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Latest from Tim Bryant

    We are on the eve of the final home football game of the Georgia Bulldog season: the seventh-ranked Dogs host the Kentucky Wildcats in tomorrow’s SEC finale. Kickoff for UGA Senior Day is set for 3:30 in Sanford Stadium, with national television on CBS.   The senior ceremony will begin at 3:16 p.m. ET at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff for the Bulldogs’ final home game of the season is set for 3:30 p.m., with the contest nationally televised on the CBS.  The 31 seniors to be recognized are John Atkins, DL, Thomson, Ga.; Davin Bellamy, LB, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Jeb Blazevich, TE, Charlotte, N.C.; Aulden Bynum, OL, Valdosta, Ga.; Lorenzo Carter, LB, Norcross, Ga.; Reggie Carter, LB, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Nick Chubb, RB, Cedartown, Ga.; John Courson, LS, Athens, Ga.; Aaron Davis, DB, Locust Grove, Ga.; Jordan Davis, TE, Thomson, Ga.; Alex Essex, DL, Richmond, Va.; Turner Fortin, RB, Johns Creek, Ga.; Trent Frix, LS, Calhoun, Ga.; Jacob Gross, RB, Thomaston, Ga.; Carson Hall, OL, Dallas, Ga.; Daniel Harper, LB, Atlanta, Ga.; Matthew Herzwurm, LS, Augusta, Ga.; Tim Hill, DB, Atlanta, Ga.; David Marvin, K, Charlotte, N.C.; Miles McGinty, TE, Savannah, Ga.; Sony Michel, RB, Hollywood, Fla.; Cameron Nizialek, P, Chantilly, Va.; Malkom Parrish, DB, Quitman, Ga.; Christian Payne, RB, Athens, Ga.; Brice Ramsey, QB, Kingsland, Ga.; Dominick Sanders, DB, Tucker, Ga.; Dyshon Sims, OL, Valdosta, Ga.;Thomas Swilley, OL, Athens, Ga.; Shakenneth Williams, WR, Macon, Ga.; Javon Wims, WR, Miami, Fla.; Isaiah Wynn, OL, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs tumble to number seven in the latest college football playoff rankings. The previously top-ranked Dogs lost this past Saturday at Auburn; they are gearing up for this coming Saturday’s home finale, a 3:30 kickoff against the Kentucky Wildcats. This week’s top four playoff teams are Alabama, Clemson, Miami, and Oklahoma.  Former Georgia coach Mark Richt leads undefeated Miami.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs hold on to the top spot in the college football playoff rankings: it’s the second week in a row for the Dogs, with Alabama, Notre Dame, and Clemson rounding out the top four. The Bulldogs play the Auburn Tigers this coming Saturday at Auburn: 3:30 kickoff, television on CBS.  The Tigers are ranked 10th in the playoff poll. There was more movement in the bottom half of the playoff top 10, with one-loss TCU climbing to No. 6, undefeated Miami to No. 7 and undefeated Wisconsin to No. 8.
  • The first college football playoff rankings come out today, and the second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs figure to be among the top four teams. It’s those top four who will complete in the college football playoffs at the end of the season. The season continues for the Bulldogs with a Saturday home game against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The ninth game of the year kicks off at 3:30 in Sanford Stadium.  We will have to wait until this coming Sunday to learn the kick time for the Georgia Bulldogs November 11 football game at Auburn. It will either be a 3:30 game on CBS or a 7 o’clock game on ESPN.  Athens-Clarke County Police are dealing with what has become something of a dubious tradition, investigating reports of home break-ins and burglaries committed while football fans are away for the annual Georgia-Florida football game, a game that Bulldogs won 42-7. 
  • Today begins Homecoming Week at the University of Georgia. Activities that begin with this morning’s Bulldog Bash at the Tate Student Center will culminate with Saturday night’s Homecoming football game against Missouri. The game kicks off at 7:30 in Sanford Stadium.    The Georgia Bulldogs climb from 5th to 4th in the latest Associated Press college football rankings: this, after this weekend’s win at Vanderbilt. Up next: this Saturday night’s Homecoming game against the Missouri Tigers. 
