ATHENS — Say this for Georgia’s trip to Jacksonville to play Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl — at least the Bulldogs will know where to go and what to do.
For Georgia’s seniors, it is their sixth trip to play a game at EverBank Field in the last four years. Make that seven for the fifth-year guys.
“Yeah, it does seem like I’ve played on that field a lot,” senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “It does have kind of a home-field vibe to it. It definitely doesn’t feel like an away game.”
Georgia plays Florida in Jacksonville every year in their regular-season rivalry, known as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” The Bulldogs (9-3) also played Nebraska in the TaxSlayer.com/Gator Bowl two years ago.
Georgia has gone 3-3 in those games over the last four years, dropping the last three. The Bulldogs lost to the Gators 27-3 this season and 38-20 in 2014 and also lost to Nebraska 24-19 to end the 2013 season.
It’s an extremely familiar trip for seniors John and Nathan Theus. The brothers hail from Jacksonville and have been to every Georgia-Florida for at least seven years running.
“I’m glad we’re going to Jacksonville,” said John Theus, somewhat unconvincingly. “Where’s the national championship? That’s where I’d rather be. But, no, I’ve heard they’re changing some things up this year, doing some new stuff, so I think it will be a different experience.
“It’s a 35-minute drive from my house to where we’re staying out at the beach. So I’ll be able to pocket a few bucks from gas money.”
The Bulldogs do have some positive memories to draw on. Jenkins said Georgia’s 2012 game against Florida remains one of his favorite memories from college football.
“One of my favorite memories would have to be my freshman year watching Malcolm (Mitchell) score that touchdown to give us the lead,” said Jenkins, a three-year starter at outside linebacker. “And then watching Jarvis (Jones) get that strip from Jordan Reed right on the goal line. I was on the sideline then, but that was just an emotional feeling. I didn’t know if we were going to win or lose that game. I was 18 years old at the time and I was excited, jumping into the crowd, celebrating with my parents. It was just an awesome feeling on that field.”
Georgia can only hope for more of the same.