Tennessee vs. Georgia: Players Who Must Step Up in SEC Clash

Justin WeltonAnalyst IISeptember 29, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: Tyler Bray # 8 of the Tennessee Volunteers throws during pregame warm-ups before their game against the Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
John Sommers II/Getty Images

Few have been talking about No. 5 Georgia in the 2012 college football season. If you land in that category, you better pay attention. 

The Bulldogs are 4-0 on the young season, and they are in prime position in the always difficult SEC. With Georgia traveling to South Carolina next Saturday, it's important that they focus on the task at hand this week and that's Tennessee.

Aaron Murray has been the offensive leader for Georgia this year, so it's apparent that he steps up in this crucial SEC game, but he's not the only one who needs to. Here are three more: 

Tyler Bray

Against Florida at home, the best team Tennessee has played this year, Bray completed only 50 percent of his passes (22-of-44) for 257 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has only thrown one other interception all year.

Bray has been the best offensive player for Tennessee this year, but he has to play big if he plans on winning at Georgia.

Saturday's showdown has shootout written all over it, but Tennessee will fall well short if Bray isn't on top of his game.

Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall

Tennessee's rush defense has been pretty putrid this season. Florida rushed for 336 yards when the Gators defeated the Volunteers 37-20 two weeks ago.

Even without Isaiah Crowell, the Bulldogs' rushing attack has been stellar through four games. Todd Gurley has averaged 9.2 yards per carry (406 yards total) on 44 carries. He has scored six touchdowns on the season.

Keith Marshall has been impressive, too. Marshall has accounted for 6.3 yards per carry (246 yards) on 42 carries. He has scored three touchdowns.

These two stars need a huge game against a porous rush defense. The capabilities to gash the Volunteers can't be more apparent, but it's up to these studs and the offensive line to make it happen. 

Rajion Neal

Tyler Bray will need any help he can get from other members of the offense. Rajion Neal, the Volunteers' primary running back, will need to help his teammate out immensely. 

Neal has been solid through four games, rushing for 356 yards and three touchdowns on 80 carries.

Against a Georgia team that will put points on the board, it's paramount Neal does what he can do offset the Bulldogs defense.


Georgia 31, Tennessee 20. The Bulldogs will struggle early, but turn it around in the second half to win by double figures.