  • Four players and coaches with ties to the University of Georgia will be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies set for next February: former Bulldog football player Champ Bailey, men’s golf coach Chris Haack, former women’s golfer Terri Moody Hancock, and swimming and track letterman Tom Cousins are part of a class that will also include Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.  From the UGA Sports Information Office... Four athletes and coaches with ties to the University of Georgia highlight the Class of 2018 for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.   Football standout Champ Bailey, swimming and track letterman and philanthropist Tom Cousins, current men’s golf coach Chris Haack, and women’s golf star Terri Moody Hancock were among those chosen by the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame’s Honors Court.   The additional members of the Class of 2018 are Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank, Lombardi and Outland award winner and longtime collegiate coach Tracy Rocker, Olympic gold medal sprinter Angelo Taylor and basketball standout Kenny “Sky” Walker.   The official induction will take place Saturday, Feb. 4, 2018, at the Macon City Auditorium. Tickets and sponsorships for the induction ceremony are available by calling (478) 752-1585.   Bailey, one of the most versatile players in Georgia history, starred for the Bulldogs from 1996-98. He was a consensus All-American in 1998 as he logged snaps at cornerback and receiver and on returns. Bailey won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defender in 1998. He also was a member of the track and field team and set a school indoor long jump record at the 1998 SEC Championship. Bailey continued his success in the NFL as a 12-time Pro Bowl performer for the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s.   A Georgia swimming letterman in 1950 and 1951 and a member of the 1950 SEC track and field championship squad, Cousins is a real estate developer who brought the Hawks (NBA) and the Flames (NHL) to Atlanta and later spearheaded the revitalization of East Lake Golf Club, the current home of the PGA Tour Championship. The Cousins Foundation has been a generous benefactor to UGA and the Athletic Association, including gifts to endow the head coach positions for baseball and swimming and diving.   Haack is in his 22nd season as the Bulldogs’ head coach for golf. He has guided Georgia to a school-record 60 tournament titles, including two national and eight SEC championships. Haack is a 2-time National and a 5-time SEC Coach of the Year. He has produced 60 All-Americans, many of whom currently are starring on the PGA Tour. Haack previously was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America and the Georgia State Golf Association halls of fame.    Moody Hancock was the first female to receive a full athletic scholarship to Georgia. A two-time All-American, she was named 1981 National Golfer of the Year after she captured medalist honors at the AIAW National Championships that spring -- becoming the first UGA female student-athlete to claim a national title -- and leading Georgia to a runner-up finish. She finished her career with four individual titles and 12 team crowns. Moody Hancock is a member of UGA’s Circle of Honor and Women’s Golf Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs begin the week as a top-five team, checking in at number five in the latest Associated Press college football poll. The Dogs, coming off their big win at Tennessee, will travel to Vanderbilt this coming Saturday. That game will kick off at noon and will be televised on ESPN. Georgia is the second highest ranked SEC team in the poll behind Alabama. The Bulldogs demolished Tennessee from start to finish on Saturday in a game they were expected to win. Nick Chubb finished with 109 yards on the ground in a game which was never in doubt. Georgia finished with 294 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs will stay on the road next week as they head to Nashville to play Vanderbilt and try to improve to 6-0. They then get Mizzou at home, and the next true test for the Bulldogs should be Oct. 28 in Jacksonville against Florida.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are back in Athens: they will practice this week at the University of Georgia’s basketball practice facility, their fifth straight preseason of workouts at UGA.  The Georgia Basketball practice facility is one of the nation’s largest practice, a 120,000-square-foot, $30-million structure that opened in 2007. The Hawks will have access to both of the adjacent practice gyms of the Georgia men's and women's basketball programs, as well as other athletic training and weight room facilities.   “I can’t imagine having camp anywhere else than the University of Georgia,” Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer (pictured) said. “The facilities just fit with what we’re looking for. Between the men’s gym and the women’s gym we can create a little separation, have a lot of energy and get everything we want to get done.”   The Hawks have opened training camp in Athens each season since Budenholzer, the 2015 NBA Coach of the Year, became the team’s head coach in 2013.    The Hawks have reached the NBA Playoffs during each of Budenholzer’s first four seasons in Atlanta, including a franchise-record 60 victories in 2015 when the team advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. In fact, the Hawks have made the Playoffs for 10 straight seasons, the longest active streak in the Eastern Conference.   All practices in Athens are closed to the public.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs, after a convincing 31-3 win over then-Number 17 Mississippi State, climb four spots in the latest Associated Press football poll, checking in this week at 7. The Bulldogs, now 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference, continue SEC play this weekend, when they travel to Knoxville for 3:30 Saturday kickoff against the Tennessee Volunteers.  