Both Georgia and Georgia Tech enter into “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate” at 7-4, and if the Bulldogs want to get that 8th win of the season, here are my five keys for topping ‘The Enemy.’
1. CONTAIN THE FULLBACK
That’s the first when it comes to the triple option, and an absolute must. When the fullback/B-back gets rolling, Tech’s triple option offense is lethal. Georgia’s defense has been strong against the run, and the Bulldogs front will have to be at its best against the Yellow Jackets or Tech will be eyeing a second straight win in Athens. Marcus Marshall, younger brother of former Bulldog Keith Marshall, is having a fine season, highlighted by a 56-yard touchdown run in the Jackets upset win at Virginia Tech.
2. GET PHYSICAL WITH THE QB
Whether it’s Justin Thomas, Matthew Jordan or both, the Bulldogs defensive front must consistently (cleanly) hit the quarterback on the option. Don’t make it an option and wear the signal caller down with “body blows.” Both are excellent runners and big threats to pull up and throw. Defensive ends and outside linebackers can get caught “in between” against the Jackets when it comes to playing the quarterback and pitch man on the option.
3. CONSISTENT AERIAL SUCCESS
Starting offensive line, Georgia’s passing game must have a big Saturday. Tech has struggled with pass defense at times this season, and for several years, which is not shocking considering they run the triple option. Makes it difficult in practice. Make no mistake, Georgia is going to have to run with big time success. But it may take the passing game to open things up, and come up with a big play or two for the Dogs to get in the end zone.
4. PUNCH IN RED ZONE OPPORTUNITIES
Red zone woes have plagued the Bulldogs this season. Georgia must cash in, when the opportunity is there, with touchdowns. Two fumbles on the one-yard line and a Yellow Jacket goal line stand cost Georgia mightily in 2014. Being unable to punch in touchdowns has proven costly against Vanderbilt and Florida, and in a couple of wins. Isaac Nauta and those elite backs could be the difference if Georgia prevails. And if Georgia doesn’t get the touchdown, then Rodrigo Blankenship and the field goal team needs to be true.
5. WANT IT MORE
A pair of bitter heart-breakers at home derailed any championship dreams, and then things didn’t go Georgia’s way in Jacksonville. But the last second win at Kentucky and tremendous triumph over Auburn got this 2016 season back on track for Georgia. Whenever the Yellow Jackets sense any “blood in the water” in Athens, they gun all out for the Bulldogs.
It will be a noon kickoff, making it tougher for the crowd to be at a fever pitch, at least early. But the team, the fans, everyone in red and black, must come in at a fever pitch, as Tech would love nothing better than to once again break Georgia’s collective hearts in Athens and pose for pictures with pieces of the hedges in their mouths and hands. The Dogs must bring the fire!