Welcome to Georgia-Vandy 2.0

Last year's game in Nashville saw the Dawgs let their emotions get the better of them. (Associated Press)

Last year's game in Nashville saw the Dawgs let their emotions get the better of them. (Associated Press)

In past years, Georgia’s annual tilt with Vanderbilt has been regarded by fans and media as just one notch above one of the nonconference cupcakes on the schedule (a Twinkie?), elevated mainly by it being an SEC East game.

It’s been a low-key “rivalry” by any standards. Even on those rare occasions when Georgia had lost to the Commodores the previous year (only once out of the past 17 years), there wasn’t much of a build-up in terms of grudge factor and very little anticipation on the part of the Bulldog Nation. It was viewed as an aberration. “We lost to Vandy!

That’s not to say that the Vandy game has always been an easy win for Georgia. The Dores have generally played with attitude and sometimes the Dawgs have barely eked out a victory against the school from Nashville. But even when they did there was still a sense that it was only Vandy. Remember the chagrin many UGA fans expressed over seeing Bulldog players celebrating at midfield after Brandon Coutu’s last-second field goal gave Georgia a much-needed win in 2007?

Last year’s game probably should have fallen into that category. Georgia won, but thanks to an implosion on the part of the Dawgs’ special teams, the game was much closer than it should have been. Plus it was more chippy than usual thanks to the Georgia players’ irritation over cut blocks and late hits. Three players (two from Georgia, one from Vandy) wound up serving half-game suspensions from the conference for their behavior in that game.

Ah, but what what has truly elevated the Georgia-Vanderbilt series from Little Debbie status in 2012 to something resembling full-on SEC rivalry (at least for this week) is last year’s postgame on-field confrontation between voluble Vandy head coach James Franklin and fiery Georgia defensive chief Todd Grantham.

Generally, nobody looks forward to the Vanderbilt game in the offseason, but there’s been a suprising amount of fan anticipation over this one. Richt was even asked about the rematch with the Commodores at one of those spring fan gatherings!

The Georgia coach and the rest of his staff, as well has the Vandy coach, have tried to downplay the Grantham-Franklin aspect of this year’s game, though the UGA players haven’t been shy about their feelings. “We’ll be charged up,” defensive back Sanders Commings said this week. “We’re going to remember last year. Vandy’s a good team, but they’re not us. We’re going to show them.”

For their part, the Commodores likely have a bit of a chip on their shoulders about last year as well. They no doubt feel they should have won last year’s game, and they nearly did.

Of course, having the Dawgs enter a game with a bit of fire and emotion against an opponent that, on paper, isn’t their equal generally would be considered a good thing, as opposed to the taking-a-win-for-granted sleepwalking we sometimes see early on in such matches.

But what Georgia’s players have to guard against is letting their emotions get away from them, as appeared to happen last year in Nashville, when Mark Richt’s team got called for 11 penalties (including three personal fouls), allowed its focus to waver in defending the run (letting a Vandy team ranked 100th in the nation in rushing gash them repeatedly), wound up having to try for too many field goals (only making four of six attempted) and turned even punting into something resembling Russian roulette.

As Richt said after the game: “I’m thankful for the victory … but I’m disappointed in how we played overall.”

vandy logoAs we approach this year’s game with Vandy, the anticipation is that the Dores will play the Dawgs tough, at least early on, but again are outmatched. Thus, a point spread of better than two touchdowns.

Franklin has upgraded his program’s personnel, but so far still with pretty much the same results. Does it really matter whether Jordan Rodgers or Austyn Carta-Samuels starts at quarterback? Probably not much. Vandy’s running game struggled against South Carolina and Northwestern (both losses for the Dores) and then got on track last week against Presbyterian, a Football Championship Subdivision school. But in the words of Vandy’s head coach, “Doing it against Presbyterian is one thing. Doing it against Georgia is another.”

As long as Georgia doesn’t make too many mistakes (turnovers, missed defensive assignments), the game shouldn’t be as challenging as the win over Missouri. Last year against Vandy, Georgia didn’t have much of a rushing game. That shouldn’t be the case this year. And Mike Bobo’s passing attack has been pretty impressive of late.

