Confidence building on Rocky Top, Tennessee defense embraces ‘chaos’ of Neyland Stadium

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee players are ready to embrace the “chaos” of Neyland Stadium on Saturday and extend their 14-game home win streak.

More than 100,000 fans will create a home field advantage like few others when the Vols play host to Georgia at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday (TV: CBS). Coaches, players and even fans recognize Neyland Stadium as the best home stadium experience in the SEC, per an social media poll taken earlier this season.

The Vols play all their major rivals in their home stadium, enjoying a strong and prosperous relationship with their home city of Knoxville.

Even Georgia offensive lineman Tate Ratledge gives Tennessee’s home stadium its props.

“Neyland Stadium, no offense to Sanford or Georgia fans, but Neyland Stadium is the best stadium in the SEC,” Ratledge said on his podcast, later clarifying he meant that as no dig to the UGA fans “112,000? And it’s a bowl, right on the river.”

The crowd noise is to the extent it could interfere with Ratledge’s ability to hear snap counts, often drowning out shouted out instructions and strategic adjustments throughout the course of games.

“Of course it’s different, when we’re here at home in Neyland, it’s a lot more noise with a lot of things going on,” Tennessee defensive tackle Bryson Eason said on Tuesday. “We love that atmosphere, we love to be in the middle of the chaos, just dialed in and locked into the signals of the calls ... . it’s a great feeling, honestly.”

Georgia first-year starting quarterback Carson Beck and the Bulldogs have not been at their best on the road this season.

UGA had to come from 10 down to beat Auburn earlier this season, not scoring the decisive touchdown until there was just 2:52 left in the 27-20 win.


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