Alabama remained No. 1 and won back some of the support it lost last week to No. 2 Clemson. The Crimson Tide received 52 first-place votes Sunday, up seven from last week, after beating Vanderbilt 59-0 on Saturday. Clemson received eight first-place votes, down seven from last week, after taking more than three quarters to pull away from Boston College. No. 3 Oklahoma got the remaining first-place vote. Penn State held at No. 4. Southern California was No. 5, followed by Pac-12 rival Washington. Georgia followed Michigan, TCU and Wisconsin rounded out the top 10. POLL POINTS OUT What a strange start to the season for Florida State, which had a streak of 105 straight poll appearances snapped. The Seminoles were No. 3 in the preseason poll, lost to Alabama in a marquee opener and lost quarterback Deondre Francois to a season-ending injury in that game, too. Then Florida State's season was put on hold for two weeks because of Hurricane Irma. That cost the 'Noles what figured to be a good game against Louisiana-Monroe to break in freshman quarterback James Blackman, and delayed its game against Miami. Finally back on the field against North Carolina State, the Seminoles lost 27-21 to drop to 0-2 for the first time since 1989. Florida State also became the first team to start the season ranked in the top three of the AP poll and begin its season with two losses since 1984, when No. 3 Pitt began 0-4 and finished 3-7-1. — Oregon dropped out after one week ranked, following a 37-35 loss at Arizona State. STREAKS The current longest streaks of consecutive poll appearances. 168 — Alabama. Last time unranked was final poll of 2007 season. 103 — Ohio State. Last time unranked was final poll of 2011 season. 55 — Clemson. Last time unranked was Nov. 16, 2014. IN Welcome back, No. 22 Notre Dame and No. 23 West Virginia. The Fighting Irish had a one-week stint in the poll earlier this month and the Mountaineers are back after being in the preseason poll. UP — No. 9 TCU jumped seven spots after one of Saturday's most impressive victories, 44-31 at Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs won 44-31 in Stillwater for the first time since they joined the Big 12 in 2012. — No. 7 Georgia moved up four places after routing Mississippi State 31-3. DOWN — No. 11 Ohio State was nudged out of the top 10 when Georgia and TCU moved in, snapping the Buckeyes streak of 42 straight polls ranked in the top 10. — No. 15 Oklahoma State dropped nine places after its first loss of the season CONFERENCE CALL SEC — 6 Big 12 — 4 Pac 12 — 4 Big Ten — 4 ACC — 4 American — 1 Mountain West — 1 Independent — 1 RANKED vs. RANKED No. 2 Clemson at No. 12 Virginia Tech. The Tigers make their first trip to Lane Stadium since 2011. No. 5 USC at No. 16 Washington State, Friday. Pullman, Washington, for a short-week road game. What could possibly go wrong for the Trojans? No. 24 Mississippi State at No. 14 Auburn. Third straight ranked opponent for the Bulldogs. So far, 1-1.
  • This coming Saturday night Georgia Bulldog football game will be a Top 25 matchup. The Georgia Dogs host the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference opener for the home team. Georgia is ranked 11th in this week's AP poll; Mississippi State is 17th. Both teams are undefeated. The game kicks at 7 o'clock in Sanford Stadium. The game against Mississippi State will be the second time this season the Georgia Bulldogs will have faced a ranked opponent: the Dogs beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish September 9 in South Bend.  The Bulldogs are coming off a 42-14 win over FCS Samford this past Saturday night. Jay Black wrote about that game for WSB Radio... Alright it was a laugher, it should have been a laugher, it was a laugher. But this is nothing to joke about. The 2017 Georgia Bulldogs have a lot of running backs. A lot of good running backs. Yes this school likes to pride itself as Tailback U. You certainly got to watch a lot of good tailbacks tonight. We didn’t exactly learn a whole lot on this Saturday. Samford didn’t pull off a Nicholls State type-scare and UGA wins 42-14. Wahoo. But we did learn, or confirm, this should and will be a running football team. No matter who is playing quarterback. “That’s one of our depth spots,” Kirby Smart told the UGA Radio Network after the game. “We got a lot of guys who can play.” Yeah no kidding. Let’s start with the bell cow climbing up the UGA record books. Nick Chubb rushes for 131 yards on 16 carries and shows the patience and the vision that’s made him the second leading rusher in school history. Now he’s also second by himself with 19 100-yard games. He trails only Herschel Walker. That’s not bad. Chubb also passed the legendary Charley Trippi to move into a tie for fourth in UGA history with 33 career TD runs. To wedge yourself between Walker and Trippi on any list is a good night. Imagine what could have happened if he didn’t blow out his knee on that sad excuse for grass they call a field in Tennessee? Does Nick Chubb pass Herschel? Probably not, because those stats are still silly good, but it would have been fun to watch. Speaking of injuries, Chubb’s understudy didn’t even play tonight. Sony Michel has a bad ankle. Even if it’s five percent hurt, there was no reason to play tonight. There’s plenty of reinforcements. For example, the freshman. “What a special talent D’Andre Swift is,” said Smart. Uh huh. Kirby was kind of complaining on our air last week that this kid wasn’t getting the ball enough. He got a few chances to show off tonight. Swift had nine carries for 54 yards and a 10 yard catch. Oh yeah, and that touchdown. “You’ve got to see that one on replay tonight,” said UGA analyst Eric Zeier. Swift hit the Circle Button, dropped a beautiful spin move and zoom, into the end zone for his first career TD. He sort of reminds me of Sony Michel when he was a freshman, but I think he might be (gulp) swifter than Sony. The kid can fly. That’s your third string running back folks. But UGA goes five deep. “I still don’t think we’ve seen the best of Brian Herrien,” said Smart. “We see it everyday in practice, but he hasn’t had a chance to show off his skills.” Herrien also got five yards per touch tonight. Walking away with 45 yards on nine carries. He’s smaller, won’t run a lot of people over, but in the last two years, we’ve seen flashes of a guy who deserves more than fourth string. And that goes double for the fifth-stringer, Elijah Holyfield. He was a 4-star recruit and the guy many thought would step in and be the man after Chubb and Michel. He finally got eight carries tonight and only had 28 yards behind the second-string offensive line. But we saw on the kick return that got called back against Notre Dame, that Evander’s son can still be a weapon. Credit to Jim Chaney for finding ways to get all of these guys touches in the early going. Even if it means Holyfield returns kicks, they are all involved. “They run hard, they protect the ball, they protect the ball,” said Smart. “I was proud of the toughness they ran with tonight. They deserve that opportunity.” UGA still has plenty of questions and they weren’t going to be answered tonight. I still don’t know what to make of this offensive line and Jake Fromm is still a freshman. But this team can play defense and it can run the rock. That recipe generally works. Now we find out for real what Kirby has in year two. SEC play begins and the real football starts now.