The main thing I’ll be watching is how Georgia’s still-not-full-strength defense opens, after another slow start last week against Florida Atlantic. Perhaps the ill will generated by last year’s fracas will be enough motivation to have Georgia’s much-vaunted defenders playing up to their capabilities from the very start instead of having to rely on Grantham’s admittedly effective halftime adjustments.

If that’s the case, the Georgia-Vandy series should be back to its normal boring self next year.

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

59 comments Add your comment

DawginLex

September 20th, 2012
10:18 am

Their pass defense has been good so far. We should be able to mix it up and take advantage of a smaller line of scrimmage, our OL versus their DL

35-14 UGA

Kevin

September 20th, 2012
10:24 am

Never overlook Vandy. I seem to remember Terry Hoage batting down a pass in the end zone to preserve a UGA victory back in the day.

Russell Hall

September 20th, 2012
10:28 am

This one is between the hedges. I think that means a very different game from last year. Go Dawgs!

WDE

September 20th, 2012
10:36 am

Line up and play the game, one play at a time. Remember these guys have nothing to lose and would love to rain on our Bull Dog parade….don’t let up ! Go Dogs

GATA= Get After That @ss

September 20th, 2012
10:59 am

Love it when none players say one or game at a time..as a fan you can speculate as much as you want to, especially on a blog

Fridawg

September 20th, 2012
11:00 am

Vandy… at home… with attitude. This is gonna be fun. I’m sure we’ll be frustrated early, but I think Mr. Gurley will keep pounding the Vandy D letting the passing game open up. Go Dawgs!

Spike

September 20th, 2012
11:04 am

Let’s come out at the beginning and play like our hair is on fire and put them away early!!!! I’m looking at you defense!

Nick

September 20th, 2012
11:06 am

Everyone “making excuses” for poor defensive play thusfar with “starters missing” is a bunch of crap. The fact is, no starters were missing from the defensive line in which we have what? 900 pounds of men up there or something like that? The defensive line has been shoved around by smaller O-lines all season so far. John Jenkins has been chasing QB’s like he weights 450 pounds. I just haven’t been impressed with the D at all, other than a few great plays. Very concerned Bulldog fan, here.

UGA Insider

September 20th, 2012
11:07 am

The Vandy Oline is a disaster. The kid from Wyoming is gonna be sore Sunday morning let me tell you.

UGA 45
Vandy10

Long ago

September 20th, 2012
11:31 am

My brother in law went to Vandy and graduated in 73. His twin sis and my wife, graduated from UGA in 73, and I in 71.

We double dated in 1974 or 75 to Athens to see UGA vs Vandy, when Steve Sloan coached Vandy. They did have a real powerul offense under Sloan and they attended a bolw game or two with Coach Sloan. They usually could amass 350-400 yds per game vs ANYBODY, including a Bear Bryant coached Alabama.

UGA and Vandy went back and forth all game long and UGA finally won it and I was glad. We were hard, hard pressed that day playing the DOORS. On the way home, the car was very, very quiet, because the two Vandy folks with us felt that they were robbed of victory over UGA in Athens.

To this very day, my brother in law and his Vandy wife are miffed about that specific game.

Gooooooooooooo Dogs.

Frank Lane

September 20th, 2012
11:33 am

We should take this one easily. Maybe by around 5 touchdowns.

NCDawg

September 20th, 2012
11:57 am

If the Dawgs play with emotion this is a win. If they play down…well… we don’t want to talk about that.

On another point… did anyone watch the the last quarter and a half of the Tenn-Fl game? Did anyone else see the “whipped” look on Tyler Bray’s face? That game was over at that point. You can’t have your field leader looking like he is beaten. Dooley should have pulled him at that point. No matter how beaten up you get you can’t look DEFEATED. I was stunned. The young man has all sorts of talent but he will never be elite until he has the mental toughness to take a licking and keep on ticking. I sure hope the Dawgs pound him until he looks like that again. Hopefully earlier in the game.

