UGA remains No. 7 in College Football Playoff rankings

UGA football has remained No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings for Nov. 21 following their 42-13 win over Kentucky on Saturday.

Alabama holds the top spot for the second straight week, and the Crimson Tide are followed by (2) Miami FL, (3) Clemson, (4) Oklahoma, (5) Wisconsin, and (6) Auburn.

The Bulldogs are still in good position to be selected to the College Football Playoff if they win at Georgia Tech and vs. Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Check out the full rankings below. The final College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Sunday, Dec. 3 and the top four teams move on to the College Football Playoff.

College Football Playoff Rankings (Nov. 21)

1. Alabama
2. Miami FL
3. Clemson
4. Oklahoma
5. Wisconsin
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Notre Dame
9. Ohio State
10. Penn State
11. USC
12. TCU
13. Washington State
14. Mississippi State
15. UCF
16. Michigan State
17. Washington
18. LSU
19. Oklahoma State
20. Memphis
21. Stanford
22. Northwestern
23. Boise State
24. South Carolina
25. Virginia Tech

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will release their Top 25 rankings each week on Tuesday through Nov. 28.

On Sunday, Dec. 3 at noon ET on ESPN, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will announce the Playoff Semifinal pairings and semifinal bowl assignments. Those will be followed by the pairings for the remainder of the New Year’s Six bowl games.

College Football Playoff Schedule

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Clean Old Fashioned Hate – turnovers

I mentioned yesterday the importance of winning time of possession. The fact is that last year we won time of possession against Tech, although the second half was a near 50/50 split.

However, we didn’t protect the football, which is part of the reason why our defense was playing that last Tech drive with their hands on their hips in between plays. Our first three second half possessions went field goal, touchdown, field goal. But the last three went punt, interception, interception. (VIA)

The difference this season is that this team knows how to close a game. The coaches know how to make the adjustments and communicate them effectively to the players.

Plus, Georgia is a decently good +2 on the season in turnover margin, while Tech is -4. (VIA)

A lot of people are poking Tech fans over that loss last weekend to Duke. And yes, it was ugly. But it tells me Johnson will have these enginerds ready to play. There’s no game that means more to him than the last of the season.

But the reality is that we are way too talented to lose to Tech. Protect the football and keep the defense rested and it should be a fun one for us to watch.

Don’t do those things, and we should just prepare to gnash the teeth deep into the fourth quarter.

Georgia’s Roquan Smith named 2017 Bednarik Award finalist

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith has been named one of three finalists for the 2017 Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player.

Smith, a native of Montezuma, Ga., joins North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick as finalists.

The winner of the 23rd Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 7. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Gala, which will be held at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., on March 9, 2018.

Former Bulldog All-American David Pollack is the only Georgia player to ever win the Bednarik Award. Smith is already a finalist for the Butkus Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Smith, a midseason All-American, is on pace to lead the Bulldogs in tackles for the second consecutive season with 91 stops through 11 games (8.3 tackles/game) and has one of the team’s eight forced fumbles. He has directed a defense that is ranked as one of the country’s best in Scoring Defense (14.4 pts./game, fourth nationally), Total Defense (276.1 yds./game, fifth nationally), Rushing Defense (105.6 yds./game, sixth nationally) and Pass Defense (170.5 yds./game, 10th nationally).

The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-4 ACC) on Saturday in Bobby Dodd Stadium. ABC will televise the matchup at 12 p.m.

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Smart, Bulldogs preview 2017 Georgia Tech game

ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, previewed the upcoming game against Georgia Tech with media on Monday. The Bulldogs take on the Yellow Jackets at 12:00 p.m. ET Saturday in Atlanta.

Smart and the Bulldogs offered the following comments on Monday.

Head Coach Kirby Smart

Opening comments…

“We’ll start preparing today for Georgia Tech and the team. With Thanksgiving break going on they have a little more time, which is good this week, especially, because they get to come in and watch a little extra tape against a unique offense that we don’t get to face every week. I know our kids and our seniors will be excited to go play in Atlanta and also play a team that the last three years has beaten us twice, so it gives us an opportunity to send these seniors out the right way. And a great rivalry game that’s been in this state for a long time, I think they have got a really good offensive football team and a very good defensive football team that is doing a really good job on third downs. I think Coach Roof does a good job executing and they’re very sound in what they do, and obviously Coach Johnson is one of the best in the business at what he does. He knows the answers to it, he knows the problems with it, and you’re not going to trick him. You got to be very disciplined and you got to do a great job of getting off blocks and tackling the man with the ball. So that will be the objective this week as we prepare for Georgia Tech.

On the elements of Georgia Tech’s defense that has been described as “dangerous”…
“There’s cut blocks, but there’s cut blocks in all of football. They’re just really good at what they do. They’re probably better at it than most people because they work really hard at it and it’s what they specialize in. Everybody’s got what they’re good at, that’s what they’re best at is running the football. And they do it on the perimeter, inside, outside, they mix it up, they wait and see what you do and they have got answers for what you do. So at the end of the day it is your job to stop it and that’s what we got to do. That’s the challenge ahead.

There’s danger in all of football, isn’t there? So you got to do a good job of executing, playing the blocks. And we’re allowed to cut them, too.”

On preparing for an offense you only see once a season…

“It’s a challenge. It’s why they’re really effective offensively, because they’re not the norm any more. People don’t prepare to play that. When you think about high school football, it used to be that people ran the triple in high school offenses and a lot of the most successful programs in this state had been a part of that. It’s slowly gone the other way, where teams, it’s almost like a dinosaur, people don’t do it any more, so people don’t know how to defend it. So it’s challenging. The kids on your defense didn’t come from high school programs that had to play against it, where, back in the day, they might have done that more often. So that’s the game within the game. That’s the motivating factor for our players to go out and — they’re trying to win one for the seniors, trying to win one for the University of Georgia and they’re playing a unique style of offense and they got to buy into that, they got to embrace it. I think our seniors will. As a matter of fact I know they will, they have already talked to me about some ways we’re going to practice and things we’re going to do to help with that. So I’m excited about that part and they’re ready to take the challenge on.”

On the preparations for playing Georgia Tech prior to this week…
“A lot more than we did last year. We have taken every Monday in the season and we have targeted certain amount of time each Monday, depending upon who our opponent was, towards Tech periods.  I felt like you have to familiarize yourself, really the players, if nothing more than your scout team, scout team can only be so efficient doing something they don’t do all the time, but they can be as efficient as possible. So those Mondays have been really critical for them, those Mondays have been critical for our young players who haven’t been exposed to it. We have worked really hard on that. And then we spent some time in the off week, but the off week we spend time on all of our upcoming opponents but Georgia Tech being one of those, we did work on them.”

On Georgia’s success of playing in Atlanta although it’s difficult to play on the road…
“I think it’s been more to do with the fact that Georgia has played well there. I think a lot of the kids are at home, a lot of kids are from that area. I don’t really know what to attribute that to. Usually has something to do with the X’s and O’s and the players involved in the game.  I haven’t really been part of that series for a long time, so I can’t attribute it to anything.”

On the importance of proving Georgia’s red zone defense against Georgia Tech…
“Well it’s important, but you got to take all your stats and all your numbers and just throw them out because what we have done in the red zone has zero to do with Georgia Tech. So Georgia Tech will not be concerned with what we do in the red zone because nothing that we have done is indicative of what they will do. You know what I mean? Their offense is completely different. So we have got to play good red zone defense in this game and we did not do that last year, but what we have done up to this point has nothing to do with what’s going to transpire on Saturday.”

On his philosophy of the pass rush…
“My philosophy is to get after the quarterback, to affect the quarterback, to make it hard on him to execute. But it’s easier in football to hand the ball off to someone and run it than it is to throw it to someone and catch it. So if you don’t stop the run, you don’t control the run game, you will not be able to stop anything. So, the important thing for us is always to affect the quarterback. This game’s completely unique, playing Georgia Tech has nothing to do with that, I’m assuming you’re talking about a base philosophy, but the philosophy is to get after the quarterback, the philosophy is to make it difficult on him through coverage, through rush, through everything. But first and second down you have to be able to convert to a pass rush, because you got to be able to stop the run. Our defensive front is built to stop the run, it’s not built to rush the passer with a 300-pound man that’s playing nose guard or 4 I. That’s not what they’re build to do. They have to be able to convert, they got to be able to push the pocket, you got to affect them with disguise, bat balls, and then when you get a chance to get after them, you got to get after them, but that’s not really this week.

You always want to, when they pass it, they have got to get after the quarterback, everybody’s got to be able to get after the quarterback, ultimately. You want to be able to get sacks, get lost yardage plays, but we have had more TFL’s this year than we have been having, so we have changed some in regard to that because a tackle for a loss essentially is a sack, even though it’s a run play.”

On Georgia’s run/pass ratio and if the run game will carry the Bulldogs to a championship…
“I think that each game is different. I think each opponent is different. I think that you have a base foundation of balance and balance is what we want. Some of our imbalance this year has been indicated by the games, the scores. If you take one-score games and you do the ratio run-to-pass it’s not going to be the same as the games that we have had leads and we’re running the clock out. There’s a distinct difference in those. So to be able to win a championship you got to have balance. We continue to improve on our balance- our ability to throw the ball down the field, our ability to open things up. But if we open things up and threw the ball down the field, I would beg to question what we’re doing with #27 and #1 the rest of the time. So it’s a Catch-22 to be balanced, but at the end of the day to win you got to be able to do both and you play really good teams you got to be able to do both. But we have also had some statistics this year that are probably not exactly accurate when you talk about leads in the games.”

On the discipline needed in rivalry games…
“Well you said the word. The word’s discipline. It’s not about what they do, it’s not about anything they say or anything they do before the game. That controls nothing of the outcome of the game. Our focus and concentration is on playing our best football game. Our job is to go over there and get ready to play at noon, get ready to go and get after it and have the best possible plan we can put together to allow our players to be successful. Their focus has to be on executing the plan, not on all the drama with the rivalry.

The leaders have to control the message throughout the week. You’ve already made a decision on Monday what you’re going to do on Saturday when a guy shoves you. And you either make the decision to do the wrong thing or you make the decision to do the right thing. We talk to our players all the time about that. It’s something they have to be able to control. They have to have discipline; they have to make good decisions in the heat of the moment. A rivalry is a rivalry, I’ll be honest with you, our guys want to win every game. We have a lot of rivalries and this is one of the biggest ones. But our guys have to make good decisions in the heat of the moment, because the heat of the moment’s going to happen.”

