UGA Paint Line

Supporting the Dawgs For 18 Years and Counting

UGA Paint Line - Supporting the Dawgs For 18 Years and Counting

UGA vs Vanderbilt 2016

The Georgia Bulldogs return home this week to face the 2-4 Vanderbilt Commodores. Since 1990, Vanderbilt has been the Homecoming game for Georgia every even year except 2012 (Ole Miss). Twice during that span the Commodores have spoiled Homecoming with upset wins in 1994 43-30 and 2006 24-22. The game ten years ago came down to a go ahead Field Goal as time expired for a Vandy win after UGA’s Tony Taylor had the go ahead pick six earlier in the fourth quarter to make the score 22-21.
A more recent recap of the series shows that Georgia has won the last 2 meetings, 31-14 last year, and 44-17 in 2014 here in Athens. The 2013 matchup would be voted as the most interesting game in the last 5 years when Georgia led 27-14 only to lose 31-27. Many UGA fans will argue how targeting lost them the game that day in Nashville. It was the first year of the rule and back then even if the targeting penalty was taken away, the offense still received an automatic first down. With the Dawgs up 27-24, Vandy faced a 4th down late in the game. QB Paton Robinette threw a pass over the middle and UGA Linebacker Ramik Wilson struck the receiver to knock the ball loose. Georgia was celebrating a turnover on downs and a close fought win on the road, however Wilson was flagged for targeting the receiver. The replay officials overturned the targeting call but Vandy was still awarded a 15 yard penalty and first and goal. Needless to say the Commodores scored a Touchdown to win the game 31-27, another “how did we lose this game?” question in 2013 (at Clemson, at Auburn, and vs Nebraska in Bowl Game also fit that category in 2013.)

For Derek Mason’s squad to upset UGA on Homecoming like it did ten years ago, they will have to excel in the 3 keys to the game. One, Vandy Linebacker Zach Cunningham will have to stuff the Georgia running game. Zach lead the Dores in tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks last year as a sophomore. Last week UGA’s offensive line was able to get to the second level of blocking USC’s linebackers which is why the Dawgs had over 300 yards rushing. For Vandy to not let this happen again, Cunningham is going to have to lead the Vandy Defense or Chubb may run for more than his 189 yards in last year’s game. Second, QB Kyle Shurmur needs to connect on deep ball opportunities to avoid Georgia stacking the box against tailback Ralph Webb. Shurmur has connected with freshman receiver Kalijia Lipscomb for two of his three touchdown passes so far this season. Lipscomb will have the opportunity to get passed UGA’s corners who have let receivers get behind them in every single game. Finally, Vanderbilt will need to have a trick play up their sleeve for momentum’s sake. Maybe a fake punt or onside kick to sway the momentum from the home team, because if not it could get ugly. UGA may only be a 13 ½ point favorite in Vegas, but the talent gap between the two teams is large.

I expect Georgia to follow the same game plan as last week, run the ball and make the opposing average quarterback hurt you. Georgia is at home and desperately wants to get above .500 in conference play, which is why I see UGA winning 35-10. Though, you always have to be aware of noon kickoffs at home with the crowd piling in late and the team coming out not energetic. Just say the words “Nicholls State”
God Bless and Go Dawgs!
Tyler Agee

UGA vs Tennessee 2016

This Saturday the Georgia Bulldogs welcome the 11th ranked Tennessee Volunteers into Sanford Stadium for their annual clash. It will be the Dawgs first SEC home of the year while Tennessee travels for their first road game of the year. The Volunteers are looking to win at Sanford Stadium for the first time since 2006 when Tennessee came back from a 24-7 deficit to defeat Georgia 51-33 and make the Sports Illustrated cover for that week. (image: ) The Volunteers come in as the favorite in this matchup after a thrilling come from behind win in Knoxville last week against Florida. The Vols were down 21-0 before scoring 38 unanswered points and winning 38-28, their first win over the Gators since 2004. On the other end of the momentum spectrum, Georgia is limping into this game after being blown out in Oxford last week 45-14 at the hands of Chad Kelly and Ole Miss. In addition, there is uncertainty regarding tailback Nick Chubb’s availability for this game. Chubb experienced an ankle sprain last week which is frustrating because everyone knows he wants revenge against Tennessee after his catastrophic injury in last years game at Neyland Stadium.

