They call it “Clean, Old Fashioned Hate” whenever Georgia and Georgia Tech meet, and the two bitter rivals get together Saturday in Atlanta with far more than in-state bragging rights on the line – and for completely different reasons. The seventh-ranked Bulldogs, already assured of an SEC championship game appearance, need a victory to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive, while the Yellow Jackets must win to become bowl eligible for the 20th time in 21 seasons.
Its margin for error removed after a 23-point loss at Auburn the week before, Georgia returned to form last week, gashing Kentucky for 381 yards rushing and five touchdowns on the ground in a 42-13 rout to win for the 10th time in 11 games and completing a season sweep of the SEC East. “I’m proud of the fight, resiliency and the character that was exposed,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters after the Bulldogs scored the game’s final 21 points. The Yellow Jackets are trending in the opposite direction, losing an early 14-3 advantage in falling 43-20 to a Duke team that had lost six in a row. “They went through us like we weren’t even there,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson told the media after his Yellow Jackets were ripped for 500 yards of total offense by the Blue Devils.
TV: Noon ET, ABC. LINE: Georgia -11
ABOUT GEORGIA (10-1): Running back Nick Chubb rushed for 151 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns last week and Sony Michel added three touchdowns on 87 yards on the ground. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm bounced back from a tough day at Auburn to complete 9-of-14 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, as the Bulldogs bumped their scoring average to 35.3 points. The Georgia defense ranks fourth nationally in points allowed per game (14.4).
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (5-5): Quarterback TaQuon Marshall has rushed for 100 yards or more six times in 10 games and has 1,074 yards on the season. Running back KirVonte Benson also has surpassed 1,000 rushing yards on the season (1,009). The Yellow Jackets allowed points on eight of 10 Duke drives last week, but are 5-0 at home this season (losing a neutral-site game to Tennessee in the season opener).
1. Georgia Tech is 29th nationally (fourth in the ACC) in total defense, allowing 342.6 yards per game.
2. Georgia LB Roquan Smith is a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy and the Butkus Award, leading the Bulldogs with 91 tackles on the season.
3. The Bulldogs have won the past eight meetings in Atlanta dating back to 2001, while Georgia Tech won in Athens in 2014 and last season.
PREDICTION: Georgia 37, Georgia Tech 24