On Malik Herring’s increasing role on the D-line…
“He’s very conscientious about his job. He’s very prideful in knowing what to do. He’s increased his role throughout the year because he’s continued to get better. He works kind of half the day on our scout team and does a good job working down there. He gives good effort and we tell him he earns reps with us by how he performs on the scout team and he’s done a good job of that. He had a little more role last week, so he was able to go in and play some. He’ll continue to grow that role this week. He’s extremely athletic; I think he’s a talented young man that’s got to continue to get bigger and more physical.”

On the contributions to the program of the seniors who returned for this season…
“I go into each off-season with a plan to talk to the third year guys. I’ll be honest with you, you know, that’s not, you really shouldn’t be leaving after your third year unless you’re going to be a first, maybe a second round pick, depending upon the positions. So I think that every year you go into that with that approach and if they understand what’s best for them, then they usually handle that the right way. So I’m really proud of these guys that decided to stay, because I think it was the right decision for each one of them individually. That’s the most important thing. The next thing is, what have they done for this team? They have been great leaders off the field. I know you see it on the field, but you don’t get to see it in the meeting room, you don’t get to see it when a guy’s late, you don’t see it when a guy does some undisciplined penalty out of bounds and they grab the guy. That part is what they bring of setting a standard, the standard that we want to play to, they help set that standard. So the guys that are younger in the room, they will then try to emulate the older guys. And when you have that, you have what you want. To have seniors, usually the best teams in the country, they have seniors, because the seniors have been there the most, they make the least mistakes, they have been through it, they’re very calm and that’s what our group has been, good leaders for this team.”

On the eye discipline needed for the secondary to avoid deep passes down field…
“Yeah, that’s exactly what you just said, eye discipline. It’s what got us last year. You don’t have good eye discipline, you don’t have good eye transfer, they can get you. And they watch every play. They know when you mess one up. It doesn’t take them long to figure out, whoops, he’s not looking at the right thing, and then they expose you. And you say, well the alternative is don’t be so aggressive with them, but you have to stop the run and they do a good job with what they do. It’s one of the focuses of this week- is doing my job, executing my job, having great eye discipline, eye transfer. Everybody you talk to that plays them that’s one thing they come back to is not giving up the cheap, easy touchdowns. When you watch them play throughout the year, they have hit bomb after bomb after bomb, people have the same problem. So it’s an eye discipline thing and you have to play really well on the back end.”

On Lorenzo Carter’s improvements this season…

“Well, biggest thing he’s become an every down player. He’s gotten a little bigger, gotten more physical, he’s been able to play some in nickel packages. We moved him around so that he could play field boundary. He can do different things, he can stand up, match patterns. He’s improved that part of his game and that’s the part that he probably needed to improve the most and I’m glad he came back to do it.”
On the relationship between Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and their ability to share plays without ego getting involved…
“Well, it gives you a confident coaching staff. Certainly you feel good about either guy being in. They don’t have egos, that’s the beauty of those two guys. Sony probably could have gone anywhere in the country, just like Nick probably could have. They chose to come together and what started as a really good rivalry has become one of the best friendships in college football. Those two guys deserve every accolade they get if not more and they are what college football’s all about. They’re unselfish, they’re program guys, they represent the university the right way. I mean, when you start talking about ambassadors for this program, they will be ambassadors for a long time.”

On Roquan Smith being named one of the five finalists for the Butkus Award…
“Well I think it says a lot to his overall leadership, the way he’s played, the passion and energy he plays with. It says a lot about the defensive front in front of him who have been able to hold people and keep people off of him to allow him to make the plays. He’ll be the first to tell you that when he goes unblocked, he’s a really good player. Those guys up front deserve a lot of that for taking on 600, 700 pounds a lot of times so that Roquan gets to run free and he’s done a tremendous job of leading this defense. He is the signal caller, bell cow, spokesperson, he does a great job of that and no greater honor than to be considered among the best in the country at your position and he’s very deserving of that.”

— — 

Senior NT #97 John Atkins

One facing the Georgia Tech triple-option offense…

“You have to be disciplined. You have to be eye disciplined. You have to be technique sound.”

On the remaining games this season…

“That’s what a lot of guys came back for. We’re not really thinking about the SEC Championship game, we just have to go out there and play hard.”

On improving Georgia’s red zone defense this year…

“Last year, our whole red zone defense wasn’t that good. That’s been the main objective the whole year, is to get better on our red zone defense.”

On finishing out the season strong…

“It’s all about how you attack the week. You have to come out and be ready to practice.”

Senior OT #77 Isaiah Wynn

On the success of running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb

“It means a lot. We take pride in that. I’m glad they’re getting to that point, and as an offensive linemen, you couldn’t ask for a better running back duo.”

On motivation for this week’s game…

“Beating Georgia Tech. Just because those are the guys we don’t want to lose to. Of course it’s a big rivalry, it’s rivalry weekend. Definitely not a game you want to lose, whether you’re going to the championship or not.”

On playing his last game in Sanford Stadium against Kentucky…

“It was definitely a good way for me and the senior class to go out and do something we’ve never done, being undefeated in Sanford Stadium and also going undefeated in the East. It was a great feeling.”

On sophomore Mecole Hardman flipping field position as a returner…

“It’s awesome. He gives not just the offensive line, but the whole offense in general a good starting point, as opposed to being back by the 20. He’s a dangerous weapon, and any time he gets back there, you know he’s going to make something happen.”

Senior OLB #7 Lorenzo Carter

On the high stakes of each game…

“Every game this season has been important. We just have to make sure we don’t look too far ahead. We need to keep taking it one game at a time. That is what got us here so we are going to keep doing the same thing. The most important team is Georgia Tech this week.”

On improving as a senior…

“I just wanted to be a complete player and an all-around player. I think i’ve done that. I also wanted to become a better leader and I’ve done that too. I’ve been just working on myself as a player.”

On facing the triple-option offense…

“It’s tough. In the triple option, you have to stay focused. You have to read your cues and make sure your eyes are disciplined. We are going to do a good job, because we’ve put emphasis on it. We’ve worked on having eye discipline no matter who we play. We are going to focus on Tech and focus on the triple option.”

On coming back for his senior season…

“There are no regrets. Everyday I come to the locker room and get dressed for practice, I sit back and am thankful that I have the chance to be with my teammates and be in the program. I’m excited.”

On senior leadership…

“It’s all about experience. We all have it and we just want to shine the light onto the younger players. We’ve made mistakes, but we just want to make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes.”

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Clean Old Fashioned Hate – Mambo Gook

Coach Fish-Fry is in his 10th season at Tech. So by now we know the recipe for continuing our domination in this series. But a reminder is always helpful.

1. Stop the dive. Unless our defense can stop this basic first option run, it will make for a long afternoon at the Joke by the Coke.
2. Protect the football. Our offense has to keep theirs off the field as much as possible. A close game with a tired defense in the fourth quarter is not a good way to spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
3. Mind your gap. Play disciplined defense. Miss an assignment and a three yard gain turns into at best a first down, at worst a touchdown.

In other words, Mambo Gook. Because ol’ Erik always knew how to wreck Tech!

“If you think you’re coming my way, that’s the wrong way brother. Because you ain’t gonna make nothing here.”




Georgia’s Nick Chubb named SEC Offensive Player of the Week

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia senior tailback Nick Chubb has been named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week following the 42-13 rout of Kentucky, according to a league announcement.

This is the Bulldogs’ seventh SEC weekly honor of the season. Senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter was named the Defensive Player of the Week after the win at #24 Notre Dame; freshman quarterback Jake Fromm garnered Freshman of the Week honors in the victories over #17 Mississippi State and Missouri; Chubb was also named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week at Tennessee; senior left tackle Isaiah Wynn was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the Vanderbilt victory; and J.R. Reed earned Defensive Player of the Week honors following the Florida win.

Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., posted a season-best performance of 151 yards rushing on 15 carries (10.1 average) and scored two touchdowns, including a season-long 55-yard run, to push the #7 Bulldogs past the Wildcats. Chubb joined Herschel Walker as the only Bulldogs in history to rush for 1,000 yards or more in three different seasons after hitting the 1,045 mark last Saturday. Chubb currently ranks fourth on the all-time SEC list with 4,469 yards and is fourth on the NCAA FBS active list with six fewer games played than anyone above him.

The Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-4 ACC) on Saturday in Bobby Dodd Stadium. ABC will televise the matchup at 12 p.m.

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Georgia’s Roquan Smith named 2017 Butkus Award finalist

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith has been named one of five finalists for the 2017 Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s best collegiate linebacker.

Smith, a native of Montezuma, Ga., joins Michigan’s Devin Bush, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Wisconsin’s T.J. Edwards and Clemson’s Dorian O’Daniel as finalists.

The winner of the Butkus Award will be announced on or before December 6. Smith has already been named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award.

Smith, a midseason All-American, is on pace to lead the Bulldogs in tackles for the second consecutive season with 91 stops through 11 games (8.3 tackles/game) and has one of the team’s eight forced fumbles. He has directed a defense that is ranked as one of the country’s best in Scoring Defense (14.4 pts./game, fourth nationally), Total Defense (276.1 yds./game, fifth nationally), Rushing Defense (105.6 yds./game, sixth nationally) and Pass Defense (170.5 yds./game, 10th nationally).

The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-4 ACC) on Saturday in Bobby Dodd Stadium. ABC will televise the matchup at 12 p.m.

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From Senior Day to Seniors’ Day

Saturday’s win over Kentucky was just how you’d hope this memorable group of seniors would finish their careers in Sanford Stadium. They wrapped up a perfect record at home, earned a division title, and became the first team in program history to sweep the SEC East. Chubb and Michel combined for five touchdowns. Davis notched an interception. Even Ramsey took the final snaps under center. Fans were able to spend the final few minutes and postgame showing their appreciation for these seniors and this team.

Now we’re on to a game that might have a little different motivation for these seniors:

If the Kentucky win was an opportunity for celebration and appreciation between the seniors and fans, this week is more personal for the players. It’s their score to settle and their blemish to erase. It’s tough to believe that this senior class is currently 1-2 against Tech. Worse, Nick Chubb has never been on the field for a win in this series. That needs to change, and it’s been on their minds for roughly 360 days.