For some background history on this series, Tennessee leads the all-time series 22-21-2. Though it should be noted UGA has done some serious catching up since 2000, winning 11 of the last 16 games. Also, Tennessee has won 9 times in Sanford Stadium out of the total of 19 games played in Athens. The last time these two teams faced each other in Athens was on September 27, 2014, with UGA winning 35-32. Georgia was lead by Todd Gurley’s 208 rushing yards (career high) 2 TD’s and 1 famous hurdle ( The year before in 2013 was one of the craziest games I’ve ever been to personally as Georgia won on a game winning 42yd Field Goal from Marshall Morgan in Overtime to win 34-31 at Neyland Stadium. ( Tennessee’s Pig Howard had fumbled the ball into the endzone on their possession causing a touchback, which is why Georgia only needed a FG to win. Before that, Georgia was down by 7 with two minutes to play when Aaron Murray lead a drive that ended with WR Rantavious Wooten catching a 2 yd slant route with 5 seconds left, sending the game to Overtime.

Looking towards this matchup, I think the biggest key is Georgia containing Josh Dobbs as far as his scrambling ability. I’d use linebacker #3 Roquan Smith to spy on Dobbs, so that containment is not lost. Smith is the best UGA linebacker at playing boundary to boundary, regarding speed, since Alec Ogletree in 2012 in my opinion. Second, UGA needs to use an extra blocker on Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, whether it’s a running back or Tight End, LT #72 Tyler Catalina has shown he cannot handle elite pass rushers one on one. The final key is Georgia’s ability to convert 3rd downs on offense. Last week Georgia went 4/16 or 25% against Ole Miss which is unacceptable. They’ll have their hands full again this week as Tennessee was 2nd in the country last year on defensive 3rd downs, only allowing their opponents to convert 27% of the time according to the official NCAA site.

This game is pivotal for Georgia if it wants to stay in the race for the SEC East. I have not seen improvement in Kirby Smart’s team since the first game against North

Carolina and quite frankly cannot expect to suddenly see it this week. Tennessee has the better players and momentum which is why I think they beat Georgia 31-24 in Athens. Again, I hope I’m wrong but I will always predict games objectively.

God Bless and Go Dawgs!

Tyler Agee

UGA @ Ole Miss 2016

The 3-0 Georgia Bulldogs go on the road for the second straight week to take on the #23 ranked Ole Miss Rebels at 12 eastern time. (UGA has won their last 4 games on the road which started at noon. Last loss was 2013 at Vanderbilt 31-27.) Though, in my opinion this will be the toughest road game UGA has had at noon in quite awhile. The Las Vegas odds makers agree as UGA is a 7 point underdog, the largest margin since the 2012 SEC Championship game against Alabama.

Some background history of this series, UGA leads the all time series 32-12-1, including winning the last 10 matchups. The last time Ole Miss defeated UGA was in 1996 31-27 in Athens. The most recent game occurred in 2012 in Athens, with UGA winning 37-10, scoring 37 unanswered points after trailing Ole Miss 10-0 in the second quarter. Aaron Murray lead Georgia throwing for 384 yards and 4 TD’s as well as Marlon Brown having 113 receiving yards and 1 TD from 66 yards on a beautiful play action pass. (Video clip here: The last time UGA visited Oxford was exactly 5 years ago on September 24, 2011, with the Dawgs winning 27-13 behind tailback Isaiah Crowell’s 147 yards and Safety Bacarri Rambo’s 2 interceptions. In fact, Georgia has won their last 5 games in Oxford dating back to 1997.

