ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart didn’t bury the lede at his Monday press conference.

“We got a helluva challenge,” Smart said, introducing Ole Miss as the threat they will be in the 7 p.m. game Saturday night in Sanford Stadium.

“We got a great atmosphere. We need it to be as great an atmosphere in Sanford Stadium as it’s ever been to help take care of our home field advantage that we need to have.”

It’s also Senior Night for the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs, but Georgia’s mission to clinch the SEC East Division and remain unbeaten trumps all individual goals and moments.

As Smart pointed out, some of the seniors he’ll be hugging this year he also hugged last year, as it’s still difficult to identify seniors with the 2020 “Covid Year” not counting against eligibility.

The much bigger emotions to keep in check involve those that come from the game itself, with Ole Miss one of the most explosive offenses and aggressive defenses in college football.

Smart is hoping the Sanford Stadium crowd can rise to the occasion as it did in a historic battle of No. 1 teams last season.

“The Tennessee game was probably the most impactful since I’ve been here,” Smart said of a crowd that triggered six false starts and disrupted the Vols’ ability to communicate plays at the line of scrimmage.

“I do think that we need that same impact for this game in terms of the way they go about things and how you can affect the game.”

The Georgia home crowd did not appear or sound like a factor in the Bulldogs’ 30-21 win over Missouri, as the Tigers had just two motion penalties and coach Eli Drinkwitz indicated the crowd didn’t factor into either.

Here are three key takeaways from Smart’s press conference on Monday as he discussed the showdown against Lane Kiffin’s No. 10-ranked team.

Kiffin QB Personality

Smart said Kiffin’s quarterbacks take on personality from him and are noted for moxie, and dual-threat QB Jaxson Dart is no exception.

“They play with reckless abandon for their body, and (Dart) runs like a running back,” Smart said. “It’s the extra element of run that gives them a competitive advantage over a lot of teams you play, because they have great backs, but (Dart) runs the ball like a back, and he throws the ball really well, too.

“That’s what makes him really hard to defend when you got a guy that can make all the throws, but can also take off and run, and he’s proven the ability to do that.”

Kiffin rivalry?

Kiffin’s relationship with Smart will be overplayed throughout the week, as it’s well-known the two were on Nick Saban’s staff together in 2014-15 before Smart moved on to take the Georgia head coaching job before the 2016 season.

Smart said a win over Kiffin wouldn’t mean any more than any other SEC win.

“I mean, we’re not going to built it up to be something it’s not,” Smart said. “Every win in the SEC is critical….. They’re in the hunt for the West. They’re in the hunt or playoffs. They’re in the hunt for all the goals and aspirations they have.

“So, it’s not about he and I. It’s really about the players and the guys that got to go out on the field and make plays.”

Innovation return

Smart stopped short of ruling middle linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson completely out, but he was understandably intentionally vague as to the extent of what he said last Saturday was a fractured forearm.

“Still not sure how long it’ll be, how long his absence will be,” Smart said. “He’s going to try to find some innovative ways to get back and be able to play but won’t know the extent of that until a couple more days.

RELATED: Smart updates Georgia injury situation for Ole Miss

“But really excited to see those other guys get opportunities.”

Raylen Wilson and CJ Allen appear to be next up at Dumas-Johnson’s position, but Smart pointed out UGA rotates several players in the linebacker corps and could get a lift from the return of Xavian Sorey.