No. 25 Tennessee (9-4 in 2016) vs. Georgia Tech (9-4) in Atlanta, Monday 8 p.m. ET (ESPN) Line: Tennessee by 3.
No. 25 Tennessee (9-4 in 2016) vs. Georgia Tech (9-4) in Atlanta, Monday 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Line: Tennessee by 3.
Series record: Tennessee leads 24-17-2.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Tennessee coach Butch Jones needs a strong showing in 2017 to win over the Rocky Top faithful. The Vols opened last year ranked in the Top 10, but losses to South Carolina and Vanderbilt turned up the heat on Jones heading into his fifth season. Georgia Tech will try to extend a three-game winning streak against SEC opponents after sweeping them last season.
Georgia Tech's offensive line vs. Tennessee's defensive front. The Yellow Jackets are counting on three new starters to pave the way for an option offense that is traditionally one of the nation's best rushing attacks. They'll be facing a defense that gave up far too many long runs late last season. The Vols will be missing linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. (knee).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tennessee: Whoever starts at quarterback. Jones was holding off on announcing whether junior Quinten Dormady or redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano would be the guy.
Georgia Tech: B-back KirVonte Benson. The sophomore steps in for Dedrick Mills, who was Georgia Tech's leading rusher with 771 yards and 12 touchdowns last season but was dismissed from the team during preseason practice. Benson has no college carries.
FACTS & FIGURES
These schools were once big rivals in the Southeastern Conference, but haven't met since 1987. ... This is the second of two Chick-fil-A Kickoff games being held at Atlanta's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium over the Labor Day weekend. No. 1 Alabama faces No. 3 Florida State on Saturday night in the first college game held at the $1.5 billion facility. ... It will be the second straight year Georgia Tech has opened the season with a neutral-site game, but this one will be much closer to home. The Jackets traveled nearly 4,000 miles a year ago to face Atlantic Coast Conference rival Boston College in Dublin, Ireland. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is about a mile and a half from the Georgia Tech campus. ... The Tennessee offense will rely heavily on RB John Kelly (630 yards, five TDs, 6.4 per carry) and WR Jauan Jennings (40 receptions, 580 yards, seven TDs).