Georgia out hustles Texas A&M Corpus Christi 68-65

ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Bulldogs (3-0) out-hustled the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders 68-65 on Sunday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.

Senior forward Yante Maten posted his third consecutive double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds in addition to shooting 8-for-8 at the free throw line. Freshman forward Rayshaun Hammonds also followed with 15 points, marking his third-straight double-digit scoring output of the season.

“What I like about our team is that we have a lot of guys who are learning new roles,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox. “I think that we got a fairly deep team. Hopefully, we can cut out some mistakes.”

Georgia held the Islanders to 16 points, the lowest of a Georgia opponent in the first half this season. The Bulldogs opened the game with a run of 11 unanswered points during the first 4:52 minutes. Three buckets from junior forward Derek Ogbeide, sophomore guard William Turtle Jackson II, and Maten, in the first five minutes of the game gave Georgia the lead over Texas A&M Corpus Christi (1-3) which it maintained for the remainder of the half.

Back to back threes from Hammonds and sophomore guard Tyree Crump continued the Bulldogs momentum, and Georgia posted an 11-5 run to close out the half leading 30-16.

Texas A&M CC chipped away at Georgia’s lead enabling them to tie the Bulldogs, 36-36, at the 14 minute mark. Prompted by freshman forward Nicolas Claxton’s tip-in and free throw, Georgia was able to regain the lead. From there, the Bulldogs marked a nine to three run over Texas A&M CC.

The Islanders fought back to tie the score two more times in the last 10 minutes. At the 1:54 mark Ogbeide and Hammonds each posted a block on defense to put the ball back in Georgia’s possession, enabling Hammonds to get to the free throw line for the 60-55 lead.

Georgia also withstood the Texas A&M CC battle on the free throw line with 12 of the last 21 points coming from behind the line. In the last minute of the game, sophomore guard Jordan Harris tipped in the ball to bring the score to 64-60. With seven seconds left Crump banked two free throws to secure the game for the Bulldogs, 68-65.

Two career highs were posted, one block by Hammonds and three assists by Crump. Jackson, Ogbeide, and junior forward Edwards tied their career highs of four assists, two steals, and two blocks respectively.

Head coach Mark Fox and his wife Cindy are donating $1 to two local charities for every fan that attends the Bulldogs’ three November home games. The donation will be split equally between the Boys and Girls Club of Athens and the Clarke County Mentor Program. Last Friday, Georgia drew 7,387 fans for the season opener against Bryant, the Bulldogs’ largest crowd for a home opener since 2007. A total of 5,369 fans attended Tuesday’s game against USC Upstate, meaning the Foxes have already pledged to give $6378 to both organizations, prior to the crowd from today’s game being added.

Georgia hits the road and heads to Fullerton, California, for the Wooden Legacy Tournament Nov. 23-26 against Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, and Sacramento.

POST-GAME NOTES

• Twelve of Georgia’s last 21 points came from the free throw line. For the game, the Bulldogs were 21-of-29 from the charity stripe. Yante Maten remains perfect from the line this season as he made all eight attempts today. He is 23-for-23 on the season.

• With 19 points, Yante Maten is now 12 points away from Kenny Gaines’ career total of 1,324 points. Gaines sits at No. 20 on Georgia’s all-time scoring list.

• Georgia maintained the edge on the glass, out rebounding the Islanders 36-27. Junior Derek Ogbeide hauled in a season-high nine rebounds.

• Junior guard William Jackson II matched his career-high assists with four.

• Sophomore guard Jordan Harris made his season debut and notched seven points. He scored on a lay up with 40 seconds remaining to give Georgia a four-point lead and sunk two free throws at the end to give the Bulldogs a three-point cushion.

• A strong Georgia defensive first half held the Islanders to 16 points, the lowest first-half output by a Bulldogs opponent this season. The Bulldogs started on an 11-0 run and later forced AMCC to go 0-for-9 shooting over a span of 6:02. The islanders were 7-of-27 (26%) from the floor in the first half.

POST-GAME QUOTES

Head Coach Mark Fox

On his general thoughts of today’s game…
“I wasn’t pleased with how we played, I wasn’t pleased with how we coached and I wasn’t pleased with a lot of things. But I was happy that in a close contest that we responded.”

On what he thinks his team needs to improve on…
“We’re turning the ball over like crazy. That has to change. Our turnover count has got to come down. And I’m not real pleased with our defense at this point.”

Senior forward Yante Maten

On the defense…
“We need to do better as a unit not just on the perimeter. It was a lot of different things,but we definitely need to do better on defense.”

On the energy on the floor…
“We need to win. We need to do everything that correlates to winning, a lot of talking. Do everything right. Take it one possession at a time.”

Junior forward Derek Ogbeide

On the game…
“Not to pleased at all. Getting the win of course was my biggest concern, but not to pleased.”

On improving on turnovers…
“Listen to the coaches, follow their lead.”

Sophomore guard William Turtle Jackson II

On game takeaways…
“We need to take care of the ball better, we need to be stronger. We got the win tonight so that’s good.”

On the communications on the floor…
“Just to bring energy. Those on the court had to motivate people at the time.

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UGA remains No. 7 in AP, Coaches polls for Week 13

UGA football, which defeated Kentucky 42-13 on Saturday, has remained at No. 7 in the AP and Coaches polls Week 13.

The Bulldogs received 1,157 points in the AP Poll, which is six more points than they received in the Week 12 poll. In the Coaches Poll, UGA received 1,221 points, 37 more points than last week.

Georgia is currently No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings. The updated rankings will be announced Tuesday night at 7:00pm ET on ESPN.

Georgia’s next game is Saturday, Nov. 25 in Atlanta against the in-state rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The game is scheduled for noon ET on ABC.

AP Poll – Week 13

1. Alabama (58)
2. Miami (3)
3. Oklahoma
4. Clemson
5. Wisconsin
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
10. TCU
11. USC
12. Penn State
13. UCF
14. Washington State
15. Washington
16. Mississippi State
17. Memphis
18. Oklahoma State
19. LSU
20. Stanford
21. Michigan State
22. USF
23. Northwestern
24. Virginia Tech
25. Boise State

Coaches Poll – Week 13

1. Alabama (64)
2. Miami
3. Clemson
4. Wisconsin
5. Oklahoma
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
10. USC
11. Penn State
12. UCF
13. TCU
14. Washington
15. Washington State
16. Memphis
17. Mississippi State
18. LSU
19. USF
20. Stanford
21. Oklahoma State
22. Michigan State
23. Northwestern
24. Boise State
25. Virginia Tech

UGA Football Schedule

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Kickoff time, TV set for Georgia-Georgia Tech game on Nov. 25

The UGA football game at in-state rival Georgia Tech will be televised by ABC at Noon ET, the ACC has announced.

The Bulldogs fell to the Yellow Jackets last season 28-27 in Athens and have dropped two out of the last three meetings. However, Georgia still leads the series 65-41-5.

Georgia is set to face Alabama or Auburn in the 2017 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, Dec. 2. The game will be televised by CBS at 4pm ET.

SEC Football Schedule – Week 13
Ole Miss at Mississippi State – 7:30pm, ESPN (Thu.)
Missouri at Arkansas – 2:30pm, CBS (Fri.)
Florida State at Florida – Noon, ESPN
Georgia at Georgia Tech – Noon, ABC
Louisville at Kentucky – Noon, SECN
Alabama at Auburn – 3:30pm, CBS
Vanderbilt at Tennessee – 4pm, SECN
Clemson at South Carolina – 7:30pm, ESPN
Texas A&M at LSU – 7:30pm, SECN

UGA Football Schedule

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Seniors lead Georgia past Kentucky, 42-13

ATHENS, Ga. – Senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for 238 yards and five touchdowns to lead the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs to a 42-13 win against Kentucky in the 2017 home finale at Sanford Stadium Saturday evening.

The Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champion Bulldogs improve to 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the SEC. This squad also became the first Georgia team to go undefeated in a season against the rest of the SEC East with a perfect 6-0 mark.

With Saturday’s win on Senior Day, the current Georgia senior class improved to 38-12 in their careers, including an unblemished record at home this season.

“What a great way for these seniors to go out – winning the SEC East by going undefeated against the East,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “Our seniors have given us tremendous leadership, and I’m happy and proud of them. Our seniors have set the standard and our young players have bought in. It helps to have such great leadership.”

Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm threw an interception on Georgia’s first possession of the game, setting the Wildcats up deep in Bulldog territory. Kentucky capitalized on the opportunity with a 37-yard field goal from Austin MacGinnis.

The Bulldogs could get nothing going on their next offensive series, until Kentucky roughed punter Cameron Nizialek to give Georgia a fresh pair of downs at its own 34-yard line. Fromm marched his team down the field on a 12-play, 75 yard drive capped off by an eight-yard touchdown rush by Chubb.

Blake Bone hauled in a 45-yard pass on UK’s next possession to set up another field goal — this time a 35-yarder form MacGinnis to put the score at 7-6 in the Bulldogs’ favor at the end of the first quarter.

Georgia’s offense started clicking in the second quarter as the Bulldogs put together two scoring drives to take a 21-6 lead at the half. One score came through the air and the other on the ground when Javon Wims caught a 27-yard TD pass from Fromm and Michel bounced it outside for a 37-yard TD rush.

Kentucky’s eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive to open the third quarter made it a one possession game as Benny Snell Jr. knocked it in from one-yard out to put the score at 21-13. It took just six plays on Georgia’s next drive for the Bulldogs to get back on the scoreboard. A 21-yard Chubb rush set his team up deep in UK territory as Michel capped off the drive with an eight-yard touchdown.

Chubb was not done. The Bulldog senior surged over left tackle to start the fourth quarter and raced 55 yards down the field to put him over 1,000 yards for the season as Georgia went up 35-13.

Michel added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs left Sanford Stadium with a 42-13 victory.

Georgia now heads to Atlanta to close out the regular season against Georgia Tech next Saturday.

POST-GAME NOTES

*Monumental Home Finale: With the 42-13 win over Kentucky, the SEC Eastern Division champion Bulldogs became the first UGA team to go undefeated in a season against the SEC East (6-0) since the league split into divisions in 1992.  Georgia also became the first team to go undefeated in Sanford Stadium (6-0) in a season since 2012. Thirty-one Bulldog seniors were recognized prior to kickoff, and with today’s win, this class improved to 38-12 in their career.  With the latest win over UK, Georgia holds a series edge of 57-12-2.