  • Tim  Bryant

    News Director

    Tim Bryant is News Director for Cox Media Group Athens and also works as an anchor and reporter for WSB Radio in Atlanta. Previous stops on the dial include Augusta and Tallahassee. Tim has reported for ABC, CBS, and the Associated Press, and has provided guest commentary and analysis on stations across the US, the U.K., and New Zealand. Tim hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens. 

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Latest Bulldog News

  • ATHENS – Coaches will always tell you that they never look ahead, that they never look past the next opponent. That hasn’t been the case with Georgia in regard to Georgia Tech. In fact, the Bulldogs have been preparing for the Yellow Jackets at least once a week throughout the entire season, and several times during the preseason as well. Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who had let that slip a couple of times throughout the season, made no attempt to cover that up on Monday during his weekly news conference. He explained that the Bulldogs have been taking a couple of periods in the Monday practices all season to concentrate on defending the Yellow Jackets’ confounding triple-option offense. In addition, UGA spent some time working on Tech, along with a few other future opponents, during the bye week in mid-October as well. “I felt like you have to familiarize yourself (with it),” Smart said. “Really the players, if nothing more than your scout team, can only be so efficient doing something they don’t do all the time. But they can be as efficient as possible. So those Mondays have been really critical for them. Those Mondays have been critical for our young players who haven’t been exposed to it. We have worked really hard on that. And then we spent some time in the off week.” It seems that Smart has always been giving the Yellow Jackets a little extra attention. That happened even last year, before Tech came to Sanford Stadium and served the Bulldogs with a gut-punching 29-28 loss. Smart had brought in Brian VanGorder, then not long fired as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator, as a special consultant a couple of weeks before UGA hosted Tech. How much it helped is unclear. The Yellow Jackets weren’t necessarily the ground-game juggernaut they can be sometimes – they rushed for 226 yards on 42 carries – but they managed to score 14 points in the final 6:28 to pull off a 28-27 upset. Suffice it to say, Georgia wants to do better this year. While Georgia Tech 5-5 (4-4 ACC) is experiencing a down year, its offense remains as potent and troublesome as always. The Jackets are averaging 319.3 yards rushing and 30.2 points per game. What makes them particularly difficult to handle is their style is unlike any other team Georgia plays all year. Smart went as far as referring to Tech’s offense as “a dinosaur.” “They’re not the norm any more,” Smart said. “People don’t prepare to play that. When you think about high school football, it used to be that people ran the triple (option) in high school and a lot of the most successful programs in this state had been a part of that. It’s slowly gone the other way, where teams, it’s almost like a dinosaur, people don’t do it anymore. So people don’t know how to defend it. So it’s challenging.” Hence, Smart’s decision to work on it a little all year as opposed to just a lot in the final week of the regular season. Georgia’s defense has been very good against the run this season. It has been very good against everything, actually. The Bulldogs rank fifth in nation in total defense, giving up just 276 yards per game. Only Alabama, with 87.4 yards per game, has given up fewer rush yards in the SEC than UGA (105.6 ypg). Then again, the Bulldogs haven’t defended anything like this all season. Probably the closest thing they’ve seen was what Auburn does, and that was more run-pass option than pure option. “It’s tough,” said senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who had eight tackles against the Jackets a year ago. “The triple option, you’ve got to read your keys and have eye discipline and all that.” Defenders hate facing it because it all the reads required negate any edge they might have in athleticism. Meanwhile, much of the offensive line’s work is predicated on cut blocking. That means defensive linemen and linebackers can expect a lot of contact below the waist. Ankle, knee and foot injuries aren’t uncommon. “You’ve got to keep running your feet; if you don’t you can get rolled up,” said Georgia noseguard John Atkins, who will be facing it for the fourth straight year. “You try your best to stay (upright) but you’re going to get tweaked sometimes.” Cut blocks and a gashing run game are just part of the issue. Since the Jackets run the ball 84.2 percent of the time, their passing game tends to be particularly effective – and potentially devasting – when they decide utilize it. Tech receivers add 21.7 yards per catch. Ricky Jeune has five touchdowns, including an 80-yarder against Virginia Tech two weeks ago. That came to roost against the Bulldogs last year. While the Yellow Jackets executed run-oriented, fourth-quarter scoring drives of 94 and 46 yards for their come-from-behind victory last year, it was pass plays of 23-, 39- and 16 yards that did the most damage. So what’s the remedy? “Eye discipline,” Smart said Monday. :It’s what got us last year. You don’t