Last weekend’s trip to Columbia ended less than favorably for the Dawgs. But the debacle, disappointing though it was, concludes nothing about their football season.
Georgia returns to Athens to begin a three-game homestand Saturday with all its hopes and dreams for 2014 still firmly intact. They remain ranked in the top 15 – ironically one spot ahead of Carolina at No. 13 – though the Gamecocks now own the head-to-head tiebreaker in the SEC East. The Dawgs still have every hope of clawing their way back into the division race and potentially vying for a spot in the SEC title game and ensuing college football playoff, though there’s still a lot of pavement between that destination and where we’re at now.
That stretch of highway will include several more tough matchups, one coming as soon as next Saturday, but Mark Richt and his staff can breathe easy knowing their team will get a break after consecutive top-25 opponents this week as Troy State ventures between the hedges.
Georgia’s last meeting with the Trojans came in 2007, a week after the Dawgs marched into Jacksonville and upset Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators 42-30. They provided a rather stiff test. Though Georgia remained in control for most of the ballgame, Troy hung around far too long for comfort.
Now-Giants wideout Jerrel Jernigan led Trojan receivers with 11 catches and two endzone visits to keep his team within 10 points of the Dawgs in the final count. Georgia hung on thanks to the rock-toting of Knowshon Moreno, who racked up a buck 96 in rushing yardage and three touchdowns on the game. The final score was 44-34.
In classical literature, Troy is the mighty city the Greeks brought down after a near 10-year siege by conning their peace delegation into accepting a rolling wooden horse with soldiers stowed away inside as a gift of surrender.
For much of the school’s FBS history Troy has flipped that script and played the role of giant-killer, recording a number of marquee upsets, the foremost of those a win over No. 19 Missouri in 2004 and a defeat of Oklahoma State earlier in that 2007 season.
But recently the program has stumbled upon a stretch of hard times. After a five-year run of consecutive eight-plus win seasons from ’06 to ‘010, all but one in which they made bowl appearances, the Trojans put together three straight campaigns with records at or below .500.
Their 2014 season has gotten off to a less-than-encouraging 0-3 start. Their most recent game was a three-point loss to Abilene Christian.
Hard to think the Dawgs will have any trouble with them on Saturday.
This is a rebound game. After a tough loss to South Carolina, Georgia needs a confidence-builder. And playing a team they won’t have their hands full with gives them an opportunity to roll out some kinks in all areas of the game after getting several needs-improvement marks on their report card from last Saturday.
Beyond simply getting back in the win column, this matchup will provide a chance for the Dawgs to get their feet back underneath them, and correct some issues that’ll help them put the best-possible product on the field a week from now versus Tennessee.
Unfortunately for the visitors, that also involves a rather lopsided outcome.
The Prediction: Georgia 59, Troy 10
Some nice weather looks to be on tap for Saturday. Should be a perfect atmosphere to watch Georgia take care of business between the hedges. Come join us in cheering the Dawgs to their second win of the year.
(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in previous years. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)