Talk about adding insult to injury.
As if Tennessee’s historic 38-30 loss to Georgia State on Saturday wasn’t bad enough for the Vols’ football program and for UT’s fans, quotes from one of the Panthers’ top defenders this week made things even worse.
Remy Lazarus, a redshirt senior safety for Georgia State, was pivotal in the Panthers’ defensive success against the Vols this past Saturday. Lazarus totaled six tackles and a pass breakup, tying for the second-most tackles on the team in the process.
But it’s his words this week that will probably sting Vol fans even more than his play this past Saturday.
According to Steve Hummer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lazarus thinks Georgia State’s upcoming opponent, the Furman Paladins of the FCS, will give the Panthers more of a fight than what they received on Saturday from Tennessee.
“From a program standpoint and big-picture standpoint, we know it’s a monumental win, an historic win,” Lazarus said of Saturday’s victory over Tennessee per the AJC. “But honestly if you could tune into practice today and the vibe today, we’re locked in. I wouldn’t say we’re on a cloud at all.
“I think (Furman) will give us a tougher battle than we faced Saturday, if you want to be honest.”
Furman is one of the better teams in the Southern Conference in the FCS, but comparing the effort of the Paladins to the effort of the Vols should be a mighty slap in the face to Tennessee.
For context: Furman went 6-4 overall last season and finished 6-2 in SoCon play, tying with Wofford and ETSU atop the SoCon standings. Due to tiebreakers, Furman didn’t even make it to the FCS playoffs. That same Furman team lost 29-27 to ETSU on September 22nd. That’s the same ETSU squad that was routed 59-3 by the Vols in Knoxville on September 8th.
A team like Furman should never be a tougher opponent in football than Tennessee. The Vols compete in the SEC, arguably the toughest conference in all of college football. Furman competes in the Southern Conference, a conference that was ranked fourth out of 13 conferences in the FCS prior to the 2019 season according to Athlon Sports.
Throughout Saturday’s game against Georgia State, the Vols looked disinterested, lackluster, and overall just plain uninspired. It appeared from the get-go that UT had overlooked Georgia State and assumed they would emerge victorious from the match-up.
That couldn’t have been more wrong, though.
Tennessee is looking to recover from that loss to Georgia State this upcoming Saturday when they take on BYU at night in Knoxville. The Vols certainly aren’t overlooking the Cougars like they apparently did the Panthers, and that’s a sentiment Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott seemed to feel prior to Saturday’s game.
One thing’s for certain, though: Tennessee will never forget Georgia State now.
“I don’t know if (Tennessee) took us seriously or not,” Elliot said per the AJC. “But they certainly do now.”