Fast forward to this game and there are some intriguing matchups that will determine who wins the ballgame. First, Georgia is going to have to capitalize if Ole Miss turns the ball over which should happened given the way Ole Miss has played the first 3 weeks. Last week against Missouri, UGA got zero points off five Missouri turnovers and was lucky to pull out a one point victory. Second, I’d like to see UGA play more press coverage with the corners and star while having the 2 safeties over top either in Cover 2 or 2 Man Under. Personally, I do not think Strong Safety Quincy Mauger will need to come down in the box much for run support, as Ole Miss struggles running the ball. Finally, it sounds like a broken record but the Georgia Offensive Line needs to play well in the run blocking aspect for Georgia to have a shot. Ole Miss is 13th out of 14th in the SEC in run defense but remember Georgia struggled against Nicholls State. In addition, I’d like to see Offensive Coordinator Jim Chaney call more toss sweeps/outside runs as Nick Chubb had zero toss sweep runs last week against Missouri.

After all the background history and intriguing matchups leading up to this game between two ranked teams, I expect Ole Miss to win 38-28. My heart wants to UGA to win, but my head tells me otherwise. If Drew Lock can throw for over 300 yards in the first half last week against Georgia, Chad Kelly could do the same but more. Kelly has set an Ole Miss school record for at least 1 touchdown pass in 16 straight games passing Eli Manning.

I’ll be cheering the Dawgs in Oxford this weekend with my roommate, my first trip to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Hopefully the Dawgs will prove me wrong and come home with a victory. No matter what happens, it will be a true southern football experience tailgating at the Grove!

God Bless!

Tyler Agee, Senior Business Management

UGA vs Missouri 2016

The Georgia Bulldogs open SEC play this weekend on the road in Columbia, Missouri at Faurot Field against the 1-1 Missouri Tigers. An interesting note is the fact that this will be the first SEC game for both head coaches in Kirby Smart and Barry Odom, both whom are coaching their alma mater. (The last time 2 new SEC head coaches faced each other in their SEC opener was 2003 between Kentucky’s Rich Brooks and Alabama’s Mike Shula.) Smart was the defensive coordinator at Alabama for the last 8 years, 2008-2015, under the tutelage of Nick Saban winning 4 National and SEC Championships each. While, Odom made the transition from defensive coordinator to head coach of Missouri after one season.

The first meeting between these two teams goes all the way back to the 1959-1960 season in the Orange Bowl in Miami where Hall of Fame Coach Wally Butts lead Georgia to a 14-0 victory. These teams did not play again until Missouri joined the SEC in 2012. That year was similar to this season in that Missouri’s first SEC game was at home against Georgia. Led by James Franklin Missouri held a 20-17 lead midway through the 3rd quarter before Georgia scored 24 unanswered points to win 41-20. Georgia was lead offensively by Marlon Brown’s 2 touchdown catches and defensively by Jarvis Jones’s 2 sacks, 1 INT, and 1 FF. In 2013, Missouri visited Athens for the first time and upset #7 Georgia 41-26 behind Mizzou’s stout defense of Shane Ray and Michael Sam’s fumble return for a TD. In 2014, #13 Georgia again visited #23 Missouri and had their most dominant performance of the season in a 34-0 win without suspended Todd Gurley. Missouri had 5 turnovers (4 INT’s, 2 #20 Mauger, 1 #5Swann, and 1 #24 Sanders plus 1 Fumble forced by #84 Floyd) in addition to only having 97 yards of total offense. (I was personally at that game and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Missouri fans leave at halftime after talking before the game that UGA had no shot without Gurley.) Finally, last year’s game in Athens was a defensive ballgame where 5 field goals were made total and UGA winning 9-6. The unsung hero of that game was walk-on wide receiver Kenneth Towns #86 hustling on the first play of the game. Greyson Lambert threw an interception to Ian Simon who returned in 39 yards but was tackled on the 1 yard line by Towns. Mizzou was stuffed 3 straight plays and had to settle for a 3 point FG instead of 7 points from a TD. Those 4 points that were left off the scoreboard by Mizzou turned out to be the difference as UGA won by 3.

