Saturday, November 30, 2013

Georgia - Georgia Tech: One Statistic Has Dominated This Game In The Mark Richt Era

Today represents Georgia Tech's best chance to beat their bitter in state rival since 2009. The Yellow Jackets are also looking to break a home losing streak to the Bulldogs that stretches back to 1999.

UGA will be without fifth-year senior QB Aaron Murray who was added last week to the litany of the injuries for Mark Richt's team this season.  Hutson Mason came on relief last week leading Georgia to a rout of Kentucky. 

Here are 6 thoughts on today's rendition of Clean, Old Fashioned Hate:

1. The talent advantage for UGA is MASSIVE.  Since 2009, Georgia has signed a total of 117 players.  Of those 116 players, 62 have been 4 or 5 star players.  Over HALF of UGA's signees in the last 5 classes are 4 or 5 star players.  Meanwhile, Georgia Tech has signed just 94 players since 2009 and only 9 are 4 stars (no 5 stars).  Two of the four star players were injured and are not playing today. 

2. This is Paul Johnson's best chance to beat UGA since 2009 when he seemingly had the upper hand in the rivalry.  His Jackets bested the Dogs in Athens the previous year and were 10-1 heading into the game.  But UGA pounded out over 300 yards rushing, held the ball, and beat BCS bound Tech with Joe Cox at QB (an no AJ Green).  Mason is certainly capable of repeating. especially because...

3. Todd Gurley is the key to this game.  When the Sophomore tailback was hurt, Georgia nearly lost to Tennessee, lost to Vanderbilt, and lost to Missouri.  While losing Murray stung the Bulldog hearts, losing Gurley would be the MUCH, MUCH bigger loss.  Look for GT to stack the box and force Mason to beat one-on-one coverage.  If Gurley gets off, UGA gets out with the win.

4. Back to Johnson and this rivalry.  He has put his foot in his mouth before about this game and I don't think he will make that mistake again.  A 7-4 Bulldog team with a backup QB gives Tech their best chance in a few years and maybe again for a few years as UGA will be more experienced on defense next season.  A loss would mean the fifth in a row for Johnson and only one coach has lost six in a row, his predecessor Chan Gailey. 

5. Under Mark Richt, UGA is 11-1 against Georgia Tech.  Richt was hired after Jim Donnan lost three straight to Georgia Tech.  Richt has five wins in the series by a total of 30 points.  Georgia knows how to win the close games. 

6. The key to those close wins and the series dominance has been turnovers.  In the 12 Richt vs GT meetings, the Bulldogs have forced 31 turnovers while only giving up 12.  In Richt's lone loss, UGA lost the turnover battle 2 to 1.  Last season, Georgia Tech actually outgained Georgia but lost by 32 points because of turnovers.

The only way UGA loses today is if they are severely out coached or they lose the turnover battle.  Even with the loss of Aaron Murray the Bulldogs have so much more talent and that is embodied by Todd Gurley who I think is the difference today for Georgia as they cover -3.

Georgia 34  Georgia Tech 28

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