*Balanced Attack: During their final game between the hedges, senior tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined for five touchdowns and 238 rushing yards in the win over Kentucky.  Chubb became only the second Bulldog running back in history (Herschel Walker) to rush for 1,000 or more yards in three different seasons after finishing with 15 carries for 151 yards, including scoring runs of eight and a season-long 55 yards.  His touchdowns give him 45 TDs in his career (team-leading 12th of the year), moving him to second behind Herschel Walker (52).  Chubb has now scored two touchdowns in a game 14 times and gone over the 100-yard mark 23 times in his career. At this point in the season, Chubb has rushed for 1,045 yards.

The Bulldogs finished with 504 total yards (381 rushing, 123 passing) and scored 42 points.  Michel put Georgia up 21-6 at the 1:51 mark in the second quarter on a 37-yard touchdown run.  He finished with 87 yards on 12 carries and three scores.  Michel last rushed for three touchdowns in a game as a freshman versus Troy.  He stands tied for fifth on Georgia’s all-time all-purpose yards with 3,834 yards.  Michel’s first scoring run came at the end of a 12-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 6:21, which is Georgia’s longest TD drive of the year.

Freshman QB Jake Fromm completed the game 9-for-14 for 123 yards with a touchdown and an interception and 18 yards rushing, including a career-long 21-yarder.  Senior WR Javon Wims led the Bulldogs’ receiving attack with a career-high six catches for 83 yards and a score.  Wims is now tied for the team lead with junior WR Terry Godwin with five touchdown catches this season.

*Dog ‘D’: The Georgia defense held Kentucky to just six points on two field goals and 140 yards (53 on the ground) in the first half and UK added only a touchdown in the second half and finished with 262 yards of total offense. UK came in averaging 27.9 points/game  and 361 yards of total offense. The Wildcats were 3-for-12 (25%) on third downs.  The defense kept the Wildcats to a field goal on their first possession after the Kentucky drive started at the Georgia 32-yard line following a turnover.  The Bulldogs held Kentucky to just 12 yards on six plays before the Wildcats connected on a 37-yard field goal. Junior ILB Roquan Smith led UGA with nine stops, including a sack.

*Starters: Redshirt freshman RG Ben Cleveland started for the first time.  This marks the 15th first-time starter that Georgia has had this season.  Sophomore DE David Marshall got his first nod of the year (fifth of his career) on defense.

*Turnovers: Georgia is +2 in Turnover Margin this season and even on the day.  Jake Fromm threw his fifth interception on Georgia’s first possession at the 32-yard line.  Kentucky scored a field goal on the ensuing possession.  In the third quarter, senior DB Aaron Davis had his first interception of the year (fifth of his career) on the Bulldog 12-yard line.  The Bulldogs scored a touchdown on their next possession.

Opponents have forced 13 turnovers and turned them into 41 points while the Bulldogs have forced 15 turnovers and registered 55 points.

*Up Next: The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-4 ACC) on Saturday.  The game time is still yet to be determined.

POST-GAME QUOTES

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart

On the win…
“What a great way for these seniors to go out – winning the SEC East by going undefeated against the East. Our seniors have given us tremendous leadership, and I’m happy and proud of them. Our seniors have set the standard and our
young players have bought in. It helps to have such great leadership.”

On running the ball…
“We want to be able to do that on a consistent basis. We want to throw it too, but those 3- and 4-yard runs wear on people.”

On going undefeated against the SEC East…
“People don’t understand in the SEC, it’s a challenge every week. There are no easy games. No one can walk out and destroy a team in the first half. You just don’t do that.”

On playing Georgia Tech…
“Tech has a unique offense that you don’t get to play but once a year. It’s very different and you work on it and you try to simulate it. You have to do your job. And we need to do a good job of controlling the ball on offense.… Our scouts will have to be prepared this week to give us the best picture they can.”

On this week’s schedule…
“We’ll have more time this week with no school. We’ll meet with them and have walkthroughs and help them prepare. We’ll focus on giving thanks and on preparing for Tech.”

On the Georgia fans…
“Our fans showed out for our seniors. These guys deserved that and I appreciate our fan base for that. …Recruiting is affected immensely by the atmosphere of home games. We want to be the best we can be. Our job is to put a good
product out there.”

OL Ben Cleveland

On earning his first start at right guard…
“It was great. There was great competition all week throughout practice; a lot of hard-fought battles, a lot of guys moving around at different positions. It felt real nice to go out here for these seniors tonight in my first start and just leaving it out all on the field.”

On feeling any nerves before the game…
“I mean I was a little bit nervous, I’m not going to lie, but I knew in the end it was all going to come down to my effort and just doing my assignments.”

On his performance…
“I think I played pretty well. We’ve been working real hard focusing on communication up front on the offensive line. I think we had probably our best game of communication tonight and that’s what helped us win.”

OLB Davin Bellamy

On earning his first start at right guard…
“It was great. There was great competition all week throughout practice; a lot of hard-fought battles, a lot of guys moving around at different positions. It felt real nice to go out here for these seniors tonight in my first start and just leaving it out all on the field.”

On Kentucky’s only touchdown, which came on a one-yard Benny Snell, Jr. run in the “wildcat” formation…
“We practiced that wildcat all week. We knew we had a couple fixes here and there. We kind of held them pretty good in the
run game besides those ones they kept bouncing. Once we started fitting those right, everything was cool.”

P Cameron Nizialek

On the punt where he was fouled, drawing a 15-yard penalty and extending the Georgia drive towards the Bulldogs’ first touchdown…
“I knew they were probably bringing a lot of pressure, so I know how to get it off pretty quick. I thought I got off a good punt, but the guy came off the backside edge and I think it was a pretty late hit, so I’m glad we got the penalty.”

On that penalty providing the team with a spark…
“I think it was a big play. We get a 15-yard penalty and we go in and score a touchdown on that to take the lead. I think it was a big play for the team and I’m glad we got the first down out of that.”

On whether Georgia won the battle of field position…
“Oh, absolutely. They didn’t have any return yards on me today and I think we had a really big return and they had a touchback [punting], so they didn’t have great net punting today. I’m happy with what we did.”

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UGA football releases “Dedication” hype video

UGA football has released a new hype video titled Dedication leading up to Saturday’s Senior Day game vs. Kentucky.

The video features clips of the 2017 Georgia Bulldog seniors with a voice over from Loran Smith.

Check out the video below. Go Dawgs!

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31 UGA football Seniors to be honored Saturday

Thirty-one UGA football seniors will be honored on Saturday prior to the game against Kentucky, the University of Georgia has announced.

Among those to be honored are running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, linebacker Davin Bellamy, punter Cameron Nizialek, defensive back Malkom Parrish, quarterback Brice Ramsey, and wide receiver Javon Wims.

The Senior Day ceremony will begin at 3:16pm ET inside Sanford Stadium. Georgia (9-1, 6-1 SEC) takes on Kentucky at 3:30pm ET and the game will be televised nationally by CBS.

Below is the complete list of UGA football seniors that will be recognized:

John Atkins, DL, Thomson, Ga.; Davin Bellamy, LB, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Jeb Blazevich, TE, Charlotte, N.C.; Aulden Bynum, OL, Valdosta, Ga.; Lorenzo Carter, LB, Norcross, Ga.; Reggie Carter, LB, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Nick Chubb, RB, Cedartown, Ga.; John Courson, LS, Athens, Ga.; Aaron Davis, DB, Locust Grove, Ga.; Jordan Davis, TE, Thomson, Ga.; Alex Essex, DL, Richmond, Va.; Turner Fortin, RB, Johns Creek, Ga.; Trent Frix, LS, Calhoun, Ga.; Jacob Gross, RB, Thomaston, Ga.; Carson Hall, OL, Dallas, Ga.; Daniel Harper, LB, Atlanta, Ga.; Matthew Herzwurm, LS, Augusta, Ga.; Tim Hill, DB, Atlanta, Ga.; David Marvin, K, Charlotte, N.C.; Miles McGinty, TE, Savannah, Ga.; Sony Michel, RB, Hollywood, Fla.; Cameron Nizialek, P, Chantilly, Va.; Malkom Parrish, DB, Quitman, Ga.; Christian Payne, RB, Athens, Ga.; Brice Ramsey, QB, Kingsland, Ga.; Dominick Sanders, DB, Tucker, Ga.; Dyshon Sims, OL, Valdosta, Ga.;Thomas Swilley, OL, Athens, Ga.; Shakenneth Williams, WR, Macon, Ga.; Javon Wims, WR, Miami, Fla.; Isaiah Wynn, OL, St. Petersburg, Fla.

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the Friday Misery converses with the internet idiocy

It's short, but it's sweet. So grab the remote and let's dive right in! Because on this episode of “Conversations After a Loss”....

The Internets
  1. “...and we all knew this would happen. We all knew Georgia would implode like this and what we thought was a magical season is actually just another flop and we’ll back our way into that Independence Bowl again because we can’t have nice things and oh have you seen this video of a chimpanzee cooking pop tarts in the microwave with the foil wrapper omg it makes me laugh so hard…”
  2. “9-4 season. Not much better than last year to be honest.”
  3. “So we need to beat Auburn or Bama, and then hope that…”
  4. “I hope we do implode. Kirby needs to go back to the coordinator level. Hopefully we can get <INSERT NAME OF HOT MESSAGE BORED NFL COACH> before it’s too late!
  5. “Lost a recruit. Whoa boy, here we go again.”

Reality
  1. “Dude, we lost one game. Got our asses beat for sure. But all of our goals are still ahead of us.”
  2. “No, are you high? We’re 9-1. Put down your crack pipe for one minute and sort through some facts okay?”
  3. “Nope nope nope nope! Stop right there. What we need to do is beat Kentucky. That’s step one partner. Step two, beat Tech. Then we worry about Bama or Auburn. Get back on the winning run and the rest will take of itself.”
  4. “Shut. Up.”
  5. “If you believe for one second that we’re on a recruiting downtick, well, it might be time to go back on your meds.”
"I believeeeee I can fly!!" (via ABC Sports)

1+7+17+24+27 = 2017
Senior Day, the home closer if you will, is always a time for reflection. And when I think about all of these seniors, I’ll call back to that day that those mentioned in the subheading stood in front of the media and explained why they were staying in Athens for their senior season. Regardless of the final W-L record, regardless of whether we win the SECCG and make it into the CFB Playoffs, this season has been made possible by their leadership.