have good eye discipline, you don’t have good eye transfer, they can get you. And they watch every play. They know when you mess up. It doesn’t take them long to figure out, ‘whoops, he’s not looking at the right thing,’ and then they expose you. And you say, ‘well, the alternative is don’t be so aggressive with them,’ but you have to stop the run. They do a good job with what they do.” Georgia’s defense has been done exceptional work this season. We’ll find out Saturday if a season’s worth of preparation makes a difference. “They’re playing a unique style of offense and they got to buy into that, they’ve got to embrace it,” Smart said of Georgia’s defense. “I think our seniors will. As a matter of fact, I know they will. They have already talked to me about some ways we’re going to practice and things we’re going to do to help with that. So, I’m excited about that part and they’re ready to take the challenge on.” The post Georgia has devoted time all season to defending Tech’s triple option appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – Total domination. This was the plan all along for this season. That’s what we’re now learning from the Georgia Bulldogs, and those notable seniors in particular. Having played their last home game, which resulted in another blowout win over an SEC East opponent, the Bulldogs are allowing themselves to talk a little about what they’ve achieved this season. That hasn’t been the case all year, you know, with that whole “next game” mantra and all. But some things have been achieved at this point. UGA (10-1, 7-1 SEC) finished undefeated at home for the first time in five years, for instance. In case you haven’t heard, the Bulldogs have won the SEC’s Eastern Division championship. And not by a little. With that 29-point victory over Kentucky this past Saturday, they outscored their division brethren 247 points to 72, or an average score of 41-12 per game. It was as thorough and complete a domination as we’ve witnessed by Georgia. So, clearly, the right team will be representing the division when the SEC Championship commences on Dec. 2 in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And that was the plan. Georgia is exactly where it intended to be at this point. Well, almost. “It didn’t go exactly how we wanted,” senior tailback Sony Michel said. “We planned on winning every game. Ultimately, things don’t always go as planned. But, you know, this is the type of season we planned on having.” Ah, yes. There was that anomaly that occurred on The Plains two weeks ago. Unfortunate, but not fate altering. Georgia can still win out and achieve all those preseason goals. But there remains one more box to check. Since Saturday, a lot of people have asked me if I thought there was any danger in Georgia tripping up against its archrival, Georgia Tech. You know, that team that just fell to Duke, 34-20 giving up 319 yards rushing. Normally, I’d say yes to that. “Of course.” Throw out the records and all that business when it comes to Tech and that Clean Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry. But I’m going to say no. And here’s why. Here, I return to all those seniors — and “The Big Four,” in particular. I return to that scene of last December and what Nick Chubb had to say about what happened at Sanford Stadium in the last game, of the year. “The last game didn’t go how any of us wanted,” he said. “It kind of hurt inside. I’m a very prideful guy.” That was Chubb nearly a year ago. He was explaining the reasons he intended to come back his senior year. There was the 29-28 loss to Tech. There was the way the Bulldogs lost, giving up 14 points in the final 6:28. And then there was what happened after the loss. You might recall that about the half of the field-side hedges on the north side of the field were left bare. It’s a scene these seniors haven’t forgotten. It was also Georgia’s second loss in three years to the Yellow Jackets. That’s the main reason why the Bulldogs are no danger of overlooking their 5-4 opponent this week. Losing to Georgia Tech is not cool in these parts. Leaving school with a losing record to that school borders on sacrilegious. “That was one of the things I thought about personally, something I needed to come back and finish,” senior Lorenzo Carter said. “I had unfinished business. I didn’t want to leave having a losing record to Tech. Right now I do. All the seniors do. So we wanted to come back play our ball and finish strong.” Said fifth-year senior John Atkins: “That’s what a lot of guys came back for, losing to Tech last year. You don’t want to lose to Tech in your last year. I mean, we’re not thinking about the SEC yet. Tech’s the next game. We’ve just got to go out against them and play ball.” Regardless of that has happened to this point, Georgia has had a great season. It has been a special year no matter how one slices it up. A win on Saturday gives the Bulldogs 11 wins. The school has managed that many wins only nine other times, the 13-1 season of 2002 being the most ever. They’ve left a regular season undefeated and untied only three times. With that goal thwarted, the Bulldogs don’t want to relent on anything else. Least of all, Georgia’s seniors don’t want to leave with the smudge of another loss to Tech. Because of what Georgia has done to this point, Kirby Smart is in line for coach of the year, nationally as well as for the SEC. But when talk turns to what the Bulldogs have