In 2016, Tennessee started of the year with a 5-2 record against opponents with a combined overall record of 67-28 or .705%. The Volunteers first five wins against Appalachian State, Virginia Tech, Ohio, Florida and Georgia came by a total of 10 points per game. The Volunteers four losses to Texas A&M, Alabama, South Carolina and Vanderbilt came by a total of 15 points per game.
Georgia Tech ended their 2016 season with a 9-4 overall record. The Yellow Jackets four losses last year (Clemson, Miami, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech) came to opponents with a combined overall record of 39-15 or a .722%. All four losses were to conference opponents.
Georgia Tech was 3-0 in games against the SEC in 2016 (Vanderbilt, Georgia and Kentucky).
The Volunteers averaged 36 points per game and rushed for 205 yards per game along with passing for 238 yards through the air in 2016. Tennessee’s success in 2016 hinged on the performance of former quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Last year, Dobbs completed 63% of his passes for 2,946 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also led the team with 831 rushing yards averaging 5.5 yards per carry with 12 rushing touchdowns.
In Tennessee’s three consecutive losses to Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina-Dobbs completed 55% of his passes averaging 231 yards per game with 3 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
The Volunteers had a season that was separated by streaks. The team started out 5-0, then lost three straight and ended with a 4-1 overall record in the team’s last five games.
In Tennessee’s first seven games of the 2016 season, the offense averaged 224 passing yards per game and rushed for 169 yards on the ground. However, in the last six games, the offense rushed for 246 yards per game on the ground along with passing for 255 yards per game through the air.
Defensively, the unit allowed 28 points per game giving up 218 rushing yards per game along with 230 passing yards through the air to opposing offenses. The unit ended 2016 -2 in turnover margin and was -5 in turnover margin on the road in 2016.
In Tennessee’s four losses last year, the team lost the turnover battle in three of the four games.
The defense wore down during the season last year in critical games and was gashed on the ground by opposing offenses.
In the Volunteers first five games of the season, the defense allowed 149 rushing yards per game.
However, over the last eight games of the season, the unit gave up 262 rushing yards per game along with allowing four teams (Texas A&M-353, Alabama-409, Kentucky-442 and Missouri-420) to rush for over 300 yards respectively.
While the unit recorded 30 sacks on the year, in the first seven games, the defense only had 10 total sacks.
Tennessee held opposing offenses to 37% on their third down conversions.
The Yellow Jackets averaged 28 points per game in 2016 with a run heavy offense that averaged 258 yards per game on the ground along with passing for 129 yards per game through the air last season.
Former quarterback Justin Thomas completed 53% of his passes for 1559 yards with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. On the ground, Thomas 604 yards averaging 4.4 yards per carry with six scores.
Georgia Tech converted 41 % of their third down attempts as an offensive unit in 2016, however, in the team’s four losses-they only converted 18 of 49 attempts or 36% (5% less than their season average).
In the Yellow Jackets four losses, the offense averaged 244 rushing yards per game and 99 passing yards per game. Once the team fell behind in games, it was very difficult for the triple option attack to keep opposing defenses off-balance. This is why speed teams hurt Georgia Tech throughout the 2016 season.
Defensively, the unit gave up 24 points per game and allowed 172 rushing yards on the ground along with giving up 229 passing yards to opposing offenses.
In the team’s four losses, the unit allowed 146 total points or 28 points per game. Georgia Tech was outscored by a margin of 146-82 in the four losses to conference opponents.
In the Yellow Jackets four losses in 2016, the unit allowed 187 rushing yards per game and 272 passing yards per game (43 yards more than their season average). In the team’s four losses, the unit allowed opposing offenses to convert 25 of 29 third down attempts or 51%. This was another area of weakness by the defense, as the unit allowed team’s to conert 49% of their third down attempts on the season.
Georgia Tech ended 2016 with a +4 turnover margin and +5 margin on the road. A cause of concern heading into 2017 has to be pass rush.
In 2016, Georgia Tech recorded 18 total sacks with 10 of those coming in the team’s last four games.