ATHENS – Greetings from cold and wet Sanford Stadium, where the conditions are deplorable, unless you’re a visiting team hoping to pull off an upset.
The No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (10-1) play host to Georgia Tech (7-4) in the dreaded noon game today in the 111th renewal of the rivalry so intense that it’s known as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” The Yellow Jackets, who are 17-point underdogs today, have won in their last two visits to Athens. In fact, all three of coach Paul Johnson’s wins over Georgia have come between the hedges.
Today’s game is technically a sellout but, based on my drive in, there are going to be a lot of no-shows today. Traffic three hours before the game was lighter than the UMass game last Saturday. Only two tailgates appeared in the Myers Quad, which normally has a sea of them. That’s not surprising considering that it was raining and 39 degrees two hours before kickoff. The rain is supposed to stop at some point, but with highs not expected to get past 54 today, conditions aren’t likely to improve much as the day goes on.
So it’s going to be up to the Bulldogs, and not to their fervent fan base, to create “the juice” needed to play well today. And they’ll need to play well, both offensively and defensively.
The talk before this game every year is on the challenges of stopping Tech’s famed triple option, and that will be true as always. But perhaps even more important is that the Bulldogs are well-oiled and productive on offense. The Yellow Jackets almost always can be counted on to pile up their rushing yards, and they come in scoring nearly as many points per game (36.9) as Georgia (39.6).
But they tend to take longer in doing so, and they don’t play very well from behind. Tech’s defense is allowing 361 yards and 27.5 points per game. So a big key for the Bulldogs today is to take advantage of that weakness early, get ahead and stay ahead. Generally, if Georgia can get score in the 30s in this game, it can win.
The Bulldogs couldn’t be blamed for looking ahead. Next Saturday, No. 1 Alabama and the SEC Championship await as last year’s national finalists meet in a rematch. The Crimson Tide (11-0) plays host to Auburn today in the Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa, and DawgNation’s Mike Griffith is there to provide us with that result and provide some insights to boot.
We’ll also have today’s game heavily covered from both sides, with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff giving us the scoop on the Yellows Jackets.
So hang with us today. Whether you’re home on your couch in front of a nice fire or sitting underneath blankets here in Sanford Stadium, we’ll provide updates all day on DawgNation and the DawgNation app.