When you think about it, it’s really because of them that we haven’t had one home nooner this season. What a blessing!


And to be honest, how the team responds after last weekend’s loss will start with the senior leadership as well. I think they’re going to finish strong. I think Kentucky’s not going to know what hit them. I think Christian Payne gets sent in to throw a block and next thing you know there’s #JazzHands all up in our endzone one last time. Then there’s Wynn raising Chubb to the Heavens next to the Hedges one last time. And God I hope there’s a blindside sack by Bellamy and that beautiful oblong spheroid pops free then Zo scoops and scores that damn thing!

Lord have mercy! How ‘bout them Dawgs y’all! So please let us bow our heads...dear Lord, can we please see a Parrish or Sanders or Davis pick one more time? Maybe also followed by one last glimpse in Sanford of Wims soaring to some ungodly height to catch that ball before returning to the earth with six points? Thank you, and please bless all these Dawgs in their future endeavors. Once a Dawg, always a Dawg. How sweet it is! Amen!

Bulldogs sign Ngumezi, Toppin

ATHENS, Ga. – Amanze Ngumezi and JoJo Toppin, a pair of premier in-state prospects, have signed letters-of-intent to play for the Georgia Bulldogs, head coach Mark Fox announced on Thursday. Both players inked their commitments during the weeklong NCAA early signing period, which concluded on Wednesday.

“We are excited to add Amanze and JoJo to our team as they add legitimate SEC size and athleticism for their respective positions,” Fox said. “Amanze provides us a big and explosive front line player who also has great ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. JoJo is a quick slasher who is very athletic at the rim. Together, they address the needs that will be created when this senior class departs.”

Ngumezi (whose name is pronounced “Uh-mahn-zay In-goo-meh-zay), a 6-9, 235-pound power forward from Savannah, averaged a double-double of 12.8 points and 11.6 rebounds last season. He led Johnson High School to a 19-10 finish and the second round of the Georgia 3A State Tournament. The Atom Smashers, who finished the season ranked No. 9 in the state, lost to eventual state champion Pace Academy, 49-41, in the tourney’s round of 16. Ngumezi posted double-digit scoring outputs in 17 games during his junior season, including a season-high 24 against Islands High.

Toppin, a 6-6, 180-pound small forward from Norcross, posted averages of 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as a junior at Norcross High School. Toppin – and current Bulldog freshman Rayshaun Hammonds – helped lead the Blue Devils to a runner-up showing in the 7A State Tournament and a final record of 26-6. Toppin, who was a second-team All-Region honoree as a junior, notched season highs of 16 points, 11 rebounds and six steals.

Georgia is currently 2-0 on the season and will return to action on Sunday when the Bulldogs host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 1:00 p.m. Senior Yante Maten, a National Player of the Year candidate and preseason SEC Player of the Year honoree, leads the Bulldogs with a double-double average of 21.5 points and 13.0 rebounds per game.

Georgia Basketball is in the midst of its most consistent stretch of winning in the program’s century-plus history. The Bulldogs have won 51 SEC games over the past five years, the Bulldogs’ largest tally for a half-decade span. In addition, Fox has led Georgia to four 20-win finishes in his first eight seasons in Athens, tying Hugh Durham for the most 20-win efforts by a UGA coach.

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UGA football: 4-star DT Jordan Davis commits for 2018

UGA football has received their 18th commitment for the class of 2018, this one from four-star defensive tackle Jordan Davis of Charlotte, NC (Mallard Creek H.S.).

Davis (6-6, 330) committed to the Georgia Bulldogs over Florida State, North Carolina, Michigan, and Miami. He also had offers from Florida, NC State, and Ole Miss.

“I like the proximity to home and the coaches, especially Coach [Tray] Scott, who you probably know gave me my first offer when I started playing football my sophomore year,” Davis told Deana King of NCPrep.com. “The recruiting class coming in 2018 isn’t bad either.”

Rivals.com rates Jordan Davis as a four-star recruit, the No. 16 defensive tackle, and the No. 223 overall recruit for the 2019 class.

Davis is rated 4-stars, the No. 27 defensive tackle, and the No. 312 overall recruit in the 247Sports Composite.

The commitment of Jordan Davis bumps UGA’s 2018 class ranking up to 5th in the country, per 247Sports. The Bulldogs trail only Ohio State, Texas, Penn State, and Miami.

UGA Football Commitments

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2017-2018 Georgia Lady Dogs Preview

There’s no question about it – Joni Taylor’s Lady Dogs overachieved last season. They were picked to finish 12th in the league, but as we noted in our season wrapup, “they finished eighth in the SEC, advanced to the SEC quarterfinals, won five games against teams invited to the NCAA Tournament, and – perhaps most significantly – preserved the program’s legacy of winning records with a 16-15 campaign.”

So, yes, relative to expectations it was a successful season. But relative to the standards of the Georgia Lady Dogs program, there’s a long way to go before you can consider the program back. They remain far from the conference’s top four teams, they’ve missed the NCAA Tournament in two of the past three seasons, and they haven’t won an NCAA Tournament game or finished ranked since the Elite Eight run in 2013.

The program seems to have rounded a corner in terms of recruiting. Taylor notched a top 10 class and began to fill out a roster that’s been lopsided with either guards or forwards for several seasons.

Departures

Georgia bid farewell to three seniors: forward Halle Washington and guards Pachis Roberts and Shanea Armbrister. Roberts stepped up as you hope a senior would and led the team in scoring with 14.5 PPG on the way to second team All-SEC honors.

The Roster

Even with only three departing contributors, Georgia’s roster should see a fair amount of turnover in both the starting lineup and in playing time. The frontcourt is familiar: all-conference candidate Caliya Robinson will be a focus of both Georgia’s gameplan and opposing defenses. Senior Mackenzie Engram is fully back after a medical condition cut short her sophomore season and has the versatility to work inside or play around the perimeter. Stephanie Paul had an impressive freshman season and eventually became a starter.

The Lady Bulldogs return a pair of senior guards. Haley Clark and Simone Costa are backcourt veterans who could hold down starting roles early on but will be pushed by newcomers. Ari Henderson returns as the team’s lone walk-on.

The story of the season though is the influx of new talent. Georgia had two transfers sit out last season. 6’5″ Bianca Blanaru is a true post option to help replace Washington. Taja Cole, a former McDonald’s All-American, played as a true freshman at Louisville. Before she played a game for Georgia, Cole began taking on a leadership role. She was one of the most active and supportive team members on the bench last season as she sat out, and she was named to the SEC Basketball Leadership Council. Cole will likely step into the point guard role and lead the team on the court now.

Georgia also signed a top 10 class of four freshmen. Malury Bates, a national top 10 post prospect, was the lone frontcourt signee. She’s sidelined for now with a foot injury but will hopefully contribute this season. Guards Gabby Connally, Maya Caldwell, and Que Morrison were all national top 100 prospects who should really improve Georgia’s scoring and athleticism. Morrison might be the most game-ready at this point, but all three guards should work into the rotation with Clark and Costa providing valuable roles, especially on defense.

The team received an important transfer during the offseason. Center Jenna Staiti signed with Maryland out of Forsyth County. She was the Gatorade State Player of the year for Georgia in 2016 and a national top 20 prospect. She’ll sit out this season but will improve the team right away with her presence in practices.

Strengths/Weaknesses

For the first time in a couple of years, depth should be a relative strength. There are 11 scholarship players available with the transfer Stati providing good practice competition. That’s a step up from eight scholarship players a year ago. Even better, all 11 bring something to the table. The rotation will probably tighten down to 8 or 9 as we get into conference play, but the difference is that Taylor won’t be limited by which 8 she can play. Playing time and lineups can be adjusted based on matchups and situations. Of course mainstays like Robinson and Engram will be featured, but there are options for which combinations see the court. That depth also means that starters can take the occasional rest, and that will pay off at the end of games and also at the end of the season.

The biggest expected weakness is the inexperience of so many likely contributors. Six of the 11 scholarship players will see their first minutes as a Georgia player this year. Perimeter shooting will also start off as a weakness. Roberts and Armbrister were two of the top three outside shooters on a team that only hit 27% from outside. Engram and Robinson have the ability to stretch their games, but you’d prefer guards to be your top outside shooters. Newcomers will have to shoulder much of that responsibility.

Georgia must also establish a physical post presence. Robinson and Engram are outstanding players, but stretch players often aren’t comfortable banging inside. They’ll be matched against more traditional post players, especially on the defensive end, and must rebound and defend without getting into foul trouble. Blanaru will help with minutes off the bench, but you trade size for pace and tempo. Robinson must realize her significance to this team and manage fouls wisely.

Outlook

The first challenge for Taylor will be to find the right mix of young and old. There is a solid returning core but also a large and talented crop of newcomers. Even the best freshmen often aren’t used to playing defense at the standard Taylor sets, and there are times when Taylor might trade offensive explosiveness for more sound defense and ballhandling. The deeper bench is a net positive, but it also means that Taylor has more combinations and lineups to consider and evaluate.

The schedule lends itself to some early success as the team develops its chemistry. Home games against Texas and Georgia Tech as well as trips to Virginia and BYU highlight the nonconference slate. Other games will allow Taylor to play all 11 (and sometimes 12) and experiment with her lineup. It’s not the toughest non-conference schedule Georgia has faced, and the risk is that the team won’t be conditioned for the rigors of the SEC or have enough quality wins to merit NCAA consideration. Things get real right away in SEC play as national runner-up Mississippi State comes to Athens on New Year’s Eve. The SEC rotation is about as favorable as it can get as the Lady Dogs will only see most of the league’s heavy hitters once. Georgia’s home-and-home SEC opponents this year are Florida, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss.

SEC coaches project Georgia to repeat their eighth-place finish in the conference. Those are moderately higher expectations from a year ago, but an eighth-place finish would likely leave Georgia sweating the NCAA Tournament selections. The SEC did earn eight bids a year ago, but Georgia was passed over for Auburn. It’s often a game or two that separates fifth and ninth place. Georgia did well to win enough close games to improve on their expected finish last season, and they’ll need the same kind of resolve to win the handful of games that could decide whether they finish in the top half of the SEC or on the cusp of a Wednesday SEC Tournament play-in game.

