Georgia football begins its quest to repeat as SEC champion on Sept. 1, 2018, against Austin Peay in Week One of the season. Georgia football game time, TV channel and how to watch online below.
ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart aims to keep the “special” in special teams this season, and Mecole Hardman is a big part of that equation.
Hardman, named the team’s Vince Dooley Special Teams MVP last season, ranked eight nationally in punt returns (11.8 yards per return) and 21st in kick returns (25.3).
Hardman said Wednesday he was displeased he didn’t return any kicks or punts for touchdowns last season, and he plans to address that quickly this season.
“We’re doing well on special teams and working hard to switch up the game plan and do different things to get me open holes in the punt and kickoff game,” Hardman said. “So hopefully, we can take a couple back this year and break the ice of not having any last year.”
Special teams is an area Smart places great emphasis on, to the extent of using several starters throughout their careers in blocking and coverage roles.
“We study the SEC, and we do a thing every year where we do a composite special teams ranking: punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, PAT, field goal, field goal block,” Smart said earlier this week. “Yu rank everybody in the SEC where they finished and then put it together where their average is, and I think of the years I was at Bama, maybe nine years, I think we were first or second in eight of those years, and we always played the best players on that.
“The first year I was here we were dead last in the composite, and that wasn’t all because of the coverage units or the players, but then last year we were actually first when the rankings came out, and our kids bought into it.”
The competition on the Georgia football team to “make the bus” — the 70-man travel roster for SEC games — is to the extent that players work hard and take pride in being a part of special teams.
Georgia football-Austin Peay game time, details
• Time: The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday inside Sanford Stadium
• Date: Sept. 1, 2018
• Location: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
• Weather forecast: Partly cloud with a high of 89 and a 40 percent chance of rain.
DawgNation Georgia football coverage
• Watch: Brandon Adams and Jeff Sentell on the postgame show via DawgNation Facebook page.
How to watch Georgia-Austin Peay on TV
The Georgia-Austin Peay game will be televised on ESPN. Beth Mowins is on the play-by-play call, Anthony Becht is the color analyst, and Rocky Bolman is the sideline reporter.
How to stream Georgia-Austin Peay game
The game can be streamed online at GTV on georgiadogs.com and WatchESPN
Where to find Georgia-Austin Peay on radio
The game will be broadcast on WSB 95.5 FM, 750 AM, along with other Georgia Bulldog Sport Network (IMG) radio affiliates. Scott Howard is on the play-by-play call, Eric Zeier is the color analyst, and Chuck Dowdle is the sideline reporter.
Satellite radio for Georgia football vs. Austin Peay
The game will be broadcast on Sirius channel 81 and XM channel 81.
Georgia-Austin Peay football game keys
• It’s the first-ever meeting between Georgia and Austin Peay, which is an Ohio Valley Conference school at the FCS level
• The Bulldogs are 2-0 in season-opening games under Kirby Smart and have won 18 of the past 21. The last season-opening loss was in 2013, 38-35 to Clemson.
• Austin Peay sophomore QB Jeremiah Oatsvall is the preseason OVC Offensive Player of the Year.
• Governors’ coach Will Healy is entering his third year leading the program, coming off an 8-4 season that saw him named FCS Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and OVC Coach of the Year.
• Kirby Smart enters the 2018 season as one of only nine Power 5 coaches who is head coach at his alma mater. The others are Mark Richt (Miami), Paul Chyrst (Wisconsin), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Cliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Barry Odom (Missouri), David Shaw (Stanford).
Georgia football Austin Peay game week stories