Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) plays host to Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1), on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:50 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
1. Will last season’s postgame incident affect Saturday’s game? Players and coaches from both sides were asked about last year’s postgame skirmish so much they turned to sarcasm late in the week. Asked yet again on the SEC coaches weekly teleconference if the incident would provide motivation for his team, Vandy coach James Franklin sighed, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” But he also said those event won’t put “any points on the scoreboard Saturday.” As always it will come down to strategy and execution.
2. Can defense avoid another slow start? Not only has Georgia’s defense not been as dominant as everyone expected this season, it has been decidedly soft in the early goings of each of its three games. The Bulldogs have allowed an average of 13.3 to their opponents in the first half, including 16 to Buffalo, which managed only 7 the whole game in a loss to Kent State this week/ Georgia will look to buckle down and be stingier versus the Commodores.
3. Vandy quarterbacks a quandary? Last year Jordan Rodgers had his coming-out party against Georgia. The Commodores’ quarterback came off the bench and gave the Bulldogs fits with his ability to run and pass the ball, leading a furious second-half comeback that came up short, 33-28. But, remarkably, Aaron Rodgers’ little brother last week lost his starting job to Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels. Their competition continued into this week and now it looks like both will play against on Saturday.
A win for Georgia would . . .
Give the Bulldogs their first 4-0 start since 2008 and fifth under coach Mark Richt
A win for Vanderbilt . . .
Would be the Commodores’ second in the last 18 meetings against UGA.
Matchup to watch
Vanderbilt’s special teams vs. Georgia’s special teams. The Commodores thoroughly dominated that phase of the game last year in Nashville, eked out 33-28 by Georgia. Vandy pulled off a fake punt, returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, just missed an onside kick and blocked a punt at the end of the game that gave them two shots at the end zone in the final seconds of the contest. This year, the Bulldogs are operating with a pair of true freshmen handling the kicking and punting duties and an unsettled situation on punt returns.
“This is killing me”
LB Alec Ogletree (@B_easy_uga9)
“All I got to say when next Monday come Me, @B_easy_uga9 and @brambo18 are on a mission! #realtalk”
FB Alexander Ogletree (@Non_Stop_Grind) on him, Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo coming off suspension next week.
“It’s a dog eat dog world. Me and my team feasting!”
WR Justin Scott-Wesley (@JSW_86)
Jeff Schultz predicts
The over/unders have been set at 53 points and three bench-clearing brawls. OK. Slight exaggeration. But there figures to be some carryover from last season’s chippy meeting in Nashville, when Franklin and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had to be separated after the game. But what the Commodores possess in spunk, they lack in talent, particularly on offense. No way they can keep pace. Prediction: Dogs cover 16.
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– Chip Towers, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcuga