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Georgia defensive lineman Tyler Clark (52) during the Bulldogs' game against Texas A&M on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

ATHENS, Ga. — Saturday's Georgia-Texas A&M football game contained 121 total plays throughout its 60 minutes.

The visiting Aggies had 62 offensive plays and chose to run 20 times, with those 20 rushes netting minus-1 yard in Georgia's 19-13 victory.

"We preach stopping the run all week," Bulldogs sophomore nose tackle Jordan Davis said. "We want to suffocate them and make them one-dimensional. At the end of the day, when you hold a team to minus-1 yard, that is a huge accomplishment.

"We definitely have things to work on, but that's something we can ride high with for a very long time."

Not since a 2011 win over Florida in Jacksonville had Georgia held a team to negative rushing yards. The Aggies had 9 rushing yards through three quarters, but their lone rush of the fourth quarter was actually Tyler Clark's 10-yard sack of Kellen Mond, which wound up derailing Texas A&M's last possession of the game.

Texas A&M's final 22 snaps starting at the 6:14 mark of the third quarter were pass plays, with Clark preventing the Aggies from throwing on all 22.

"We knew that they had an excellent receiving corps and a quarterback who can scramble, and that was my biggest concern," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "I was concerned that we could cover them, and then he would take off. We've played some other good wideouts, but those teams didn't have a quarterback who could take off running."

Mond entered Saturday having run for 400 yards, but he rushed nine times for minus-8 yards against the Bulldogs. Georgia was credited with two sacks of Mond, who also was stopped on a third-and-1 sneak at Georgia's 26-yard line in the third quarter.

The Aggies went for it on fourth-and-1 with a give to running back Isaiah Spiller, but he was stuffed as well at the 8:20 mark.

"That team was like 12-for-12 on the year in sneaks," Smart said. "They are the best sneak team I've ever seen. Our guys went out there and stopped them, and a lot of credit goes to our staff and their preparation."

Georgia will enter this week's regular-season finale at Georgia Tech ranked second nationally in rushing defense (allowing 68.5 yards per game) and tied for second nationally in scoring defense (10.7). The Bulldogs are on pace to have their best run defense since such statistics started being kept in 1950.

The 1981 Bulldogs yielded 72.5 yards per game on the ground.

"That's special to be able to stop the run and to be able to constantly do it," junior safety Richard LeCounte III said. "We've got a lot of seasoned linemen, and they come out and do their thing. We just try to complement them by holding things up on the back end."

Said junior inside linebacker Monty Rice: "I think it's just hats off to our D-line, mainly. Our DBs have been getting off blocks, and our linebackers are fighting off blocks. Hats off to our coaches, too, for calling the plays and putting us in position."

Georgia Tech's triple-option offense in past seasons under Paul Johnson never did any favors for Georgia's run-defense totals, but the Yellow Jackets are transitioning from that style of attack under first-year coach Geoff Collins. The Yellow Jackets amassed 395 yards last Thursday night in a 28-26 win over North Carolina State but had just 134 the game before in a 45-0 loss to Virginia Tech.

"I keep hearing how we don't play any quarterbacks and that we don't play anybody who's any good," Smart said. "We just keep trying to do our job. The staff deserves credit, and the players deserve the most credit. You should see the way those guys practice and the energy they come to meetings with.

"We've got some young players in that unit, and I'm very proud of the way they've worked."

The Bulldogs opened Sunday as 29-point favorites over their in-state rival.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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