Taylor got her first squad to the NCAA Tournament in 2016, and that team avoided becoming the first Georgia team to miss consecutive NCAA Tournaments. That possibility is back on the table for 2017-2018. If the newcomers take a while to develop and Taylor can’t settle on a rotation, they’ll need to pull some major upsets within the conference to have a shot. There aren’t many opportunities to get a big win in nonconference play, so at least a .500 record against Texas, Tech, Virginia, and BYU seems necessary. If some of these talented freshmen do emerge early and Cole proves capable of running the show, we might have to revise expectations upward. At the very least, it should be some of the more fun and entertaining Lady Dogs basketball we’ve seen in Athens in four or five years.

Georgia’s Cameron Nizialek named 2017 Ray Guy semifinalist

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia graduate transfer Cameron Nizialek has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, given to the college punter of the year.

Nizialek, a native of Chantilly, Va., joins two other punters from the Southeastern Conference on the list. With the first award given in 2000, former Bulldog All-American Drew Butler captured the 2009 honor for Georgia.

A national voting body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, national media and previous Ray Guy Award winners will decide the three award finalists who will be announced on Tuesday, November 21st. Voters will then vote again to determine the winner who will be announced live on Thursday, December 7th at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN in Atlanta.

Nizialek arrived in Athens during the preseason and earned the starting job. This year, he has posted a 44.4 average on 41 punts, including placing 20 inside the 20-yard line. Opponents have returned just eight punts for 40 yards giving the Bulldogs the fifth-best Net Punting mark (42.4) in the country.

Booming a long punt of 59 yards this year, Nizialek has had only two touchbacks this season. He spent this first three seasons at Columbia University where he graduated with a degree in Economics. Boasting a career punting average of 43.8, Nizialek is now pursuing his Master’s degree in Sport Management and Policy.

The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to Kentucky (7-3, 4-3) on Saturday in Sanford Stadium. CBS will televise the matchup at 3:30 p.m.

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Georgia’s Roquan Smith named 2017 Nagurski finalist

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith has been named one of five finalists for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Smith, a native of Montezuma, Ga., joins North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Iowa middle linebacker Josey Jewell and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver as finalists.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Monday, December 4, at the Charlotte Convention Center. Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

Former Bulldog and NFL veteran Champ Bailey has been Georgia’s only winner of the honor in 1998. Another former Bulldog and current Kansas City Chief linebacker, Justin Houston, was a finalist for the honor in 2010. Also, former Georgia All-American and current ESPN announcer David Pollack was a finalist in 2002 and 2004.

Smith, already a midseason All-American and Bednarik Award semifinalist, is on pace to lead the Bulldogs in tackles for the second consecutive season with 82 stops through 10 games (8.2 tackles/game) and has one of the team¹s seven forced fumbles. He has directed a defense that is ranked as one of the country¹s best in Scoring Defense (14.5 pts./game, fifth nationally), Rushing Defense (103.8 yds./game, fifth nationally), Total Defense (277.5 yds./game, fifth nationally) and Pass Defense (173.7 yds./game, 11th nationally).

The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to Kentucky (7-3, 4-3) on Saturday in Sanford Stadium. CBS will televise the matchup at 3:30 p.m.

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Bulldogs defeat USC Upstate Spartans 74-65

ATHENS, GA – The Georgia Bulldogs men’s basketball team defeated the USC Upstate Spartans 74-65 on Tuesday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
Senior forward Yante Maten led the Georgia offense with 22 points and 14 rebounds, which marked his 18th double-double of his Georgia career and second straight on the season.
Junior guard William Jackson II and freshman forward Rayshaun Hammonds posted 13 points as well. Jackson’s total was a new career high, due to three free-throws in the final 20 seconds of the game. He also tied his career assists with four. Hammonds posted his second consecutive double-digit point total as a freshman.
“We came and competed well,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox.  “We needs games like that to grow, and my hat is off to their team on their effort. But that game is very good for us, and I think it is a good experience for us.”
Going into the half, Georgia (2-0) led 34-30. The Bulldogs took the advantage early with a lay-up from junior forward Derek Ogbeide, which they maintained for the entirety of the half.  The first half points were dominated by Jackson with 10, as Georgia channeled balanced scoring with 10 of the 11 players on the court posting numbers on the board.
Georgia started the second half strong with a 10-5 run and three buckets from Maten, Ogbeide, and Hammonds. USC Upstate (1-2) had a 14-1 run to give them the lead, started by junior guard Deion Holmes’ three-pointer. Georgia fought back for the lead, 53-52, with a dunk from junior forward E’Torrion Wilridge and Maten’s tip-in. With 6:21 remaining in the game, the Bulldogs took back the lead with a Hammonds jumper followed by a lay-up assisted by Maten.
Maten continued the momentum for the Bulldogs scoring nine points, complimented by three free-throws by Jackson, enabling the Bulldogs to clinch the game 74-65.
The Spartans entered the game shooting 43.1 percent, and Georgia held them to 37 percent. The Bulldogs also outscored the Spartans in free-throws with 17 to their five, with 15 in the second half alone. Two other players posted career highs as well. Wilridge recorded five assists and Hammonds inked two steals.
The Bulldogs return to Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday, November 19th, at 1:00 p.m. against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The game will be available for streaming on SEC Network +.
Head Coach Mark Fox
On gaining back the lead… 
“We couldn’t handle that lead very well. Eventually, the lead eroded and the momentum of our play kept going the wrong direction, but the good thing is we fought our way through it.”

On second half and switching up… 
“We put Mike [Edwards] and Yante [Maten] together because they are both mobile, and both experienced. We really switched everything, we got behind, and they that allowed us to get a few stops and get a couple breaks and get the lead back. This is not the normal way we want to play, but Mike’s experience I think was key for us, and allowing us to do that.” 

On Turtle Jackson and Teshaun Hightower…
“I thought Turtle [Jackson] did a couple things in the first half where he showed command, but I think that is still an area that is going to take time. When you have such a vocal, strong leader in J.J. Fraizer, when that voice leaves, and you have to replace all of that, that is going to take some time, and it is going to take multiple guys to do it. We saw progress there tonight. We have great point guards. We have Turtle and Teshaun [Hightower], which are a couple guys who have a couple years left in them.”

Senior forward Yante Maten
On the fighting through adversity…
“One of the things a leader has to do is encourage, so I try my hardest to encourage my teammates. We started strong and we kind of dipped and I told everyone on the bench we have to watch our energy level on the bench. Everybody on this team is good and everyone on this team is capable of starting on another team. We just have to collectively come together and make sure we’re playing good defense and good sound offense and not turning the ball over.”
Junior guard William Jackson II

On how he thought the team fared tonight guarding the perimeter…
“I think we did well. You know, the goal is to always win. USC Upstate is a great team. They had some great shooters out there so we were trying to force their length and their depth.”

On playing a close game early in the season…
“I think it’s great. You know, it’s a good challenge. We were down at a time and to come back and pull that weight.”

On the amount of three’s taken…
“Keep shooting. You know, because if we were open we don’t want to turn down any open three’s. We have been working on our shooting so our confidence will grow throughout the season.”

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UGA drops to 7th in College Football Playoff rankings

UGA football has dropped to seventh in the College Football Playoff rankings for Nov. 14 following their 40-17 loss at Auburn on Saturday.

The new top-ranked team is Alabama, and the Crimson Tide are followed by (2) Clemson, (3) Miami FL, (4) Oklahoma, (5) Wisconsin, and (6) Auburn.

The good news is that Georgia still has everything in front of them. Win consecutive games against Kentucky, at Georgia Tech, and vs. Alabama or Auburn, and the Dawgs should be in the playoff.

Check out the full rankings below. The final College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Sunday, Dec. 3 and the top four teams move on to the College Football Playoff.

College Football Playoff Rankings (Nov. 14)

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Miami, FL
4. Oklahoma
5. Wisconsin
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Notre Dame
9. Ohio State
10. Penn State
11. USC
12. TCU
13. Oklahoma State
14. Washington State
15. UCF
16. Mississippi State
17. Michigan State
18. Washington
19. NC State
20. LSU
21. Memphis
22. Stanford
23. Northwestern
24. Michigan
25. Boise State

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will release their Top 25 rankings each week on Tuesday through Nov. 28.

On Sunday, Dec. 3 at noon ET on ESPN, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will announce the Playoff Semifinal pairings and semifinal bowl assignments. Those will be followed by the pairings for the remainder of the New Year’s Six bowl games.

College Football Playoff Schedule

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Georgia 17 – Auburn 40: Humility arrived

A big concern headed down to Auburn was how true freshman Jake Fromm would handle another tough road environment. Fromm did indeed have a rough afternoon. What came as a surprise was how much of the rest of the team would look like true freshmen. Penalties, turnovers, and an overall lack of mental toughness plagued the team from the greenest true freshmen to the senior leadership. For a team that’s made a show of breaking the spirit of their opponents, it was Georgia that lost the battle of wills and got beaten in the most fundamental of ways: Auburn was just tougher on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

It was disappointing but not surprising that Georgia’s offensive line struggled. We know this unit has made progress but was still a relative weakness of the offense. Auburn’s defensive front is the best Georgia will face in the regular season. The Dawgs weren’t able to run at any point, and Fromm faced consistent pressure on pass plays. Auburn effectively used stunts on passing downs which have given the offensive line fits all season.

As poor as the OL play was in this game, the defense’s struggles to stop the run were as shocking as anything since the 2014 Florida game. The defense is structured such that the linemen occupy blockers and the linebackers clean up. The line is never going to put up big numbers in that scheme, but it’s worked well this year and is a big reason why Georgia had been so good against the run. That approach didn’t work nearly as well Saturday. Though the usual suspects, Smith and Reed especially, got their tackles, the line was not disruptive at all. While Georgia’s backs ran into a brick wall up the middle, Kerryon Johnson was able to patiently pick his way through to the next level.

Auburn’s defensive front is outstanding and talented, but Georgia’s is supposed to be as well. Georgia’s three-and-outs on offense asked a lot of the defense, but the defensive line is one of the deeper units on the team. We’ve seen too much of this group to be anonymous in a game like this – especially with Auburn missing two starting offensive linemen. If Benny Snell and the Kentucky running game doesn’t concern you (and it should), there’s another team ahead that is more than content to pound the ball at a passive defensive line.