accomplished this season, he fully deflects the praise and redirects toward his fourth-year guys. The true value in all that, Smart pointed out Monday, is theirs is a gift that will keep on giving. The seniors’ willingness to “buy in” to what Smart and his staff have been selling since they showed up will pay dividends with all those underclassmen that will coming back next year. “I know you see (their leadership) on the field,” Smart said. “But you don’t get to see it in the meeting room; you don’t get to see it when a guy’s late; you don’t see it when a guy does some undisciplined penalty out of bounds and they grab the guy. That part is what they bring of setting a standard, the standard that we want to play to, they help set that standard.” That includes not losing to Georgia Tech but once every seven or eight years. Certainly not two of every three years, or three of every four. The last time Georgia lost three to the Jackets in such a short span was 1998-2000 when coach Jim Donnan dropped three in a row, and he was out of a job at the end of it. Between the buy-in for the future and going out on top against Tech, these Bulldogs aren’t about to let up. “We came back for a bigger purpose and we’re still working toward that,” senior outside linebacker Davin Bellamy said. “Everything’s been nice till now but it’s all about how you finish.” Said Michel: “I think most definitely we have built a foundation for our coach, offensively and defensively,” Michel said. “The guys have bought in to what we’re trying to do; the standard is set. And I think the bar is only going to be raised when we leave. I’m excited for this program. Great things are ahead. We have guys here who are willing to learn. It’s crazy to see what’s going to happen.” The post It’s about Georgia Tech and a whole lot more for UGA’s seniors appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – It was just another win over Kentucky, and another lopsided one at that. But Georgia’s celebration afterward was different. It was evident this one really meant something. And it did. With their 42-13 win over the Wildcats, the No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) finished undefeated at Sanford Stadium for the season. It kept them undefeated against the Eastern Division, something that hadn’t been done since the SEC went to divisional play, and rinsed away a nasty taste that had remained in their collective mouths since getting thumped by Auburn a week earlier. “Adversity doesn’t build character; I personally believe adversity exposes character,” coach Kirby Smart said afterward. “There was an opportunity with last week’s loss to see how we respond. I think the character of our group is clear, led by our seniors. They’ve accepted the new staff. They were willing not just to buy in to our new way, but they’ve been selling it to our younger players, and that’s been a big part of being a good people. I’m really proud of these guys to do some things that haven’t been done before here.” It wasn’t as easy as the final score may indicate. Georgia trailed 3-0 and led only 7-6 into the final five minutes of the first half. But then the Bulldogs poured it on. They’d score 21 points over the next 11 minutes, then buried the Wildcats like they have so many other opponents in the fourth quarter this season. Now Georgia resets its sights on archrival Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets (5-5) will be looking to get bowl eligibility next Saturday in Atlanta. The Bulldogs, with their ticket already punched to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the SEC Championship, have bigger game to hunt. But they’re intently focused on handling local business first. It won’t be hard. The Yellow Jackets knocked them off 28-27 a year ago. “We know what’s coming up next week,” Georgia tailback Nick Chubb said. “We’re looking forward to it.” Here’s how the Dogs did against Kentucky: OFFENSE: A With 508 yards gained, the temptation is to say that the Bulldogs played great on offense. And they were excellent for much of the game. But they also were a little slow to get moving, and another early turnover – this one Jake Fromm interception – quickly left them behind on the scoreboard. What finally got Georgia moving was the passing game. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney began to turn Fromm loose with first-down passes early in the second quarter, and that in turn loosened up Georgia’s running game. Tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel retired for the night early in the fourth quarter having combined for 238 yards rushing and five touchdowns. Fromm finished with 123 yards on 9-of-14 passing and hit Javon Wims for a 27-yard touchdown. Wims finished with six catches for 83 yards. DEFENSE: B Obviously, the Bulldogs played much better than they did a week ago at Auburn. But they still showed some vulnerabilities. Kentucky tailback Benny Snell was tough for them to bring down. He finished with 94 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. The Wildcats also put together scoring drives of eight, seven and seven plays and possessed the ball for half the game, or 29:40. In the end, though, Kentucky was held to just two field goals and 140 yards in the first half and, averaging 361 yards and 27.9 points, finished with just 262 total and half its scoring average. Aaron Davis grabbed an interception for Georgia, Roquan Smith had a team-high nine