don’t foresee a letdown,” Richt said. “If we were playing somebody else, you might start talking that way, but not when you play Tennessee.”