Georgia hosts Georgia Tech in what should become the Four In A Row, Baby game and 17 of the last 18 in the record books. Some of those games have been close. Will this one be close? Looking back to last Saturday's 45-14 win over the triple-optioning Georgia Southern Eagles we should get some insight into how our defense will handle Tech;s triple option. Southern ran the ball 58 times and racked up 302 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns. Despite the 302 yards, Southern only reached the red zone twice. Importantly, Southern only gained 31 yards in the third quarter as Georgia got dialed in on the speed and execution of the triple option. At the end of the 3rd the score was 38-7 and the 122 yards Southern gained in the 4th quarter was an afterthought.
Surely the Dawgs have benefited from from seeing this offense run by the capable Georgia Southern offense but they certainly see a few Paul Johnson wrinkles today and a few more timely pass attempts. The key for the Dawgs will be in limiting the big plays. Tech's defense ranks 76th in the land in scoring defense and fired the defensive coordinator mid-season. This is a team that has surrendered 42, 49, 47, 41 and 50 to ACC juggernauts and Middle Tennessee State. Despite the amount of hate and determination this defense will play with today, they aren't going to hold Georgia under 40 points. They will have to decide whether they want to load up to stop the run like Southern did and then die by aerial assault from the nation's highest rated passer, Aaron Murray. If they sit back to defend the pass, Gurshall will run over and around them for a big day like 2009. Unless Tech gets out front early, Georgia will have the luxury of running a balanced attack and may choose the weapons of Tech's destruction.
I think we will see a bigger day passing than running. But it would suit me to see Gurley and Marshall each eclipse 100 yards rushing. I also hope to see another big day for the tight ends (as I always do.)
Defensively I expect to see another day of assignment, disciplined, run to the ball gang tackling. This should be a great day for the linebackers and I can't wait to watch them blow up the triple option all day!
I keep going back and forth on what I think the final score will be but I have settled on 45 - 20 with the Dawgs on top.
In other news, this is a big day for the SEC against the best teams in the ACC. Georgia is the only one favored. Florida State is favored over Florida and Clemson is favored over South Carolina. I am picking Florida to win 23-20 in OT and South Carolina to win 33-24.
Go Dawgs! GATA!