Riding a 4-game winning streak into Nashville on Saturday night, Georgia needs to continue to win to keep pace with South Carolina in the SEC East. This game has all the makings of a trap game for the Bulldogs, who are coming off two consecutive weeks of must-win games against Mississippi State and Tennessee and a showdown looming in two weeks on the banks of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville with the Gators. If we go into Vanderbilt Stadium to take care of business, Georgia wins by three scores or more. If not, who knows what may happen if this team gets into a tight game with an overmatched opponent.
When Vanderbilt Has the Ball
The Georgia defense has played hard all season long especially over the last 5 weeks. Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera have both played extremely well in place of the injured Alec Ogletree as well as in relief of the healing Christian Robinson at inside linebacker. Vandy has scored a total of 3 points the last two weeks in losses to South Carolina and Alabama. The 3 points against South Carolina are significant because that was in spite of 4 Stephen Garcia interceptions. To call them “offensively challenged” is not an understatement. Last year’s defense without an every down nose tackle shut out the Commodores in Athens, so this defense should be able to control Vandy’s offense without being put into poor field position by turnovers or special teams miscues.
When Georgia Has the Ball
The Georgia offense still hasn’t put together a 60-minute performance without major mistakes and a lot of scoring against a D-1 defense. Vandy has good players on their defense and will provide a challenge to the Dawgs’ offense. If we can stay away from the big turnover, we should be able to score enough points to win and manage field position where the Vandy offense has to drive the length of the field to generate points. I’m not sure what we’re going to look like on offense without Malcolm Mitchell on the outside to provide a deep threat. I have a feeling that Murray and Tavarres King have been working together to get on the same page. It would be nice to fool the smart kid again:
What Will Happen
This game really comes down to whether the Dawgs are interested or not. Either way, I think Georgia wins, but the Dawgs’ mindset will drive the final margin. I think it’s clear from comments from the players this week that the defense is playing with pride and in fear of the wrath of Coach Grantham. Coach Richt has been happy to play around his defense like in the early part of his tenure. We’ll see more of the same this week with a win more dominant than the score indicates.
Final Score: Georgia 28, Vanderbilt 10