Finally, a pass rush! It may have only come from one man, but it was still more than the Vols have shown all season up to this point. Darrell Taylor had a career day, notching three sacks and two forced fumbles. Tennessee never could recover any of the fumbles he forced, but Taylor was consistently getting pressure on Jake Fromm and looked like he may have finally turned a corner. Daniel Bituli led the team with eight tackles, and Quart’e Sapp’s name was called several times on Saturday. That’s a good sign after the drama that unfolded with him during and after the Florida game. Jonathan Kongbo finished with five tackles, but he still had some noticeably bad decisions and mistakes, and Darrin Kirkland Jr. didn’t have quite as good of a game. Will Ignont got a TFL, but overall the linebackers were also responsible for the 251 rushing yards the Bulldogs amassed. Still, the pass rush was a welcome sign, and there were still quite a few good things to see from this group.
Tennessee finally put a pass rush together and as a result, forced four Georgia fumbles. If the Vols were able to recover any of them, Tennessee likely would have had a chance to win it late. Darrell Taylor led the way, putting together his best performance as Vol. Taylor was impressive off the edge, forcing two fumbles, sacking the quarterback three times, and recording two tackles for a loss. Johnathan Kongbo also had one of his better games on the opposite side of Taylor, though he missed a couple of tackles.
At inside linebacker, Daniel Bituli impressed with eight tackles and Quart’e Sapp picked up five tackles as he received extensive playing time for the first time this season. Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Will Ignont combined for eight tackles, with Ignont recording an impressive tackle for a loss. As a group, the linebackers did contribute to Georgia having a strong game on the ground, though.