As we turn to this Saturday’s matchup, I think the #1 key to the game is UGA’s interior offensive lineman vs Mizzou’s defensive tackles. LG #77 Isaiah Wynn, C #54 Brandon Kublanow and RG #53 Lamont Gaillard will have their hands full after struggling mightily last week against Nicholls State. Nick Chubb had his first start two years ago at Missouri, 38 carries 143 yards and 1 TD of 9 yards, will want to rebound after being held under 100 yards rushing for the first time in his career as a starter. (2015 Tennessee doesn’t count, he played 1 play before hurting his knee) The #2 key will be no special teams turnovers/ giving up big plays. Thus far through 2 weeks, the special teams unit looks worse than under the Richt regime. Coordinator Shane Beamer has a lot improving to do under this before it resembles “Beamer Ball”, like it did when he was at Virginia Tech. The last key will be the veteran secondary of Georgia vs Missouri’s wide receivers. Dominick Sanders will want to make amends after being ejected for targeting in last year’s game. Whereas, transfer receiver Chris Black headlines Missouri’s unit after being a 5 star player out of high school in Jacksonville but was overshadowed by Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley while at Alabama.

After all the breakdowns and reviews of past meetings, I expect Georgia to rely heavily on the healed Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and win a low scoring game 23-14.

Tyler Agee

Senior, Business Management

UGA vs. Tennessee Preview

While moral victories were few in Georgia’s 38-10 meltdown last week versus Alabama, we can hang our hat on the fact that the Dawgs have a tremendous chance to get better as a team by learning from what went wrong in the game. 

Sometimes taking one on the chin early in the season can be a good thing. A tough loss can expose unseen weakness and teach some hard lessons in the film room that help bring out potential that would’ve gone untapped if a team had only continued to win games. How Georgia responds to this adversity will help determine whether this season ultimately goes down as a disappointment or a success. 

The Dawgs will attempt to wash away the bad taste of last week’s debacle on Saturday’s trip to Knoxville for a 3:30 p.m. clash with Tennessee. 

Before we move on, a quick point of irony: Georgia faced Bama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin for only the second time last Saturday. The first meeting was in 2009 – his one season as the Vols’ head coach – when he handed the Dawgs a similar 45-19 result in what remains Tennessee’s most recent win in the series. 

Since he left, Georgia’s won five in a row, sweeping both Derek Dooley (fired after the 2012 season) and current skipper Butch Jones (whose job might be in danger if his team’s fortunes don’t improve quickly). The last four of those five games were decided by a single score, which speaks to both the perennial competitiveness of the rivalry and to Tennessee’s scrappiness in spite of records at or near .500 in the last two seasons. 

Whether in Athens or Knoxville, this rivalry game has historically been one that both teams bring their best to and fight out to the last second. 

Georgia’s last visit to Neyland in 2013 is a perfect example. Plagued by freak injuries that wiped out a number of key players, the Dawgs allowed Tennessee to overcome a two-touchdown deficit and take the lead late in the 4th quarter. But fighting to assemble a scoring drive with just moments left, Aaron Murray found Rantavious Wooten for a touchdown on 3rd and goal with just four seconds left to tie and force overtime, in which an inopportune fumble into the endzone on a would-be touchdown reception by Pig Howard would open the door for a Marshall Morgan field goal to win it on the ensuing Georgia possession. 

The Dawgs escaped with a win, and will be lucky to do the same again this time around versus a Volunteer team that’s improved in many ways since that first year under Jones. The only thing that hasn’t gotten better for them is their luck. 

