Football Atlanta - Online

Georgia Hosts Georgia Tech Shooting For 12-0 For
Second Straight Year


By Don Stone - Georgia Football Magazine and Football Atlanta

 Entering the season, the game with Georgia Tech looked like it would be another blowout. And, it still could be. After all, the average score between the two teams in the last four meetings was a 45-8 including a 45-0 shutout last season.
   In fact, UGA has beaten Tech 17 of their last 20 meetings.
   The Yellow Jacket head coach, Geoff Collins, appeared to have no clue how to improve a team that had won just 3 games each of his last three seasons. The administration agreed and canned him three games into the season.
   But, since then, interim head coach Brent Key has had an amazing turnaround getting his team to believe in themselves and climb to a 5-6 record including a surprising 21-17 win on the road last weekend at then #13 North Carolina and an earlier road win at then #24 Pitt.
  This game could be more interesting than many thought. The Ramblin' Wreck has a lot to play for with a win making them bowl eligible for the first time in years. When talking about facing the #1 team in the country, Key said "number one is just 10 points higher than number 13."
  Add to that the fact that the Bulldogs have seemed to play up or down to the level of their competition this season with lackluster wins over Kent State, Missouri and Kentucky. A win is a win. But, you would like to see more dominating performances as Georgia gets ready to face an LSU team that beat Alabama a few weeks ago. They meet next week in the SEC Championship game.
   So, will this game be close or even competitive. The Vegas oddsmakers think not giving the home team a 35 point advantage. I suspect that is accurate as long as they take their opponent seriously. Doing a better job of scoring in the red zone and taking care of the ball will go a long way. A key stat to watch for is turnovers with Tech having a plus 11 and UGA minus 2 in that department.

  Maybe it was looking past Kent State at a looming schedule of seven straight SEC games. Maybe it was thinking this game would be a mismatch. Maybe it was like Kirby Smart said that this was a really good Golden Flashes team that shouldn't be overlooked.

  Whatever the reason, the Bulldogs seemed lackluster. Its not that the outcome was ever in doubt, but, the reigning national champions seemed unable or unwilling to crank up the enthusiasm needed to put them away. It seems odd to say that a 17 point victory wasn't convincing. But, when you turn the ball over three times, its hard to run away with it.

  "We thought they were a really good football team and they proved that today," Smart said. "They're going to be tough in that conference because of the teams they've played. Their kids play with great toughness and resiliency. They hit, they strike, they don't run from contact. That's SEC football."

  SEC play begins for real next week as the Dawgs head to Columbia, Missouri to take on a 2-2 Mizzou team that just lost a last minute 17-14 overtime thriller to Auburn. Gametime is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.