Rivalry week: No. 1 Bulldogs up next for Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech tight end Luke Benson (81) points as quarterback Haynes King (10) scores a touchdown against Syracuse during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

In the aftermath of Georgia Tech's win over Syracuse on Saturday, a win that clinched bowl eligibility for the Yellow Jackets for the first time in five years, quarterback Haynes King already had one eye on the final opponent of the regular season.

"As soon as that sun rises (Sunday)," King said on when his preparation would start for No. 1 Georgia. "The quicker you can get moved on and start preparing for the next opponent in Georgia, the better and the quicker it's gonna be.

"Just like we've been saying, event plus response equals outcome. What's the event? Now we're moving on to Georgia. How do we respond? How do we respond is gonna take care of that outcome."

Tech (6-5) hosts its bitter rival at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, a showdown to be televised live by ABC. The Jackets are more than three-touchdown underdogs against the top-ranked Bulldogs (11-0), a team which has already clinched a spot in the SEC championship game Dec. 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Brent Key, just the fourth Tech coach to lead the Jackets to a bowl game in his first season at the helm of the program, wouldn't comment Saturday night on the impending matchup with UGA. His players would, but had been well-schooled on the correct things to say about playing for the Governor's Cup.

"The mindset throughout the week is just gonna be try to win," linebacker Paul Moala said. "I'm excited for these guys to take on this challenge and we look forward to next week."

Georgia, as it has been well documented, is in the midst of what may go down as one of the more impressive runs in college football history. The Bulldogs have won two straight national titles, haven't lost since Dec. 4, 2021, and have won 28 in a row overall.

Coach Kirby Smart's team has also won five straight over Tech by an average score of 43.4-9.8. The Jackets last won 28-27 in 2016 and are 3-18 in the previous 21 matchups.

Tech has not defeated Georgia at Bobby Dodd Stadium since 1999, a string of 11 consecutive defeats. But the Jackets are 3-2 in their home venue this season and have won two straight there. Saturday's crowd will likely be the largest of the season the Jackets have played in front of at Bobby Dodd Stadium, topping the 35,945 that saw Tech beat a ranked North Carolina team Oct. 28.