Bulldogs focus on Georgia Tech

Bulldogs focus on Georgia Tech

November 21st, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - College

After feasting on Southeastern Conference foes for the past two months, the Georgia Bulldogs will try to extend their recent Thanksgiving week tradition of consuming Georgia Tech.

Georgia has defeated the Yellow Jackets nine times in 10 tries under coach Mark Richt, including the first three years in which the Bulldogs qualified for the SEC title game. The Bulldogs clinched a fourth trip this past Saturday with a 19-10 victory over Kentucky.

"You just have to interrupt our Southeastern Conference season for a week," Richt said Sunday afternoon. "You've got to put everything on hold, and you've got to put all hands on deck to get prepared for Georgia Tech. That's going to be the focus, 100 percent."

The 9-1 record compiled by the Bulldogs against the Yellow Jackets under Richt represents the most successful decade Georgia has enjoyed in the series.

Georgia struggled to get going offensively against the Wildcats due to a lack of tailbacks. Redshirt junior Carlton Thomas and freshman Isaiah Crowell combined for 259 yards against Auburn, but Thomas sat out Saturday after violating a team rule, while Crowell left with an ankle injury after only two carries.

Richt expects Crowell, who has rushed 172 times for 832 yards (4.8 yards a carry) and five touchdowns, to play this week.

"It didn't swell bad, his left ankle," Richt said. "I think throughout the week he'll be able to get enough work to be able to go."

Richt did not have an update when asked about Thomas, who also missed the Boise State and New Mexico State games due to suspensions. Brandon Harton had a career-high 101 yards against Kentucky, with Ken Malcome adding a career-high 37.

Despite a revolving door at tailback due to injuries and suspensions, the Bulldogs have yet to experience a disastrous ground game, rushing for at least 115 yards each week and for more than 175 yards on six occasions.

"It hasn't been as steady as you would like," Richt said. "There has been a little bit of drama, and a little too much drama, but we're finding ways to win. Guys are stepping up when they get opportunities.

"It's a situation where I think everybody has handled it as well as it could be handled, and we're in good shape right now."

Of course, the most interesting angle to this week's game is Georgia Tech's rushing offense against Georgia's rushing defense. The Yellow Jackets rank second nationally with 323.6 yards a game on the ground, while the Bulldogs are second nationally against the run, allowing 81.3 yards a game.

Georgia won last year's meeting 42-34 despite giving up 411 rushing yards.

"It's a whole different world," Richt said. "It's a different type of running game. It's something where you may be outstanding versus some of the more common things you see on a week-to-week basis and just get thrashed by this system we're about to go against.

"I just don't know if you can equate what's happened to this point versus the run and what's going to happen this weekend. It's just too different."

Odds and ends

Saturday's game will be televised at noon by ESPN. ... Richt said sophomore nose Kwame Geathers (ankle) was held out Saturday but could have played in an emergency.