Dawg Haus

September 20th, 2012
12:05 pm

If the Dawgs put together four quarters of focused football, this will be an easy win.

lanier

September 20th, 2012
12:24 pm

im looking forward to a blow out like 42-17

Old Dog Class of 80

September 20th, 2012
12:37 pm

I am just hoping that Vandy doesn’t block our punt with a little time on the clock, and intercept the ball and nearly get a touchdown to win the game. My heart can’t stand doing THAT again.

mad~catfish

September 20th, 2012
12:43 pm

ope they dont start with the chop block early and get the guys frustrated and off the game plan….vandy always plays us hard and dirty. they have always been a thorn in our side… its like every once in a while lil brother has had enough of the beatings and finally jumps up and catches ya with a lucky black eye.

Macclenny_dawg

September 20th, 2012
12:49 pm

If they don’t come in ready to play in the 1st half of this game they may never put a full game together. This staff should have the team ready to go. If we are ready to play it should be a blowout!!! GTA!!! Go Dawgs!!!

Huh?

September 20th, 2012
12:53 pm

mad-catfish…..Vandy has always played dirty? Are you serious?

I know UGA fans look at last year’s game with Vanderbilt differently than most do. You guys see it as Vandy players doing all the cheap-shotting. However, UGA had 11 penalties, and had 2 players suspsended to Vanderbilt’s 1….that was AFTER the SEC reviewed the tape. Get over it already.

Gary

September 20th, 2012
1:02 pm

I think you will see more from the defense against this team than you saw against FAU. I think Grantham was keeping a little something for the SEC run. However, reading the numbers 1 of the last 17 against UGA I began to wonder if Florida fans feel about UGA the way most Dawg fans feel about Vandy. I look at Vandy as a team that may win a game every now and then but will never dominate the series any time to come. The way we perform against Florida, they must feel the same way. I hope we can turn that around and start getting some wins back to back in Jacksonville. Not to mention put SC back where they belong. Come on D, we got some offense to shut down!!!

Saldiven

September 20th, 2012
1:07 pm

@Huh?: Keep in mind, both of those suspensions and two of the personal fouls were involving a confrontation with a Vandy offensive lineman’s late hit on a defender. That O-lineman was the Vandy player that was suspended, if I remember correctly. Mad’s point is that the UGA defense had the perception that Vandy’s offensive line was making illegal chop blocks and not getting called for it. This anger and frustration are perceived by some as being the reason for the UGA players’ lack of discipline and increased number of retaliatory penalties. Hopefully, even if Vandy does continue with the alleged chop blocks, the UGA defenders will not lose their composure and earn penalties in response.

Columbia Dawg

September 20th, 2012
1:11 pm

huh? Go to the Vandy blog. You obviously have a secret crush on James Franklin. On the UGA blog Vandy was dirty, of course we’re homers.

Gary

September 20th, 2012
1:15 pm

Huh?
I would not accuse vandy of dirty play. You are not G-Tech. But there was a clear shot at one of our players knees at the end of the game. I will be the first to admitt our players tend to run their mouths during the game but we don’t usually get called for cheap shots. Most of our penalties involve stupidity before the play even begins. (off sides, illegal formations, etc…) I would like to see our guys run their mouths less on the field. Let the score board do the talking. The UGA Vandy game has always been a clean fun rivalry game and I for one would like to keep it that way. There is enough hatred with Tech and Florida fans. Anyone who wants to complain about dirty play can just point to Tech. Their entire O line goes for the knees on every play. My advice for Georgia players would be to take one step back when they do it then take your first step on the in the square of their lower back and your second step on their foot since they are lying on the ground in front of you.

Spike 80DF

September 20th, 2012
1:23 pm

Vandy gets blown away, just hope for no injuries……getting ready for Rocky Flop

SSIgator

September 20th, 2012
1:38 pm

UGA is so full of themselves this year they will probably stomp on their own logo after the game if they win – and if they don’t win, the UGA fans will do it for them.

gordonguy1969

September 20th, 2012
1:52 pm

Gee, SSlgator, what a pithy comment. Did you think that up all by yourself? Perhaps you should leave the blogging to people who actually understand what they’re doing, and what humor is.