Georgia’s playcalling has taken a beating since the game, and I’m sure some of it’s deserved. I do wonder if some of those running plays were called with the Georgia defense in mind: they were on the field so much in the second and third quarters that a couple of quick incompletions would have made things worse. Had Georgia come out firing in the second quarter, we’d have accused Cheney of abandoning the run too soon. Of course things couldn’t have gone much worse and the dam broke eventually anyway.

I also think the playcalling flowed from a gameplan that seemed to anticipate the game proceeding along the lines of the 2016 game. It worked for a while: even at 16-9, Georgia was within reach and largely holding Auburn to field goals. The field goal decision at the end of the half had to be a byproduct of that plan: get within six points, and you’re in better shape than the 7-0 halftime deficit Georgia faced in 2016. Instead, Georgia missed the field goal, and Auburn was up 23-6 before the Georgia offense saw the ball again. The bigger problem is that this team doesn’t and isn’t built to have a Plan B when the field goals turn into touchdowns and the deficit begins to grow.

I was glad to see Georgia at least try something at the end of the first half rather than letting the clock expire. As Danielson pointed out, a few seconds of hesitation in calling timeout when Auburn had the ball proved costly. The decision to run and set up the field goal took me right back to the Outback Bowl at the end of the 2011 season.

  • I mentioned before the game the role that non-offensive touchdowns had in Georgia’s last two wins in this series. Neither team recorded a NOT, but Hardman’s muffed punt came close. What really hurt was that the defense had just forced a nice stop on Auburn’s first possession of the second half.
  • Hopefully Hardman’s fumble doesn’t set him back much. He had a strong game against South Carolina, and he took advantage of some shaky Auburn coverage units for 185 return yards. Unfortunately Georgia wasn’t able to do anything with that favorable field position, and Auburn started kicking away from Hardman.
  • I’ve seen several people suggest that it couldn’t have hurt to try Eason, but I don’t know that it would have made much of a difference. Georgia’s issues moving the ball had as much to do with line play and ineffective receivers as it did with any quarterback deficiencies, and Eason would’ve been even more of a sitting target for the Auburn rush. Fromm took his lumps, and hopefully he can take something from the experience.

The “chopping wood” mantra applies equally to losses as it does to wins. Georgia must learn from the loss and improve on the areas Auburn exploited, but dwelling on the loss is as useless as settling after a win or celebrating a midseason ranking. Georgia’s objectives might still be alive, but it starts with finishing 11-1, protecting a perfect home record, and sending these seniors out with a Senior Day win and a Governor’s Cup trophy.

Will the biggest factor for Saturday’s game even be on the field?

The largest crowd Kentucky has played against was in Columbia when South Carolina beat lost to them 23-13 in front of 82,000. For the rest of their games they’ve played in front of an average of less than 50 thousand people.

In fact, here’s a look at the crowds they’ve faced on the road other than that loss to the Gamecocks:

- at Southern Miss, 22,761
- at Mississippi St., 58,963
- at Vanderbilt, 27, 346

The Sanford crowd was notably subpar against the Gamecocks. In the seniors’ last game between the hedges, I hope we manage to lift their spirits while crushing Kentucky’s will. If so, it could be quite a special day in Athens.

Are the fans ready to get behind the team? I think so. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the backlash following the Auburn beat down, naturally. Many are especially upset that some took Miami’s win just as hard as our loss.

I get it, but I really think there’s a very small minority out there that can’t see that both Coach Richt and the Georgia program are better off after the split. I think most can see the results Kirby is bringing in in terms of recruiting energy and game preparation. I also think he has the leadership in him to help the team see that loss Saturday and turn it into something to build upon late.

Now, if the game were today there might still be a hangover from the plains, both with the players recovery and especially in the fans’ spirits. But I think by Saturday everyone will be ready to put that game against Auburn behind them. Nothing heals the wounds from a loss like that like getting out there and drawing first blood.

So bring the noise! And go Dawgs!

Smart, Bulldogs preview 2017 Kentucky game

ATHENS, Ga. – University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, previewed the upcoming game against Kentucky with media on Monday. The Bulldogs take on the Wildcats at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

Smart and the Bulldogs offered the following comments on Monday.

Head Coach Kirby Smart 

Opening comments … 

“We are excited about honoring the military and all they do for us. Serving our country certainly makes it a great place to live, so we are happy to honor them. Obviously our seniors, being Senior Day, it is the last home game for a group of guys that have been really special to me and they have been really special for this Dawg Nation and the legacy they leave behind. A lot of them had opportunities to come out, and it will be their last chance. I really want to challenge our fanbase to come out and support these guys to end it right at home. We have an opportunity to do some things that teams have not done around here before, and they can do that by finishing it right Saturday.

“We are playing a really good Kentucky team. I think Mark Stoops is a really good head coach. He has done a tremendous job up there. The energy and enthusiasm of that game last year when we played up there was incredible to me. It’s not really how I remembered when I was here before as a player. Their offensive staff does a great job. They have a senior quarterback (Stephen Johnson) who is playing really well and one of the best backs in the SEC (Benny Snell, Jr.), a veteran offensive line group and some big receivers. Defensively, they play a similar style to us — big guys, 3-4 defense — and they do a really good job as well. So, the challenge is in front of us with a great Kentucky team rolling in here that I know they want nothing more than to come in here and try to prove they are the best team in the East. We get an opportunity to play them at home, it will be a Senior Day, so we are excited about it.”

On Kentucky running back Benny Snell, Jr. and similarities with Auburn’s rushing attack … 

“They have some similar plays. They might present them differently. I think Eddie (Gran) does a really good job of each week having a different presentation of what people label ‘wildcat.’ Then looking at the picture of what Kerryon (Johnson) did in that package — Auburn does it a little different than them, but Kentucky does a really good job. Their percentage of ‘wildcat’ based on this year was actually higher last year versus us, and that is usually predicated on how much success. If it is working, you do it more. They had a couple of drives last year, particularly one at the end, they ran almost the whole series in the ‘wildcat.’ They are good at it. They are physical. Our kids talked last year about that was the most physical game they played in from a defensive standpoint because it was so much grinding and hitting. They pride themselves on that, so it will be a great challenge for us. When we did not stop the run real well last week, we are getting an opportunity this week to play a team that is hell-bent on running the ball.”

On how the team has responded to Saturday’s loss … 

“First thing I have seen is guys came in here with a good attitude yesterday ready to work, good spirits, leaders talking and communicating. I got to be around the players and eat with them yesterday. These players they will respond the right way. They are made of the right stuff and that is all we can ask them to do is to come in with a really good attitude, get to work. I expect them to do that. I am excited about moving on getting a chance to go get to work on Kentucky today. That is what they have to do. The focus for us is totally on the Big Blue because we have to go out here and stop these guys.”

On if Saturday’s game was also a wake-up call for the coaching staff … 

“Anytime you get a chance to look at everything from that standpoint, there’s a lot of good things that happened in the kicking game but there’s a lot of bad things that happened. It was not like they went out there and whipped us in special teams. It’s a situation where we have to continue to get better. We think of special teams as one of our best weapons and we want to be aggressive in our special teams and use it as a weapon. Well, today is a chance for us to go out and get better on special teams, and we are going to try to improve that. It’s the same thing on offense and defense — today is another opportunity for us to go out and improve and get better and develop our team to get better so that we play better in this next game.”

On the concern of his team’s tackling during the Auburn game … 

“I have been really concerned about our tackling all year. I have not been happy with it anytime. You measure tackling by how many one-on-one situations you get in and how many of those you win Typically, our ratio has been the same all year. It has not been real good. People measure things differently. When there’s two guys standing there to tackle a guy and one of them makes it, it’s a whole lot different than a one-on-one situation. We lost a lot of one-on-one situations but we lost a lot of one-on-one situations throughout the year. When you go to tackle a back like Snell and King and these back they have — they have some good backs, so we have to improve in that area. That has been the case all year long. Good thing is we get to practice against some pretty good backs in our practices. We get to thud them, we do not get to tackle them, but we have to do a better job for sure.”

On if fundamental flaws were exposed against Auburn … 

“I will be honest with you — I am worried about Kentucky. I really am. I know you want to ask about that and focus on that. Our concern — we had mistakes. We had really undisciplined penalties. Things I talked about in the postgame presser. But, our players, we have told them we have moved on. We have to go get ready for Kentucky and that is really where our focus is.”

On how a loss benefits a team … 

“I think you refocus, you recenter — like we talked about earlier. You have to really focus on the things you did not do well and the things you do. It is not any different after a loss or a win because after every win we have come in here and said we have to refocus and recenter on the new opponent, new team and not let that carry over. It is no different this time. We have to refocus, recenter on who we are about to play. We have to improve the things we messed up. Every game we have won, we have had areas of concern for me. So, we have to continue to do that and our players have to kind of embrace that and understand that Kentucky is the target. We have to go out and play our best game because they have a really good football team.”

On the SEC having three interim coaches and is this a trend with an early signing period now … 

“It may very well be. It is nothing that I have really thought long and hard about. It could be the norm. I mean obviously they are going to have to make a decision really fast because that signing day is going to be right upon the end of the season. It is not something I have really concerned myself with.”

On how big of a concern fatigue is and how to fix it…

“I don’t know that you can concern yourself.  You think about it everyday. We measure it everyday with science and GPS numbers. We looked at the data from the game the other night to see how many guys hit max velocities and are they still running fast.  We’ve averaged anywhere from 20-25 over 19 miles per hour and that held true the other night.  We continue to measure those things and talk to the players.  Recovery is a big part of what we talk about.  Sleep. Rest. Getting their legs back at the end of the week.  I’m a big believer in work. I’m a big believer in practice.  And we’re going to continue to do that.  This team knows what brought them here and we have to continue to do that.”

On his message to the team this week…

“We do it through the organization, top down.  We talk to the strength staff, the support staff, Jonas’ [Jennings] staff, coaching staff— all the people that get to be around the players day to day.  We talk about how we are going to approach them.  The approach is— it starts from the man in the mirror.  It starts with me, myself. It starts with each one of them and they have to look at themselves internally and say what can I do better to help this team moving forward.  That starts this week. What do I have to do this week as an O-lineman to play my best game? What do I have to do as a secondary player to play my best game.  What do I have to do to be more disciplined and not make mistakes or make really poor decisions and lose focus.  Everybody focuses on that. We preach the message and a lot of that demeanor is created through the body language of the coaching staff and the training staff and the players.  The leaders.  How do they approach it? How does Roquan [Smith] go out and practice? How does Nick Chubb? How does Sony [Michel]? A lot of guys will be looking to them and how they respond is kind of the right way to go about it.