Week two, Tennessee lost to Oklahoma in a pair of overtimes after blowing a convincing 17-3 lead at the end of the third quarter. They did nearly the same in Gainesville two weeks ago. Leading Florida by 13 with 10 minutes left, the Vols gave up two touchdowns in the final five minutes and lost 28-27. The disappointment only continued in a return to Knoxville last Saturday as Arkansas overcame an early 14-point deficit to win 24-20.  

Tennessee will no doubt be looking to end that streak of misfortune by any means necessary when the Dawgs come calling Saturday on Rocky Top. 

And Georgia will have its hands full with an offense that features multiple rushing weapons plenty of teams would kill to have just one of. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who measures 6-3, 207, is one of those rare Cam Newton-style quarterbacks whose elite speed is compounded by height and a long stride. His arm is only average, but allows him to make plays both as a thrower and a runner. And he’s dangerous in both respects. 

The other two members of the Vols’ three-headed backfield monster are the similarly-built Jalen Hurd – a fast guy whose size makes him a load to tackle – and Bama transfer Alvin Kamara – a smaller, faster change-of-pace guy they like to get the ball to in space. 

Containing all three will be a challenge for a Georgia defense that, all things considered, did pretty well against Derrick Henry a week ago. Stopping the run and forcing turnovers are two key ingredients in a recipe for success handling the talent Tennessee will throw at them. Leonard Floyd, who was terrific at helping bottle up Nick Marshall in last year’s Auburn game, should play a critical role in both pressuring and chasing down Dobbs in a pocket that’ll be about as wide as the field. 

As a always, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel’s success on the ground will figure into the offensive gameplan that’s destined to succeed if both ballcarriers are effective. For Greyson Lambert, re-establishing some confidence and comfort with the offense will be important with an eye on this game, as well as equally-tough ones coming later this month. 

There are no off weeks in the SEC. And Tennessee – consistently a make-or-break opponent for the Dawgs – presents a stiff test here for a team whose ability to rebound and get better after a loss should have a lot to say about where it’s going this year. 

The rivalry has produced some entertaining contests in years past. Saturday’s 45th meeting between Georgia and the Vols promises to be another one. 

The prediction: Georgia 30, Tennessee 27 

UGA vs. Southern Preview

Fresh off an unprecedented 52-20 massacre of Carolina last Saturday, the Dawgs emerge from the first quarter of the season a confident 3-0 and look to finish September with a win before embarking on what’ll be arguably the most challenging stretch of games in the regular season next month. 

The opposition in Saturday’s noon tilt will be the Jaguars of Southern University, whom Georgia will be facing for the first time. Well known for their marching band, the Human Jukebox, Southern will bring quite a show at halftime. Their football team, a respectable 2-1 overall and unbeaten against the FCS this season, has its own share of tradition, but faces a mighty tall order in the game itself against a Georgia squad that last week proved it belongs in the discussion of best teams in the nation. 

For the Dawgs, this game’ll be a tune-up in advance of next week’s home showdown with Alabama – a game that’s been circled on the calendar since the 2015 SEC schedule came out last year. And while it’d be easy to go ahead and write this ballgame down as a win and start looking ahead, our focus this week should remain on the game immediately in front of us, but not because there’s any danger of losing it. 

The grave danger in beating an SEC team by 32 is getting overconfident, especially when the team coming up is against the ropes after a disappointing loss. Taking next week’s ballgame as seriously as possible begins with concentrating on the one we’ve got this week. And that’s as much our job as fans as it is the responsibility of the players and coaches. 

To quote Bill Belichick, we’re just getting ready for Southern. 

It’s unlikely to turn into an overly competitive contest, but this ballgame will be an opportunity to get better. There weren’t many “needs improvement” marks on last week’s report card after a record-setting performance by Greyson Lambert in the passing game and another staunch showing by the defense. Still, the Dawgs need to polish up their game in several areas, most notably special teams, which looked like a liability even in a major win. 

