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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: ABC, ESPN or ESPN 2. Home Record: UGA 5-1, GT 5-1. Away Record: UGA 1-3, GT 2-3. Neutral Record: UGA 1-0, GT 0-0. Conference Record: UGA 5-3, GT 5-3. Series Record: Georgia leads, 63-39-5.
GAME NOTES: The regular season comes to a close for both the Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, as the intrastate rivals meet on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia, a national championship hopeful at the start of the season, has not lived up to those lofty expectations as it sits at 7-4 overall, with a 5-3 record in the SEC. The Bulldogs have won three of their last four games, most recently dismantling Kentucky in their conference finale last Saturday, 59-17, but that triumph came with a huge price as they lost star quarterback Aaron Murray for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Georgia Tech, meanwhile, has overachieved this season, and since suffering a three-game losing streak earlier in the year, has won four of five, including a 66-7 romp of Alabama A&M last weekend. At 5-3 in the ACC, the Yellow Jackets are still alive for a share of the Coastal Division crown if Duke slips up in its matchup with North Carolina. Georgia Tech defeated the Blue Devils back on Sept. 14, 38-14.
The Bulldogs hold a 63-39-5 advantage over the Yellow Jackets in the all-time series. They have been especially dominant in recent years with wins in 11 of the previous 12 matchups.
Georgia's offense has been outstanding this season, averaging 37.9 points and 494.6 yards per game, but those numbers are surely to suffer with a new signal caller.
The Bulldogs have been ravaged by injuries on offense this season, but few players are as irreplaceable as Murray, who is the SEC's all-time leader in passing yards (13,166) and touchdowns (131). The injury not only prematurely ended his historic collegiate career, but will also likely hinder his stock in next spring's NFL Draft. For the first time since the 2009 season, UGA will have a new starting quarterback when Hutson Mason (24-of-35, 349 yards, two TDs, INT) lines up under center on Saturday.
Without Murray, the Bulldogs' will likely lean even more heavily on Todd Gurley, who missed three games of his own with an ankle injury but has still picked up 781 rushing yards, 308 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.
Mason has a solid receiving corps to work with, including Chris Conley (35 receptions, 476 yards, four TDs), Michael Bennett (34 receptions, 430 yards, three TDs) and Rantavious Wooten (28 receptions, 403 yards, five TDs).
Aside from the injuries on the offensive side of the ball, Georgia has also been hindered this season by poor play on defense, as it allows 29.0 points per game and has forced just 12 turnovers.
Ramik Wilson is one of the nation's top tacklers with 119, and he has also added 10 TFL and 4.0 sacks to his stat line. Garrison Smith (6.0 sacks, two FF) and Leonard Floyd (6.5 sacks. two FF) have done a solid job at getting after the quarterback.
Georgia Tech has also been strong on offense this season, as it scores 36.8 points per game behind the nation's fourth-ranked rushing offense (316.1 ypg).
The Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack is spearheaded by quarterback Vad Lee, who has rushed for 426 yards and six touchdowns. His passing numbers aren't great -- .471 completion percentage, seven interceptions -- but he has amassed 1,182 yards (17.9 yards per completion) and eight touchdowns.
The squad employs several rushers en route to its lofty totals on the ground, as 12 different players have at least 100 yards. David Sims (130 carries, 746 yards, 11 TDs) is the most utilized tailback, while Robert Godhigh (623 yards, six TDs) averages an outstanding 10.9 yards per carry. Zach Laskey (446 yards, seven touchdowns) has also been stellar.
Although the volume isn't high for the receivers, their connections usually go for big plays. DeAndre Smelter (312 yards, two TDs), Godhigh (338 yards, two TDs), Darren Waller (220 yards, two TDs) and Michael Summers (188 yards) all average at least 15 yards per catch.
Unlike its opposition, Georgia Tech has a defense that can properly support its great offense, as it allows just 21.0 points and 342.6 yards per game.
Quayshawn Nealy (47 tackles) has been active in the turnover battle with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Jeremiah Attaochu (11.5 TFL, 8.0 sacks) and Adam Gotsis (11.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks) have been impressive along the defensive line.
This rivalry game was already made much more interesting than in seasons past considering Georgia's underperforming campaign, but now intrigue is even higher without Murray calling the plays for the Bulldogs. With an unproven commodity under center for UGA, expect the Yellow Jackets to feast defensively on their way to a solid win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 31, Georgia 17
11/27 11:12:30 ET
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