Georgia Sports Communications/For Immediate Release
ATHENS—–With the Georgia Tech game drawing near, the Georgia Bulldogs conducted a two-hour practice Wednesday at the Club Sports Complex on Milledge Avenue.
Georgia’s Kirby Smart participated in the SEC Coaches weekly media teleconference earlier in the day and said the Bulldogs are focused on sending out the Georgia seniors on a positive note.
“This is a great rivalry game, and we’re excited to get an opportunity to play at home and recognize a great group of seniors,” said Smart. “We have some really good senior leaders. They’ve helped tremendously to make this transition smooth for our staff.”
Georgia looks to finish the 2016 regular season on a four-game winning streak. Three weeks ago, Georgia was 4-4 and facing a Kentucky squad in Lexington that was a win away from moving into first place in the Eastern Division. However, the Bulldogs responded with a thrilling 27-24 win over the Wildcats and then followed that with an impressive 13-7 upset of No. 8 Auburn and a 35-21 victory over Louisiana.
Both teams enter Saturday with a 7-4 mark. Tech has won four of its past five games, the lone blemish in that stretch came to No. 18 North Carolina, 48-20 in Chapel Hill. The Bulldogs opened the year with a 33-24 decision over UNC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Saturday’s winner earns the Governor’s Cup Trophy, and Georgia has hoisted the hardware in 13 of the past 15 seasons.
Tech’s triple-option attack is averaging 260.3 rushing yards a game, which leads the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranks ninth nationally. Georgia’s run defense has allowed only 133.4 yards a game. Also of note, Tech senior quarterback Justin Thomas has tallied 1,290 passing yards with eight touchdown passes.
“Our secondary has to provide run-support every week, but especially this week when you face team that runs 75-80 percent of the time,” said Smart. “You have to have eye control and discipline. It’s a challenge, and we’re working hard at it.”
Georgia’s rushing attack is led by junior tailback Nick Chubb, who needs only 92 yards to move into second place all-time in Georgia history for career rushing yards. Currently, he sits in fourth with 3,194 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259), Todd Gurley (3,285) and Garrison Hearst (3,232).
“Nick’s pretty special, you see where he ranks among the greatest running back here at Georgia and that speaks for itself,” said Smart. “He’s a special talent who works hard at his trade. We see it everyday in practice, and we saw it in how he approached his rehabilitation and returned from his injury. He attacked it. He always brings great energy and is a really good leader.”
Georgia’s running game starts with Chubb and junior Sony Michel. In his career, Michel now has 2,154 rushing yards, and he needs 118 yards to move into the top 10 in Bulldog history. Michel, a native of Plantation, Fla., said he’s looking forward to Thanksgiving before the big Tech game.
“My family is coming up and spending time with me and going to the game Saturday,” said Michel. “It is nice to have that option. Some players will be going home, but my family will be spending time here with me. Some of the coaches will also be holding dinner at their house for those players who can’t make it home or whose family can’t travel, so we are lucky to have several options.”