Old Dawg

September 20th, 2012
2:35 pm

Better D. Let Thunder and Lightning Loose.

Sink the Dores ship!

UGA Insider

September 20th, 2012
2:37 pm

Let me just tell UGA fans this……. These players have had this game circled all summer. A Vandy player tried to end the career of Jarvis Jones.

JJ will have atleast 4 sacks in this game!

UGA 45
Vandy 10

Bobo and Richt will not go ultra conservative in the 2nd half this time.

'94 UGA Alumnus

September 20th, 2012
3:10 pm

This one will be closer than a lot of you guys are predicting and I will be happy with any win no matter what the point difference.

SSIgator

September 20th, 2012
3:10 pm

gordonguy1969 -

Gee, I must have missed you when you filled in for Jay Leno.

SSIgator

September 20th, 2012
3:14 pm

gordonguy1969 -

Gee, I apologize. I guess you do know a lot about humor after watching St. Markus Rectumus and his band of clowns for the last eleven years.

jim

September 20th, 2012
3:23 pm

Doesn’t the Athens Police Department usually end most Georgia’s players careers?

bill arp

September 20th, 2012
4:43 pm

UGA-34, Vandy-27…With UGA having to have a defensive stop at the end of the game.

The game will be tight simply because of all the emotion(this seems to help the underdog), especially in the first half.

Ubob

September 20th, 2012
6:19 pm

Wow, cant believe how everyone is on the defense’s back…..get real….other than a few broken pass coverages defense has played well. Yea, I know they given up some yards on the ground. Big deal….Stops come when we need them….and the defense is adding big plays and turning momentum.
I think the D will be just fine and if the O keeps up the pace of the last game who cares if they score 14 or 20 points when we have 40 to 50…..We just need to keep jelling together as a team, get all starters back and then put it in another gear to finish out the season with the big games…..

funny....

September 20th, 2012
7:16 pm

Oh look, someone made a police/arrest joke….

not even good or original…

buzzDawg

September 20th, 2012
7:25 pm

I think UGA Insider has the right of it. The Georgia team will remember James Franklin’s war of words with Grantham (who was taking up for his player) and they’ll get some payback on the field.

Old Dog Class of 80

September 20th, 2012
7:43 pm

“Bobo and Richt will not go ultra conservative in the 2nd half this time.”

Ha! I will believe that when I see it!

Just Sayin

September 20th, 2012
8:40 pm

Pound those Dores, but keep the penalties under control. We don’t need to have players injured or suspended like in last year’s game.

DogMax

September 20th, 2012
9:06 pm

Look for richt to really run up the score this year after franklin’s act in last year’s game. Dogs will roll: 38-10!!! Dogs–on the way to the SEC championship game!!!

Strat Cat Dawg

September 20th, 2012
10:36 pm

This week I’ve noticed the national sports media starting to show respect for the Dawgs, mentioning them as one of the few teams capable of beating Bama or LSU, acknowledging Jarvis as the best player on D nationwide, and naming many of their players on lists of best at the positions. All we need to do is take care of business one week at a time and keep improving… I like our chances

Lake Dawg

September 20th, 2012
10:43 pm

Anyone know why Jarvis Jones’ stats are excluded from the individual stats on the SEC website?

MMM HMMM

September 20th, 2012
10:50 pm

PSSST UGA will lose this game. Teee Heee.

Pago Pago DAWG

September 20th, 2012
11:11 pm

BYU vs BS, didn’t see any deadlocks….didn’t see any hip-hop/slap dancing after Every play. And you think those coaches would ever leave!

Fair n Balanced

September 20th, 2012
11:29 pm

Richt said we would be ready……we better be. I don’t think we were really ready for any of the other games. These slow starts by the D is worrisome.

Huh?

