ATHENS, Ga. — The Georgia Bulldogs never defeated Tennessee when Josh Dobbs was its starting quarterback.
Saturday afternoon they will try to knock off the Volunteers with junior Quinten Dormady and/or redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano at quarterback. Dormady has started all four games for the 3-1 Vols, but Guarantano played significant second-half snaps during last weekend's lackluster 17-13 escape of UMass.
Guarantano gives Tennessee a little more of a dual-threat edge.
"He's a good athlete, and he played a lot Saturday," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "He's a good player. I think they can use both of them in similar ways, but he's certainly a good athlete who can mix it up and do some things like Dobbs did."
Dobbs accounted for a staggering nine total touchdowns in his two starting opportunities against Georgia, producing one of the best games of his career against the Bulldogs as a junior in 2015. In Tennessee's 38-31 comeback victory in Neyland Stadium that year, Dobbs threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 118 yards and two scores.
In last season's 34-31 Tennessee win in Athens, Dobbs threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Jauan Jennings as time expired.
Dormady has completed 71 of 121 passes (58.7 percent) for 861 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions this season. The 6-foot-4, 222-pounder from Boerne, Texas, ranks 12th among Southeastern Conference quarterbacks in efficiency.
"The guy makes a lot of throws," Smart said. "I haven't seen him up close in person, and I really didn't get to look at him last year, but he makes a lot of great throws. He has very good arm talent and makes good decisions, so it'll be a challenge.
"They do a great job with their offense. They mix it up. They've got a lot of great things they do. They always have. Butch (Jones) has done that since he was at Cincinnati.''
Guarantano, a 6-4, 220-pounder from Lodi, N.J., has completed just 6 of 17 attempts in two appearances for 38 yards and a touchdown.
"I'm sure our scout team will do a great job of getting us prepared to see both quarterbacks as far as pro-style and running the football," Bulldogs senior defensive back Aaron Davis said. "It's our job to study the film to see what all we can do to contain them."
Georgia's desire to improve its red-zone efficiency on both sides of the ball is off to a good start. The Bulldogs, who produced long-range touchdowns of 59, 28 and 41 yards in last Saturday's 31-3 drubbing of Mississippi State, have made 13 trips inside opposing 20-yard lines this season and have come away with 10 touchdowns and three field goals.
The Bulldogs lead the SEC with that 100 percent scoring success rate, and they are second in the league in red-zone defense, having allowed scores in seven of 10 opportunities.
"I feel like the work there has paid off offensively pretty good," Smart said in a news conference after Tuesday's practice. "Statistics can lie in that, too, because sometimes you're 100 percent but you may not be scoring touchdowns. We have our own way of measuring statistics in the red zone. It's different from the SEC's numbers.
"Sometimes those are misleading, but defensively I felt we should have kept opponents out of the end zone a couple of times, or held them to field goals, but we weren't able to. We'll continue getting better at it. We emphasize it, so hopefully we'll get a return on it.''
Odds and ends
Smart has yet to say whether sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason has been cleared to return but said Tuesday that he "looks much better than he did last week." Smart: "The part you don't recognize with Tennessee is the physicality in which their receivers play with." When asked how he defines the "it" factor with quarterbacks, Smart said, "W's."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.