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10 things we learned from the Georgia State game

So I get it. The need to play cupcakes, that is. But seriously, if you’re gonna play a cupcake, then you should at least make sure they’re (oxymoron alert) a legitimate cupcake. And Georgia State, my friends, is NOT a legitimate cupcake.

Rule of thumb: if the total combined length of every song in Justin Bieber’s catalog exceeds the total time a football program has been in existence, said team is NOT a cupcake.

They’re cupcake batter. Still in the box. At the store. And because of this, there’s very little you can learn by playing them. Mostly bad things is all.

But still, a theme’s a theme, and I started with the whole “10 Things We Learned About the Vols” bit after NC State, so I suppose it only makes sense to keep this thing going, Justin Bieber analogies notwithstanding.

1. Bray’s a stud

If you’re into sick-ass stats, go check out Tyler’s. It’s an embarrassment of riches. He’s fifth in the country in passing efficiency after going nuts-o again on Saturday when he completed 18 of his 20 passes for over 300 yards — four of them for touchdowns. And he still had time to pop in the ol’ headphones and listen to his favorite 3 Doors Down album while Justin Worley mopped up.

Every damn bit of it.

It goes both ways. We really enjoy Tyler's work, too.

2. Bray’s receivers are studs

Whatever concern may have accompanied Justin Hunter’s uncharacteristic drops in Atlanta should be long gone after his performance on Saturday.  He looked as fast and smooth as ever, only this time he grabbed any and everything that came his way. CP proved he was no fluke by validating his first-game effort with a few grabs and a fantastic return.

But the receiver that lifted my spirits most was tight end Mychal Rivera who hauled in four passes for for 70 yards, including a 19 yard touchdown that put the Vols up 14-3.

We need a big body who can grab some balls in the middle and move the chains on this team. Because I have a feeling we may have some serious problems with our…

3. Running game: Not. Good.

Rajion Neal said something about “running downhill” during a post-game interview I either heard or read. (Possibly both.) And, I’m sorry, but that’s not what I saw out there. On a day when our passing attack showed how superior it was in comparison to paltry Georgia State, our running game showed anything but.

Neal averaged 5 yards a pop in his 13 carries which is fine and dandy, I suppose. But call me cynical — I was looking for a lot more than that against a team like Georgia State.

4. Kicking game. Goodtimes.

So Palardy had a tough day, what with the missed field goal and his second botched PAT in as many games. And things like that will get you beat. Not a matter of if, but when.

And how often.

Which is why Derrick Brodus saw some action at the end of the game, and why he’ll be the Vol’s kicker in the Florida game. I’m sure y’all know all about the unlikely path that the likable Brodus has taken to get to this point. (If you don’t, click HERE.)

But what you might not know is that Brodus is a total cross between Tiger Woods and Cuba Gooding Junior.

C'mon, Brodus. SHOW ME THE MONEY! *pumps fist*

5. Defense

So, it wasn’t any glaring flaw I saw within the defense that had me concerned. More that I expected them to show a greater separation from lowly Bieber State than they did. I guess I expected them to dominate the way Bray and company did through the air. But that didn’t happen. Especially early in the game when they gave a really bad team some confidence by allowing them to move the ball pretty effectively against us.

6. Back to that thing about UT’s quick-striking capabilities

For the second consecutive week, UT proved that it can score in a hurry. One of the most telling stats of the game? Georgia State won the time of possession battle by nearly nine minutes. Yet they lost by nearly 40.

Some of UT’s more impressive touchdown drives:

  • 2 plays, 40 yards in 30 seconds
  • 4 plays, 73 yards in 1:20
  • 3 plays, 79 uards in 41 seconds
  • 4 plays, 62 yards in 1:18
I don’t care who you’re playing. That’s flat-out getting it done. It’s fun to watch that kind of football, but it can be frustrating if you team seems to be…

7. Lacking a killer instinct.

Which I fear is the case with UT. That’s not to say we can’t develop one. But that is to say that we should have blown these fuckers out from the get go. Instead, we were only up 14-6 deep into the second quarter. And had it not been for our quick-scoring capabilities, one gets the sense that Georgia State just might have stuck around for a lot longer than we would have liked.

And when you let a team do that — you never know what could happen. (See Arkansas-Louisiana Monroe)


This is the part where I go back to the beginning of this piece and remind y’all that there’s not much you can learn about a team that just played a (box of) cupcake (batter). So, aside from the contest somewhat validating our freakshow aerial assault, I’m not sure there’s much to take away from this game.

Which is why this team and its fans need some perspective. Remember, this time last year, we were at the exact same spot, 2-0 heading into Florida, coming off an impressive victory over a Cincinnati team that ended up being pretty damn good by season’s end.

All was well. We were smitten with Derrick Dooley. No one had yet accused him of being a hair-obsessed, micro-managing lego enthusiast and we all still thought his mama was sooooo funny. (Incidentally, Dooley leads the nation in Mommy-attended press conferences. And from what I understand, it’s not even close…)

Yep, at this point last year, we were still starfucked by those orange pants — watching documentaries about them on the Jumbotron, following them on Twitter, and even pretending the tweets were funny.

Then number 11 went down against Florida, Bray hurt his hand against Georgia and, well, you know the rest.

So it’s not like I’m not fired up about our 2-0 start. I totally am. But in the immortal words of Mr. Wolf:

Let’s not start sucking each others’ dicks quite yet.

9. We’re good enough for the AP

Sill I’d be lying if I didn’t admit how great it feels to once again see the Vols in the top 25 of the AP poll — 23 to be exact — for the first time since 2008. Which means that, at least in the eyes of the AP voters, the Vols have reached their highest point in the post-Fulmer era. And that means that…

10. We’re good enough for ESPN Gameday crew

How great will it be to welcome back Chris Fowler and the gang? (Erin, where’d you go, girl?) Even if it did take an Arkansas loss to seal the deal?

First time ESPN’s come calling since 2004 when Gameday was in town for the Auburn game. And you can look at that either way. I mean, we did get THROTTLED by Auburn that day  34-10.

BUT 2004 was also the last year we beat Florida.

And if we somehow do that next week? All will be well in Knoxville. At least till we head down to Athens.

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