tackles and a sack and the Wildcats were 3-for-12 on third down. Now all that goes out the window as the Bulldogs will have to re-learn how to defend the triple option. SPECIAL TEAMS: A Georgia got back on track on special teams after penalties and mistakes spoiled its work last week at Auburn. Mecole Hardman added another 81 yards in returns, highlighted by a 35-yard kickoff return and a 20-yard punt return. Cameron Nizalek nearly had a punt blocked but was roughed – and briefly injured – on the play, resulting in a Georgia first down. He finished with a 48-yard average on two punts. Rodrigo Blankenship did not have a field goal attempt but he finished with four touchbacks on six kickoffs, which ties him with Hall of Famer (and his kicking coach) Kevin Butler for the school record with 51. COACHING: B Kirby Smart gets high marks for navigating Georgia through the emotional wreckage left in the wake of the 40-17 loss to Auburn that plunged the Bulldogs from the top ranking in football. The Bulldogs continue to hurt themselves with penalties. They were flagged seven times for 59 yards and were called for two more personal fouls. Initially, Georgia seemed obstinate about running the ball on first down no matter what, calling rushes on first down nine consecutive times to start the game. But when they finally started to mix it up, they were moved the ball at will and finished with 25 first downs, the second highest total this season. OVERALL: B It was good night for both UGA fans and players. The Bulldogs finished a perfect 6-0 at home for the first time since 2012, which also happened to be the last time they went to the SEC Championship game. They did it by feeding the football to their senior stars, Chubb and Michel, and getting dominating performances from the defense and special teams. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a very, very good night to be a Bulldog. The post Report Card: Kentucky helps the Bulldogs get back on track appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – Nick Chubb wasn’t himself Saturday. Oh, he ran hard and he gained a lot of yards and he scored some touchdowns. That we’ve all seen before. What we haven’t seen was Chubb celebrating and dancing. Well, sort of dancing. He climbed up on top of the cheerleaders’ platform in front of the UGA student section and celebrated Georgia’s 42-13 win over Kentucky with Sony Michel and the Bulldogs’ other seniors. Arm-in-arm, they sang and cheered and barked and laughed a little and smiled a lot and posed for a few thousand pictures. “Believe it or not, that was my first time ever doing that,” Chubb said in a postgame interview underneath the East End grandstands at Sanford Stadium. “I kind of saved it up for this moment.” Oh, we believe it, Nick. It was unlike anything we’ve seen before from the usually stoic tailback. For 42 games at Georgia, we’ve watched him smile and wave politely to the crowd as he jogged off the field after another one of his 100-yard rushing nights. No matter the gravity of the victory or how much he contributed to it, Chubb was never one to jump up in the stands or even dance some kind of jig. Usually, he’d slap a few hands on his way to the nearest field exit and maybe toss a sweatband or some gloves a kid’s way. “I had to convince him,” Michel, his roommate and backfield mate, said afterward. “It’s hard to convince him to do things like that.” It’s about time the kid showed some emotion. He deserved it. There was much to celebrate on this unseasonably warm and fuzzy Senior Night, much of it Chubb’s on doing. Let’s review. So he busted loose on a 55-yard touchdown run. That was a season-long run and gave Chubb 45 rushing TDs for his career (12 for the season).  That moves him to second on Georgia’s all-time list behind Herschel Walker (52), a theme you’re going to hear a lot in this space. That was Chubb’s second TD of the night, making it the 14th time he’s scored two or more in a game. That run also put him at 151 yards on the evening, making it the 23rd time he’s gone over the century mark. And it also put him over 1,000 yards for the season. He has 1,045 yards this year, so he stands now with Walker as the only two backs in Georgia history with three 1,000-yard seasons. It seems appropriate to interject here that Chubb had 747 yards when his sophomore season ended after five games with a knee injury. Else, he would’ve had four. “It’s an honor,” Chubb said of sharing a few more marks with Herschel. “That’s great company to have. Just to be with him, me and him, man, I’m happy about that.” You might note that it’s now really the only comparison to make with Chubb anymore, him and Herschel Walker. He’s eclipsed everybody else in Georgia history. What’s more, he’s doing it in this day and age. Not to take anything away from Walker or Bo Jackson or Marcus Dupree or any of those guys who thought nothing of carrying the ball 30 times a week. Chubb is doing what he’s doing in an era when SEC defenses don’t fall far down from NFL squads in terms of athletic pedigree and dedication to stuffing the run. And he’s also doing during a time in which coaches prefer their back share carries with others. While Chubb enters the 12th game of his fourth season with 686 carries, his best buddy Michel has 546 himself. That’s what I was thinking about when I asked Georgia coach Kirby Smart if he thought Chubb is underappreciated in terms of national acclaim. Smart went on