Hard to fathom that it’s Bulldogs vs. Jackets time already.
At the beginning of each year, you wait, anticipate and count down the months and days until a new University of Georgia football season arrives and over those eight months from January to early September, it seems like well, forever, before the guys in red jerseys and silver britches run out between the hedges for the opening kickoff.
And then, once the new season is underway, it all seems to go by in a flash. Can it indeed be that long ago when the Bulldogs and Tar Heels lined up in the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game? But yes, it was Sept. 3, nearly three months ago when the Bulldogs handed new head coach Kirby Smart his first victory at UGA with a 33-24 spanking of North Carolina.
Now, here we are on Nov. 26 in Sanford Stadium for the regular season finale between the old state rivals, Georgia and Georgia Tech. And hardly ever, in the long history of this storied “Clean Old Fashioned Hate” series has a game looked more even than does today’s 12 noon matchup.
Both the Dawgs and Jackets enter the battle with identical 7-4 season worksheets. Both have had their extreme ups and downs this fall … playing very good football in certain games and playing very poor football in other games.
Big question for Georgia, I would think, is can Smart whip the hated Jackets in his first year in Athens? Can the former Bulldog player and ex-Alabama defensive coordinator, with the help of Mel Tucker and Brian VanGorder, have success slowing down Paul Johnson’s patented triple-option offense in the manner that Mark Richt did for 13 out of 15 years in his mastery of Georgia Tech?
Going to be interesting because the Yellow Jackets, knowing they came here and defeated the Bulldogs in 2008 and 2014, will undoubtedly buzz between the hedges this afternoon sporting quite a bit of confidence that they can do likewise in 2016.
Don’t think it’s any secret that the keys to this game for Georgia are twofold: (1) Get the Jackets’ potent running game (9th in the nation at 260 yards per game) into second and long, third and long situations and maybe make Tech put the ball in the air, and (2) Have a balanced offensive attack yourselves, getting strong production both from Chubb and Michel in the run game and also having a big passing day from Jacob Eason.
All this week, the Bulldogs have been reminded of the Yellow Jackets’ stinging 30-24 overtime win (fueled by the infamous UGA squib kick) here two years ago and the Tech players subsequently running all over the field and tearing away parts of the hedges; thus, the Bulldogs should be pumped to not let the Ramblin’ Wrecks duplicate that happening again today.
Enough said, make it Georgia 28, Georgia Tech 21 as the Bulldogs cap the regular slate at 8-4 and thus improve their bowl destination a bit.
And, as always, Go Dawgs!!