In the wise words of the legendary Bulldog radio announcer, Larry Munson, “We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose; we just crushed their face.” The Dawgs went into Neyland Stadium, one of the most hostile environments in the entire country, and dismantled a good Tennessee football team. Unlike a year ago, this game didn’t warrant the same amount of hype and media attention as it did when the Volunteers overtook the Bulldogs as the top-ranked team in the country. The two rivals faced off in a battle of undefeated teams, with the winner essentially clinching the SEC East and a ticket to Atlanta, and as we all know, Stetson Bennett and the Georgia Bulldogs prevailed gloriously on their way to a second national championship.
This season, Tennessee ended any hopes of making it back to Atlanta when the Volunteers were slaughtered in Columbia, Missouri just a week prior to the Dawgs coming into town. Questions were asked, and rightfully so, about the mindset and mentality of Tennessee football, having any hope of a conference championship out the window. The Bulldogs were also in an interesting position, having clinched a ticket to Atlanta for the SEC Championship. The Dawgs, theoretically, could have lost the game against Tennessee, but with victories over Georgia Tech and Alabama, there was still a high probability they would be in the College Football Playoff as a one-loss conference champion. Kirby Smart was transparent that the Bulldogs had a disappointing week of practice, and complacency seemed to be the Dawgs’ biggest threat.
Once Georgia took the field, any doubts were cast aside. Take away the first play of the game, and the Dawgs ended the contest with a 38-3 run. This Georgia offense continues to make its case that they are the best offensive unit in America, having yet another dominant performance. Through the air, Carson Beck did what he’s done all season: throw for over 250 yards and account for three touchdowns. His performances for this Georgia offense have been astounding, and his consistency allows Mike Bobo to call seemingly perfect games.
One thing Coach Kirby Smart always references is winning collectively. The Bulldogs had multiple players, particularly receivers, pick up injuries requiring others to step up. Dillion Bell and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, two of the hardest working and most respected Bulldogs, did just that, accounting for three touchdowns, keeping the Dawgs’ passing game churning with no drop-off in production.
On the defensive side of the ball, Georgia was dominant yet again. Coach Smart touched on the difficulties of defending Tennessee’s offense, admitting that it is one of the toughest to prepare for. The Volunteers spread their receivers out on the sideline, effectively opening up the entire field for both the pass and run game. This required the Bulldog front seven to win their battles in order to defend the run, and in the passing game, Georgia’s defensive backs have to play one-on-one man coverage. After Jaylen Wright’s 75-yard touchdown, the Georgia defense allowed just 55 yards rushing to the Volunteers. Through the air, Milton struggled to gain any momentum all game, ending the matchup with only 147 passing.
As the Dawgs wrapped up SEC play undefeated for the third time in three years, they turn their attention to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, where they will travel to Atlanta to compete in “Clean, Old Fashion Hate.” Tech comes into the game 6-5, having shown improvement in the first full season of Brent Key.
Due to Georgia’s dominance and Tech’s irrelevance, this historic rivalry tends to get lost in the media coverage, especially when the Bulldogs have a championship to play for in two weeks. Make no mistake; Coach Kirby Smart despises Georgia Tech and understands that they have a team capable of causing trouble, having already pulled off multiple upsets this season.
The Dawgs, for the first time since 2013, will face Tech at a time other than noon. Georgia will be under the lights in the national spotlight as they take on the Yellow Jackets in Bobby-Dodd. The Bulldogs have an opportunity to go undefeated during the regular season for the third consecutive season, and with Georgia Tech standing in their way, expect Georgia to understand the significance of the rivalry and perform accordingly.