September 20th, 2012
11:51 pm

Saldiven…do you not ever see the cheap shots that UGA players deliver? Did you not see Un-Boykin’s cheap shot last year in the TN game?…funny how UGA fans only remember the cheap-shots against UGA players…but when a UGA player does it, you guys don’t even mention it

Smitty

September 21st, 2012
12:09 am

HUH…..What……..do you want a big ass woop ass

Smitty

September 21st, 2012
12:11 am

Come on man…….

Smitty

September 21st, 2012
12:12 am

Wimp……what I thought….

Smitty

September 21st, 2012
12:14 am

HMMMMM….you got some money you want to lose????????

Huh?

September 21st, 2012
12:55 am

Smitty…what are you talking about? I have never even commented on anything you have said…but keep it classy though…keep it classy.

AlexSmithDawg

September 21st, 2012
1:27 am

Huh: There is a Tech blog but all are asleep! Dawgs take care of Vandy!

LKB

September 21st, 2012
7:27 am

UGA will have 40 plus on Vandy. Mark it down. It will be a little revenge for last year. Yes revenge since I think the players are a little embarrased they wasted away a 16 point lead. Will not happen this year.

I-DOG

September 21st, 2012
9:10 am

Some posters are thinking we are going to line up and run it with our three tailbacks and bigger offensive line. That would make sense, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see us run the ball 40 times with our tailbacks, but I don’t think it will happen.

I believe you will see a lot of 3 WR sets and a think pass first offense. I think we will keep doing that until we lose with it.

ARdawg

September 21st, 2012
9:35 am

I DOG
Probably so. But, the think pass first offense keeps the opposing defense softened up for a successful running game. Georgia seems to be developing to a quick strike offense which also decreases the number of totes in the backfield. Whatever it takes to win but I do enjoy watching balance

I bought my UGA gear at WalMart

September 21st, 2012
9:37 am

Gee, SSigator, how did you get your head in there in the first place? Do you go around like that all the time or just when you are on a UGA blog site? That must be tough on your spinal column

BMOC

September 21st, 2012
9:38 am

I’d be surrprised it this game isn’t close up until halftime. Vandy’s a scrapy team – they gave South Carolina all they could handle 3 weeks ago. If Georgia makes mistakes early, i.e. pentalties, over-throwing receivers, etc, etc, it will be TOO close for comfort. I think that the second half will be the separation point though.

I bought my UGA gear at WalMart

September 21st, 2012
9:40 am

I look for an old fashioned beat down of the Dores this time. I hope everyone is back for this game.

ARdawg

September 21st, 2012
10:29 am

Murray is the lynch pin. If he is on, this game gets ugly for the Dores quick. If he isn’t, it’ll be ugly to watch but still a win

Dawg Tired

September 21st, 2012
10:33 am

We sure could use the Kent State Golden Flashes’ D this week. They basically (one fluke TD on a Hail Mary at end of first 1/2) shut out the Mighty Bulls of Suny-Buffalo on the Mighty Bulls’ home field (I think that’s in Buffalo).

just saying

September 21st, 2012
11:23 am

Nice article. Hope it is a good and CLEAN game. Hope no one gets hurt. I imagine that UGA will win by a lot. Just want to say a few things though. I was proud of Franklin for a few things- the Vandy player with the illegal block was kicked off the team, he publlicaly stated he regretted the after game thing and wished it had been handled differently, and there was a one time issue with a Vandy player saying stuff to UGA sidelines and FRanklin immediately grabbed him off thefield to stop. I was also pleased with Richt after the 2007 Star-V stomp; he handled it instantly and apologized and no Vandy fan was mad (wonder how UGA would feel if their field was stomped?). Which is why Vandy fans had wished the Richt had done something or said something later about what was going on on the Vandy sidelines during TV timeouts. Repeatedly! Most horrible things I have ever seen- still couldn’t believe my eyes – why couldnt Richt have stopped it? I’m sure the post game thing would never have happened.(btw, credit Andy coaches and players for not crossing the sideline) The way some UGA fans are posting at other sites, Vandy is responsible for everything. Both teams contributed to the probem. I really am concerned about the safety of Vandy fans at the game. Please, I hope everyone calms down.