And as with the opener, this game will be another opportunity to get some younger players into the contest and give some much-needed experience to potential contributors that reside lower on the depth chart. If only we can get the entirety of the game in without being delayed by lightning. 

There’s some more adverse weather in the forecast, but hopefully it’s only rain that chooses to make its presence felt within a five-mile radius of Sanford Stadium. 

Be sure to bring a raincoat along with your voice and Georgia apparel on Saturday. We’ll look into finding some waterproof paint (Actually, that might not be such a great idea). 

The rain might be able to wash off a little bit of red and black paint, but the pride and spirit of 92,000 Dawg fans? Not a chance. 

Rain or shine, wet or dry, we’ll see you bright and early between the hedges. 

The prediction: Georgia 48, Southern 6 

UGA vs. Vandy Preview

After warming up in a week 1 rout of Louisiana-Monroe, it’s time to get down to business in the SEC. 

Conference play commences for the Dawgs on Saturday in Nashville, where they’ll oppose division rival Vanderbilt in a game whose outcome should have a lot to say about what kind of team Georgia will carry with them into an important stretch of home games beginning next Saturday. 

The Dawgs displayed plenty of promise in a 51-point effort last week, but left some questions still to be answered, among those how Greyson Lambert will perform asked to throw more often under greater pass pressure, if the defense can stretch a quality showing over four quarters and whether a look at a week of game film will allow the secondary to patch up the major holes ULM exposed with 23 completions, two touchdowns and 206 yards passing last Saturday. 

Vandy will no doubt provide a stiffer test than the Warhawks, but how much of a test? 

Georgia hasn’t had a particularly easy time playing in Nashville on either of its last two visits. In 2011, the ‘Dores hung around until late in the 4th quarter, when a blocked punt in the closing seconds gave them two shots at a score that would’ve won the game. Thankfully both heaves into the endzone came up empty and the Dawgs survived to win it 33-28. We wouldn’t be so lucky two years later, when Vandy scored 17 unanswered in the fourth quarter to overcome a 13-point deficit and hand Georgia its third loss of an injury- and misfortune-plagued season. 

Those games are hard to forget, even when their memories were all but washed away by blowouts when the series shifted back to Athens in the following seasons. The most recent meeting was last year’s – a 44-17 victory in which Todd Gurley ran for 163 yards and passed for 50. 

It’s hard to tell whether a return to Vanderbilt Stadium will bring more of the struggles we’ve had playing there. 

One thing we know is that the ‘Dores haven’t won much in the last season. They  struggled to an 0-8 SEC record last year, winning just three games outside the conference in their first season under new head coach Derek Mason. 

He seems to have his team in a position to bounce back his second go-round. Vandy lost its opener last Thursday 14-12 to a good Western Kentucky team on account of three turnovers, but played better than the final score would indicate. 

Sophomore QB Johnny McCrary, a first-year starter, was solid once he got his feet underneath him. He threw for 217 yards and led a late scoring drive that would’ve tied the game if not for a completion short of the goal line on the two-point try. 

The mistakes he made he’s likely to have learned from this week in practice. And if he manages to stay turnover-free Saturday, will add a much-needed playmaking element to an team that was last in the SEC in total offense for 2014. 

His arm should present another challenge to a Bulldog secondary whose coverage of ULM’s Rashon Caesar last Saturday was underwhelming at best. It’ll be up to the Georgia D to put him under pressure that’ll force some more bad decisions. Otherwise, the Commodores could make this into a ballgame. 

At the end of the day, the Dawgs have an elite group of playmakers on offense in Nick Chubb, Malcolm Mitchell and others. If their execution is on par with what we saw last week, Georgia will have no trouble putting this game away late. But let Vandy hang around in front of a home crowd they’ve fed off of in our last two visits to Nashville, and all bets are off. 

The Prediction: Georgia 28, Vandy 14 

UGA vs. ULM Preview

For seven long months we’ve waited, trudging through endless days of tiresome anticipation with eyes cast toward fall. That seemingly infinite road we’ve traveled since the new year reaches its terminus Saturday at noon, when the Dawgs tee it up between the hedges in the 2015 season opener. 

