Time For Georgia To Turn Page To Tennessee

John Kelley/ GeorgiaDogs.com

ATHENS, Ga.— Last weekend inside Sanford Stadium was definitely one to forget with the Alabama Crimson Tide having their way with Georgia en route to a 38-10 loss. Now, it is time for the Bulldogs to turn their attention to the Tennessee Volunteers on the road at Neyland Stadium.

This rivalry with the Vols has taken an interesting turn over the last few seasons, with Georgia winning the last four meetings by no more than eight points. They have won the last two meetings by three points.

In 2013, it was an overtime fumble into the end zone and then a Marshall Morgan field goal to win it. Last year, the difference was a fumble recovery in the end zone by Josh Dawson on a run by then freshman running back Jalen Hurd to put them up 35-25 at the time. Georgia would win the game 35-32.

Now, the Bulldogs have to rebound from the loss and head coach Mark Richt is trying to help them do that.

“Well, I think that the good news is it only counted as one loss,” Richt said. “I mean that was enough of a game where it could have counted as two. But it was one loss. And so that’s good. And when you get beat that way, it certainly gets everybody’s attention.”

The Bulldogs were faced with a similar situation in 2012, when they were beaten soundly by the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road. However, they were able to bounce back to finish the season 11-1 and played against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Senior wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was part of that team and knows what it takes to be able to bounce back from such a tough game.

“You learn from it,” Mitchell said. “I know it’s kind of cliché for people to say you learn from your mistakes or when you get knocked down you get up. But that’s what you have to do. You have to let the bad make you better any way possible. That’s what we have to do moving forward in the season because the last thing you want to do is let something that happened the previous week affect you in the upcoming weeks. That’s when a season goes downhill.”

Last week, Georgia only ran the ball for 193 yards against the Crimson Tide. Before that game, they had not run for any less than 243 yards against Louisiana-Monroe in the season opener.

Tennessee is currently 79th in the nation for run defense and just gave up 275 yards on the ground to the Arkansas Razorbacks. This means that Georgia could be facing the perfect time to get their ground game back on track.

Does this mean that sophomore running back Sony Michel and crew will be ready to take advantage of this opportunity?

“I won’t say it encourages us, because they are going to do some game planning,” Michel said. “They know we are a running team, so I’m sure they are going to make adjustments to try and stop the run. I can’t really say whether or not that encourages us, we are going to go into this game and try and do what we do.”

Tennessee will no doubt be hungry to get a huge win this season, when they meet with Georgia. This especially true, given the fact they’ve lost three out of their last four games and are 0-2 in SEC play.

Senior linebacker Jordan Jenkins definitely expects the Vols to be fired up for this game and expects the fans to be as well.

“One of the biggest things is just how loud it’s going to get in that stadium; really just keeping your composure with all of that crowd noise,” Jenkins said. “As a defense, we just have to prepare for the skill players. They’ve got some great athletes.”

In the month of October, Georgia will play three games against SEC East opponents. After this weekend’s game against Tennessee, they’ll return home next weekend for the Missouri Tigers and then hit the road for their annual meeting with the Florida Gators in Jacksonville.

If history repeats itself, Georgia will no doubt hope to be facing an undefeated Florida team in that game. A win could really put their season back on track towards reaching Atlanta and beyond.

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