It’s another lather, rinse, repeat story today, isn’t it? Another opponent over-matched on paper that embarrassed the Dawgs at home the last time they faced off in Athens sounds a lot like the Tennessee meeting.
A piece of paper is taped to the window panes of Georgia’s weight room.
“2016: ‘Embarrassment in Sanford!,’ ” it reads, along with a photo of former Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham making a tackle. Cunningham had the game’s key tackle as Georgia was stopped on a fourth-down toss sweep play and lost to the Commodores 17-16 after a noon kickoff.
It was one of five losses in Georgia’s first season under head coach Kirby Smart. The wins were close, but the losses were aplenty, and this loss to a would-be 6-6 Vanderbilt team was one of the most scathing.
Sanford Stadium was lifeless, shocked and dejected as a subdued crowd watched Georgia lose to Vanderbilt — the second-to-last team in the SEC East that season.
You know, for a guy who claims he doesn’t use stuff like that for motivational purposes during the week leading up to a game, Kirby sure doesn’t seem to know what’s going on in the weight room. But I digress.
On paper, it’s not pretty if you’re Vanderbilt.
2018 NCAA RANKINGS
Georgia 83rd Rush Yds Game 16th 72nd Rush TD 27th 45th Rush Avg 9th 52nd Pass Yd Game 79th 63rd Pass Yd Att 10th 65th Pass Rating 6th 60th Pass Completion 2nd 60th Pass Int Percent 41st 72nd Pass Int 33rd 60th Pass TD 37th
The Commodores are also giving up close to a yard more per play on defense than Georgia has.
Common opponents? Georgia beat Middle Tennessee by a wider margin and crushed a South Carolina team that handled Vandy in Nashville.
Momentum? Vanderbilt’s lost two of its last three, the only win being a narrow squeaker over Tennessee State. The worst we can say about Georgia is that the 5-0 Dawgs haven’t been winning big enough to suit some observers. (Hey, they can become bowl-eligible with a win today!)
So, yeah, that whole paper thing isn’t a good look for the visitors. But it usually isn’t and, as already noted, that didn’t prevent them from leaving town with a W the last time they were here. Here’s Kirby’s mea culpa for that:
“The guys were tired and physically beat-up because it was after the South Carolina Sunday game (after Hurricane Matthew). A lot of those guys didn’t get recovery, and we tried to practice that Monday, which was probably an error on my part, but we don’t look backwards right now.”
They may not look backwards, but I would be shocked if Smart didn’t learn from the experience. Whatever else may transpire, I doubt this team will look the same way tonight. Barring a turnover barrage, I think Georgia covers.
Your thoughts and observations, as always, are welcomed in the comments. I’ll be heading up to Athens in a few minutes, so enjoy the rest of the day. It’s another college football Saturday, so, really, how bad could it be?