Football season is back, and so is the UGA Paint Line. This year we begin our 17th season backing the Dawgs from row one of section 110, clad in our trademark red upper-body paint, wigs and aviators. 

The eyewear portion of that apparel will come in particularly handy Saturday, as we get a glimpse of what projects to be a very bright future for Georgia Football. The Louisiana-Monroe game will be the first action for a number of budding young stars who join forces with returning veterans on both sides of the ball. 

The newcomers to watch: Freshmen Trenton Thompson, Jonathan Ledbetter, Natrez Patrick, Michael Chigbu and Terry Godwin. Together with returning playmakers in Nick Chubb, Malcolm Mitchell, Leonard Floyd, Lorenzo Carter and Jordan Jenkins, they’ll put the Dawgs in position to contend for the SEC East title, and maybe more. 

Perhaps the fresh face Georgia fans will be most interested in seeing Saturday is Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert, who was picked Monday to take the first snaps of the season at quarterback over competitors Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta. His performance this year (and his staying power in the starting job behind center) will amount to a major factor in whether Georgia plays at a championship level this year or spends it building on moral victories in hopes of a playoff bid in 2016. 

Can the Dawgs do it this year? The search for an answer to that question should make this season one of the most exciting in recent memory. 

What’s unlikely to be in question is the outcome of Saturday’s contest versus the Warhawks, who’ll amount to more than a pushover but less than a serious test. They bring in a senior-laden defense that’s expected to challenge Georgia’s air and ground attacks early in the ballgame. But an offense led by first-year quarterback Garrett Smith won’t fare well over four quarters against a Bulldog defense that will continue to improve in a second season under Jeremy Pruitt. 

Lou-Monroe won a total of four games last year, going a respectable 3-5 in Sun Belt conference play, losing a good number of matches by single digits. Three of their more-lopsided losses came versus SEC opponents. While offseason narrative has them trending upward, series history strongly favors the Dawgs, who lead the scoring differential in three previous meetings 156-16. 

Expect Nick Chubb to reel off a number of highlight runs, and get a jump on topping his freshman numbers (1547 yards, a 7.1 per-carry average and 14 touchdowns) in what will be his first full year as the Dawgs’ feature back. He’ll play one part of what should be a very special 2015 season, and perhaps the precursor to a championship run in the years to come. 

Saturday will provide a taste of that promising future, and, at long last, a taste of football. 

How sweet it is. 

The Prediction: Georgia 37, Louisiana-Monroe 10 

UGA v GT Preview 2014

Christmas is a loving time of year, but before ringing in the month of December, we’ve got to get some clean, old fashioned hate out of the way.

With the SEC portion of the season behind us and an indefinitely-hopeful postseason still to come, there’s still some unfinished business to take care of on this last Saturday of November and the regular season: beating Georgia Tech.

No football season is complete without a win over the North Avenue Trade School. And when we don’t get one, Christmastime just isn’t the same.

The Dawgs will have an opportunity to make it six straight years of not knowing what that feels like on Saturday, when the Yellow Jackets buzz over from Atlanta in a flexbone formation to take their best shot at a Georgia defense that’s been a figurative bug lantern for half of the last decade.

Tech’s last win over the Dawgs came in 2008, Paul Johnson’s first year as head coach, when Josh Nesbitt, Jonathan Dwyer and Roddy Jones combined for 398 rushing yards against a discouraged Georgia defense on a rainy afternoon in Sanford Stadium.

That 45-42 defeat taught the Dawgs a lesson they still haven’t forgotten. Since that game, they’ve rattled off not one, not two, not three, not four, but five unanswered wins over the Jackets.

The rivalry’s 109th renewal on Saturday at noon will mark Jeremy Pruitt’s first-ever encounter with the triple option as a defensive coordinator, which is both exciting and concerning.

