ATLANTA, Ga — It’s Saturday in Atlanta and it is time for some clean, old fashioned hate as the Georgia Bullodgs take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium
The Bulldogs (9-2) enter this game on a nine-game winning streak and have already clinched a berth in the SEC Championship game next a week from today in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets (8-3) began the season 6-0, but lost three of their next four games before beating Duke last Saturday.
A year ago, the Bulldogs came out with a 42-34 victory. The Jackets held the ball for more than 38 minutes, gained over 500 yards of total offense (411 rushing yards), and had 32 first downs.
The problem. Four turnovers.
And that’s the thing about the triple option offense. Even on a bad day, you will rush for 250 yards, but turning over the ball will hurt you and cost you the game.
For Georgia to win, it’s simple. Play assignment football. Whether it is the nose reading the dive, the linebacker reading the quarterback, or the defensive back with the pitch. Every single defender needs to play his assignment every single play.
But chances are, that won’t happen, because players make mistakes and Georgia Tech will be able to move the ball.
Or will they?
The biggest difference between last years game and this one. Jarvis Jones, Jon Jenkins, Kwame Geathers and Alec Ogletree (at inside linebacker).
Geathers and Jenkins have the size to maintain their ground and not allow Georgia Tech’s linemen to get the linebackers.
Jones is an absolute beast. His speed, size and talent is NFL-ready, right now. (Even though he says he isn’t and Richt says he still has room to grow)
Ogletree, along with the other inside linebackers (Christian Robinson and Michael Gilliard) have the size
The biggest advantage Georgia has in today’s game isn’t necessarily the talent of the starters, but the overall depth at every position.
When Alex Ogletree and Christian Robinson went down early in the season, many Bulldog fans panicked. But their injuries allowed other players to step up, and Michael Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera did.
As for the Georgia offense, it also comes down to the running game. Isaiah Crowell should be able to play, but how effective he will be and how many snaps he will take will be determined this afternoon.
Carlton Thomas will return from a(nother) one-game suspension and should get a fair number of carries, in addition to Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton.
As for the quarterback, Aaron Murray has to have a better game than he did against Kentucky. The sophomore quarterback seemed out of rhythm with his receivers.
Georgia has won nine straight games, and the defense under Todd Grantham is playing as well as it ever has.
The nation’s second best rushing attack meets the nation’s second best rushing defense in what should be a great matchup. Something has to give and whoever wins that battle will win the game.
That unit will be Grantham’s 3-4 scheme. His defense has a certain swagger to it that will result in a couple of personal foul penalties, but it also will contain the triple option attack.
Even though it’s easy to look ahead to another game in Atlanta next Saturday, the Bulldogs are the better team in Atlanta today.
Dawgs win 31-17 and will enter the SEC Championship game on a 10 game winning streak.
For live updates and analysis of today’ s game, follow me on Twitter @Mike_Reiter