a rant. “Yeah, I certainly feel like he’s underappreciated,” he said. “I don’t know how you guys feel but I appreciate what he’s done in an era where rushing the ball is really, really hard. It’s gotten harder and harder and harder. I’ve got no statistics to prove it but I’d venture to say Herschel ran for his (yards) in an era where a people were rushing the ball for a lot of yards. I’m not diminishing what Herschel did. I’m just enlightening people to Nick Chubb has rushed for three thousand-yard seasons in the SEC, the toughest conference in the country to run the ball. That’s pretty remarkable. “And he did alongside another back that is maybe just as talented as he is. What would he have done with 30 or 40 carries? Who knows. But I’m sure his body appreciates it.” Everybody is starting to appreciate a little more. It’s kind of like the old adage, you don’t really appreciate something or somebody until they’re gone. Well, Chubb’s not gone yet, but he’s almost out the door. Saturday was his last game in Sanford Stadium. He was one of 31 seniors the Bulldogs honored during Senior Day ceremonies before the game. That, Chubb said afterward, already had him feeling a little different before the game. He blamed Georgia’s slow start Saturday on those emotional proceedings, a rite of passage for seniors playing their last game between the hedges. The Bulldogs finally shook loose from its early doldrums. They needed Jake Fromm to hit a few passes downfield to get the running game going. When it finally did, it was devastating to Kentucky’s overmatched defense. Chubb’s teammates sensed something from him on Saturday. He seemed a little quicker, a little more shifty than usual. He busted through for his first TD on an eight-yard run midway through the third quarter. On the second play of the fourth, Chubb bounced an off-tackle dive outside and down the left sideline. Three Kentucky defenders who seemed to have angles to run him down did not. It was a 55-yard touchdown and gave the Bulldogs a 35-13 lead. “He looked fast on that run,” chirped Michel, who likes to tease Chubb about being faster. Chubb sounded very Herschel-esque in describing the sensational play. “It was great blocking,” he said. “I don’t think I got touched. I kind of hit the sideline wide open, so it was great blocking up front.” Same old Chubb there. But we’d learn later it was a different kind of night. There he was, the muscle-bound captain who never mugs for cameras or does touchdown poses, grinning from ear-to-ear and laughing and glad-handing fans and hugging teammates. For a few minutes, he seemed almost like a regular college student. But as we all know, he’s anything but. “It was a great moment,” Chubb said of his uncharacteristic celebration. “I know that’s my last time leaving that field as a Georgia Bulldog. That’s something I can never have back, so I had to enjoy it.” We did, too, Nick. We did, too. The post That was no ordinary Nick Chubb we saw running over and around Kentucky appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – Admit it, Georgia fans. Your Bulldogs had you a little nervous there for a minute, didn’t they? No worries. It was Kentucky that Georgia was playing. The seventh-ranked Bulldogs won 42-13 for their 57th all-time victory over the Wildcats. Only Georgia Tech (67) has lost more times to Georgia. Speaking of Georgia Tech, Georgia improves to 10-1 (7-1 SEC) just in time to face its rival next Saturday in the series that has come to be called “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” The Yellow Jackets won in overtime last year in Athens. They fell to 5-5 with Saturday’s 43-20 loss at Duke. Saturday was a milestone game for Georgia’s Nick Chubb. With a 55-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, Chubb had 151 yards rushing in the game, 1,045 for the season and 4,469 for his career. Chubb and Herschel Walker are now the only UGA backs to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three seasons. With the victory, Georgia’s seniors finish undefeated at Sanford Stadium for the first time since 2012, when it last went to the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs also finished with a perfect record against Eastern Division opponents for the first time in school history. Before all that, UGA found itself trailing in the first quarter for the second straight week and managed just 21 yards on its first two possessions against the Wildcats. But then Kentucky remembered it was Kentucky. The Wildcats roughed Georgia’s punter and the Bulldogs took the ball the rest of the way for a touchdown and a lead they’d never relinquished. Kentucky kept it interesting. It received the second-half kickoff and went 75 yards in eight plays that mostly featured tailback Benny Snell to make it 21-13 on Snell’s 1-yard run. But the Bulldogs answered quickly with a long, scoring drive of their own, and order was restored. Somewhere in between, Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney realized it was not against the rules to pass on first down. After calling runs on nine consecutive first downs, Chaney flipped the switch in the second quarter and turned Jake Fromm loose. The result was three consecutive completions and back-to-back touchdown drives to open up a 21-6. Georgia controlled the game from then on. The post Nick Chubb, No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs run over Kentucky appeared first on DawgNation.