His last experience of a Johnson-style option offense came versus Georgia Southern three years ago when he was defensive secondary coach at Alabama. Though Pruitt has limited ownership of what took place in that ballgame, it still wasn’t a good day for the Tide’s defense. They won 45-21, but gave up three touchdowns and 341 yards, 302 of them on the ground.

He’d do well to call up his predecessor for some advice on how to draw up this week’s gameplan. Todd Grantham, now piloting the defense under Bobby Petrino at Louisville, was unbeaten in four tries against this Tech offense. No member of his defensive staff from any of those four years is still left in Athens, so minus the experience of Mark Richt, this team is essentially starting from square one in its preparation for the Jackets.

That’s not a good thing, seeing that this is probably the most dangerous edition of Tech’s option attack since their last win in the series. They have the third-highest rushing yardage total in the country this season, behind Georgia Southern and Wisconsin, with 3,607.

The Jackets spread their touches around pretty evenly, but they’re leading ball-carriers are Zach Laskey, Synjyn Days and the explosively-fast Justin Thomas. All three are a 25-yard run waiting to happen on every play, but Thomas, probably the fastest human being in the game of football right now, is the one you really want to be scared of.

He was the state of Alabama’s hundred-yard dash champion his senior year. And that speed has translated to the football field incredibly well in his first season starting under center. He’s already proven to be one of the best quarterbacks Johnson’s ever had when it comes to keeping the ball on the outside option play. Bite one notch too hard as a linebacker or safety and he’ll take it to the house on you in a heartbeat. The Georgia defense needs to keep tabs on where he’s at all game long if they expect to keep his scoring threat in check.

The Dawgs also can’t afford to turn the ball over and give him a short field. The Jackets’ execution in those situations this year has been second to none, and a big reason for their nine wins against a seemingly-difficult ACC schedule. They’ve gotten handed possession of the football like no other team in their conference this year, and have taken full advantage.

Both teams protect the football as if their HOPE scholarship eligibility depended on it. Tech’s +10 turnover margin is ninth-best in the nation, seven spots behind Georgia – the No. 2 team in football at +16. Safe to say we may not see a fumble or an interception Saturday, and if we do, it could be hugely-pivotal.

This game will be won on the ground, and lost by the defense that allows one too many rushing touchdowns. Much of the difference in the outcome will be made in the trenches, depending on which offensive and defensive line wins the battle.

Georgia’s defensive front was stout against nearly everything Auburn tried to do between the tackles two Saturdays ago. Part of the reason the defensive backs were able to make tackles on the perimeter was that they didn’t have to worry about much of anything getting past the big fellas on the interior of the D-line.

Just the same this week, sealing off the lanes Tech gets to run the toss and speed option plays outside begins with shutting down dive, trap and midline runs inside. To do that, the Dawgs need another big game from Mike Thornton, Toby Johnson, Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd in that front seven.

But the dominance of Georgia’s defense versus Auburn shouldn’t be taken as any indicator of how it’ll play against the Jackets. Years past should go to show you that containing this offense is never a certainty, and it sure won’t be on Saturday.

Fasten your seatbelts for this one. It oughtta be a wild ride.

The Prediction: Georgia 31, Tech 27

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we want to express our gratitude this week for the many things God has blessed us with, including freedom, family and football. We’re also thankful for the opportunity he’s given us to attend the greatest university in America, and for one final chance this season to paint up in support of the Dawgs.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, wherever in the Bulldog Nation that may take you. But be sure to make it back to Athens in time to join us bright and earlySaturday morning as we watch Georgia take care of business versus the Jackets.

(Written by Mr. Clay Reynolds. Clay is a senior at UGA, majoring in Journalism, who has painted with the Paint Line as an alternate in the past. As a passionate Dawg fan and sports enthusiast Clay has graciously stepped up this year as our resident writer! Thank you Clay!)