In the days after an ugly home win over UMass last week, Tennessee coach Butch Jones went on a press-conference rant about negativity in the media. Jones better prepare himself for the new level of negativity that is coming.
Tennessee lost at home to No. 7 Georgia 41-0 on Saturday, an all-around ugly game that marked the Volunteers' first shutout loss since 1994 and worst lost to Georgia since 1981.
Things looked bad from the start and spiraled out of control for Tennessee. Quinten Dormady was intercepted on the first play of the game. The rest of the first half featured six punts, a fumble and another interception as the Vols trailed 24-0 at halftime. When they caught a break and intercepted Jake Fromm at Georgia's 27-yard line, they quickly fumbled it back on a bad snap.
This wasn't the snap Tennessee needed right now. pic.twitter.com/BSfQ8N5owM- CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 30, 2017
The Vols were overmatched against Georgia's defense, and almost every break went against them, too, including an underthrown deep ball that was broken up and tipped to Georgia's J.R. Reed for an interception.
The entire game continued like this, including a punt that went off the back of a Tennessee player before reaching the line of scrimmage.
go Vols pic.twitter.com/3zrAQ0Uwi8- Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) September 30, 2017
Last week, in that close win over the Minutemen, many fans didn't spend the entire afternoon at Neyland Stadium watching it unfold. So what did they think of Saturday's result?
Crowd thinned out at Neyland pic.twitter.com/uTR7Ropv7z- Bill Bender (@BillBender92) September 30, 2017
The Bulldogs moved into the top 10 after last week's blowout win over Mississippi State, and they solidified that standing on Saturday. After beating Notre Dame by one on the road, Georgia has started SEC play with wins over MSU and Tennessee by a total score of 72-3. They're clear-cut favorites in the SEC East entering October.
Meanwhile, Georgia's dominance sets the stage for overwhelming negativity in Knoxville. Jones drew heat last year for a disappointing second half of the season, and now the Vols are 3-2 with losses to Georgia and Florida and tight wins over UMass and Georgia Tech. Saturday was a low point, as they finished with 142 total yards on 52 plays with four turnovers and just seven first downs, and their defense was overwhelmed by Nick Chubb and Georgia's running game.
Tennessee has a needed off week coming in Week 6, but there's no doubt it's going to feel like an unbearably long two weeks before the South Carolina game. There are usually some positive things to take away even in a loss. Saturday's game provided nothing positive.