Look what the cat dragged in...It's officially "Hate Week" in Georgia, as the Bulldogs get set to take on Georgia Tech this weekend.
This game is about bragging rights, and both sides are already in top form as the vitriol has started to spew on both Twitter and in the blogosphere. That said, no allegiances will be stated here—we can leave that for the comment section.
As always, this is an unbiased look at the Yellow Jackets and what Georgia Bulldog fans can expect from the Ramblin' Wreck come Saturday:
1. The loss of Josh Nesbitt is big, but not a game changer.
Josh Nesbitt won't be available to play in the game, but Tevin Washington has proven to be very effective as a rusher in the last two contests, and he's becoming more comfortable running Paul Johnson's offense.
If he can get it going in Athens, he could be one of the biggest factors on Saturday.
2. Anthony Allen has gotten better.
Last season, Allen flashed moments of brilliance, but it was clear that both Jonathan Dwyer and Josh Nesbitt were the keys to the Georgia Tech success. This season, Allen has become a solid option in Tech's offense—logging four 100+ yard rushing games this season.
3. They eat a lot of clock.
As was the case last season, Tech consumes a lot of time off the clock when they are allowed to run their offense efficiently.
If Georgia expects to give their offense a chance and limit the defense's time on the field, they will need to force the Jackets into third-and-long situations. To date, Tech completes less than 30 percent of passes thrown on third downs of more than seven yards.
4. The offensive line is still finding its legs.
While Nesbitt covered up some of the deficiencies of Georgia Tech's offensive line, Tevin Washington's presence has made them a bit easier to spot. So far, in the month of November, the Jackets have given up seven sacks for a loss of 28-yards.
By contrast, from August through October, that same line yielded eight sacks for 43-yards.
It's obvious that the youth on the line is beginning to show a few more chinks as the season wears on, and the team breaks in a new quarterback—Georgia would be wise to take advantage of that.
5. They don't have a game breaker in their return game.
While B.J. Bostic is a respectable kick return man, he's not the type of guy you're likely to be scared of during kickoffs—neither is Jerrard Tarrant in the punt return game. So, it's clear that Tech is content to do most of their damage via the running game during play execution.
Georgia needs to concentrate on giving the Jackets a long field. Don't give up any big chunks in the return game as that would only shorten the field for an already dangerous rushing attack.
6. This series has been a lot closer under Paul Johnson.
Georgia fans hold tightly to that seven game winning streak they exacted over Tech upon coach Richt's initial arrival, but all that has changed under Paul Johnson.
In two match-ups, with Johnson at the helm, Tech is 1-1, and the largest margin of victory for Georgia is six points. This game is much more even now than it was before, and Georgia fans should not take that point for granted—especially this season.
7. They are suspect against the run.
For all the worry the option offense will give the defense, the offense should feel like they have a shot to make up some ground. Washaun Ealey and Caleb King ran all over and through Tech's defense last season and, although they sport a new scheme under Al Groh, they haven't fared much better in 2010.
So far, they are giving up better than 5.50 yards per carry in the month of November.
If Murray and company can exploit that number, they won't have much trouble executing their offense either.
8. Tech is bowl eligible but they have something else to play for in this game...
If Tech wins, they could keep Georgia out of a bowl game for the first time in 14 years—which, coincidentally, is also the last time neither of these two teams was ranked entering this game.
9. They are still looking for a play-maker on defense.
The loss of both Morgan Burnett and Derrick Morgan has been tough to overcome. While Brad Jefferson has performed well, and both Jerrard Terrant and Domonique Reece have offered some good play in the secondary, Tech has lacked that one guy who can take over the game defensively and rally the team.
Perhaps, much like Georgia, this factor has more to do with personnel still struggling to perform well in a new scheme. Whatever the case, the defense hasn't been nearly as tough as it was last season.
10. They are prone to fumbles.
Tech has lost 14 of their 29 fumbles this season—116th in the nation.
That said, Georgia ranks 70th in opponent fumble recoveries. If they can increase that percentage for this one game, they could significantly improve that ranking.
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