On discipline for penalties…

“There’s not a lot you can do at the time.  Those decisions, I always tell people, are made long before the moment happens.  You’ve made your mind up, if a guy shoves you late or pushes you late, that you’re going to retaliate or you’re not. You’ve made your mind up that when you have an opportunity to hit a guy on the sideline that you’re going to do it or you’re not. The decisions are made long before it actually happens and you have to make sure they make the right decisions. There were a lot of time that we didn’t the other night.”

On what this senior class has meant to Georgia…

“This is a special group.  I think it’s a special group because they have really good leadership. They have an opportunity to win what may be their 38th, possibly 39th, game of their career, which could rank them right in the top-10 senior classes to ever play here.  If they can pull that off.  The big thing for me is that everybody else on the team acknowledges that it’s their last home game and that you prepare and play as if it was yours.  I know what that last home game in Sanford Stadium means. It’s the one you remember the most.  These guys have meant a lot to this program, meant a lot to me personally, meant a lot to the staff, and they’ve meant a lot to this university.  I think we all owe it to them, as a fan base and as a coaching staff and as a team, to make sure that we give them our best effort.

On the improvements of the offensive line compared to against Auburn…

“Some good, some bad, some ugly.  Mostly the latter.  But we’re moving on to Kentucky.”

On Gus Malzahn’s comments post game…

“I’ll be honest with you, when you perform the way they did on the field you earn the right to say really whatever you want, so I don’t get into what Gus says and he probably doesn’t get into what I say.”

On the relationship between Jake Fromm and Javon Wims and their ability to make plays…

“He’s done a good job of that.  I think he’s improved probably immensely at attacking the ball and not letting the ball get into his body.  He’s really become a hands receiver, which is what you want.  He does a good job in the 50-50 ball.  He reacts, responds, snatches. Through a lot of the drills that Coach Coley does with him he’s been able to do that.  Recently he’s been able to make some big catches.  That’s been a big help for us because you take some those 50-50 balls out of these games and there are some tight ball games that he’s been able to win for us.  We need some more of that.”

On his evaluation of Trenton Thompson…

“I really don’t think the injuries are affecting Trenton at this point.  He’s healthy— practicing good, playing good.  I think across the D-line as a whole, I’m not talking about Trenton, I think we can play better.  We have to strike and get off blocks, but every player on our team can do that.  It’s easy to look at a lot of the things that reared their head in the last game, they were in the game before and the game before that.  You may not have noticed them because the results weren’t the same.  We as a coaching staff have been saying for a while that we have to fit runs better.  We have to tackle better, we have to strike and get off blocks better.  It only comes to your sights when the results aren’t the same, but we have to do a better job up front of striking and getting off blocks.”

On the opportunity to go undefeated at home this season…

“I will say that it is important to the senior class that they finish it off the right way. They want to be one of the first teams to win the SEC East and beat every team in the East. That’s a first for them and the chance to go undefeated at home, which hasn’t happened since 2012 or 2011.  They want to do those things and ear mark, especially after last year’s home schedule, that’s important to them.  I wouldn’t say it’s a written down goal of any kind, but it’s important to the senior class to do it the right way.

On Mecole Hardman’s play on special teams…

“I’d agree with you there. I hate [the muff] for him because he works really hard.  I’m in my office ready to watch tape and he’s still out there catching kicks and catching punts after practice.  It’s important to him that he does it.  We have to do a good job of simulating some of those kicks and making him catch the hard ones. He’s doing a tremendous job and the units around him are really doing well. I think if you ask the other coaches in the league, they’re saying ‘good grief, they have all these people blocked’, so there’s some space there and he’s had a good opportunity to make some plays.  He has taken advantage of that.  I’m not disappointed in anything he’s done.  I think he’s gaining more confidence and he’s making some plays in the kicking game.  That was no more evident than Saturday.  A lot of that was people getting hats on people.  We work hard on that.  I think that’s one of our best weapons.  It opens us up to, you know, people want to fake kicks.  We have to rep a ton more fakes because they’re like they just assume fake it than kick it to the guy because they’re back there returning it.  That has been a positive for us, even though we did not play well on special teams because of the muff, because of the penalty, but if you take that out there’s a lot of positive in the kicking game.”

——

Graduate NT #97 John Atkins

On thoughts going into his last game at Sanford Stadium and whether it has gone fast or slow…

“I was thinking about that yesterday. I was thinking it was going to be my last Dawg Walk. It is just unreal that it is my last game in the stadium.”

On bouncing back from the loss…

“We came in yesterday and got some work in. Everybody has the same attitude. We aren’t walking around with the “poor me” attitude. We are just focused on bouncing back because we are still in it. It is the same thing as a win, we get 12 hours then you have to get ready for the next team.”

On facing Kentucky’s Wildcat Formation with Benny Snell…

“The Wildcat is always challenging, because you never know where the ball is going. You also have to be more patient. Every time a team has success in an area, another team is going to try to do the same.”

Senior WR #6 Javon Wims

On moving on after the loss and if it affects motivation…

“We are moving forward and focusing on Kentucky. They are a very good football team that we are getting ready to face this weekend. Naturally you are motivated by a loss or a win but we are motivated by each other. We are just going to get back to doing what we do best. We are going to go back in the lab, we work, we grind and go back to that physical brand of football that we know.”

On senior night…

“Personally, the seniors mean so much to me. I came in my first year and they embraced me. They treated me like everybody else and as if I’m one of them. It meant so much to me to have them like brothers and be a senior with them.”

On quarterback Jake Fromm’s trust in you winning the 50/50 balls…

“It feels good that he trusts me enough to throw the ball up for me to make a play even when I’m not even looking sometimes. He is one of my good friends on and off the field.”

Senior TE #83 Jeb Blazevich

On the outcome at Auburn…

“It was just, I guess, a reality check. One of those things, where at the end of the day, the coaches have what we need to fix ready and geared up on film, and we just need to get back to work. That’s the only thing we can do. All we can do is fix our attitude and adjust what we need to adjust, and get back after it. All we’re worried about now is Kentucky.”

On the attitude of Georgia going into Kentucky…

“Really, we don’t have enough time. We don’t have the luxury of time to sit around and feel bad for ourselves. It’s something where we can’t mope around, we have work today. I think that’s the main message, it’s get back to work, that’s all we can do.”

On his last game in Sanford Stadium…

“It’s crazy. It’s going to be my last game. A lot of sentimental feelings. I’m feeling very grateful and blessed to be here. Thankful for God for all the experiences I’ve had here. I’m excited to strap it on one more time.”

On the legacy of the senior class…

“Everything we want to accomplish is in front of us. We obviously have a lot of work to do, and that starts today. But, one loss doesn’t define our season, and everything’s still out there for us, and so we’re still trying to write our legacy and determine, ‘What can I do this Monday that will help achieve that?'”

Graduate DB #35 Aaron Davis

On one of his favorite memories…

It has to be my first game. I had never experienced anything like that. Coming out of high school, and then coming to Sanford Stadium to play Clemson in a night game. It was a huge game, the stadium was unbelievable. It felt like an earthquake, the ground was shaking out there. That was one of my favorite moments so far.”

On the legacy of the senior class…

“I just feel like we have so much ahead of us, we’ve just got to go out there and take care of business, in order for those things to be possible for us. As long as we continue to do the things we need to do, and be able to regroup and not let one game define us, we should be able to continue to be better.”

On how to defend a wildcat offense…

“The probability of them passing definitely goes down, but the probability of a big play happening when they pass the ball is probably huge, because a lot of guys get sucked in on the run. Any time a team’s in wildcat, you have to be on your P’s and Q’s and know that you have to play physical, number one, because they’re most likely going to run the ball. But also keep the eyes on your man in case they try to do some trick play or pass off of it.”

The post Smart, Bulldogs preview 2017 Kentucky game appeared first on SicEmDawgs.com.

UGA drops in college football rankings for Week 12

UGA football, which fell to the No. 10 Auburn Tigers 40-17 on Saturday, has dropped to No. 7 in the college football rankings for Week 12.

The Bulldogs received 1,151 points in the AP Poll, which is 317 less points than they received in the Week 11 poll. In the Coaches Poll, UGA received 1,184 points, 376 less points than last week.

Georgia is currently No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings but will drop when the updated rankings are announced Tuesday night at 7:00pm ET on ESPN.

Georgia’s next game is Saturday, Nov. 18 against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium. The game is scheduled for 3:30pm ET on CBS.

AP Poll – Week 12

1. Alabama
2. Miami, FL
3. Oklahoma
4. Clemson
5. Wisconsin
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
10. Oklahoma State
11. TCU
12. USC
13. Penn State
14. UCF
15. Washington State
16. Washington
17. Mississippi State
18. Memphis
19. Michigan
20. Stanford
21. LSU
22. Michigan State
23. USF
24. West Virginia
25. NC State

Coaches Poll – Week 12

1. Alabama (63)
2. Miami
3. Clemson
4. Oklahoma
5. Wisconsin
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
10. USC
11. Penn State
12. UCF
13. Oklahoma State
14. TCU
15. Washington
16. Washington State
17. Memphis
18. Michigan
19. Miss. St.
20. USF
21. LSU
22. NC State
23. Stanford
24. Michigan St.
25. West Virginia

UGA Football Schedule

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Sunday Thoughts on getting past these awful hurt feelings

Damn. Does your backside hurt as much as mine this morning?

Everything is still in front of us. Go to Atlanta and win the damn thing, all of the other stuff falls in place. So there’s that. I mean, it was kinda cool having that “#1” tag beside our name for a while and having everybody talk about us like we could do things like stop the run and block and tackle ball carriers, not to mention make half time adjustments and also remember to get the team off the actual bus with their heads on straight.

But it was also awkward if you want to know the truth,

Kirby is right, this team will be defined by how it responds to this setback. Big game left at Sanford, especially for the seniors that came back for this season. Then an in-state rivalry game that we pissed away last year. Focus on those two one at a time and let each rep, each whistle in practice motivate you.

Because yesterday was quite obviously a team loss. It wasn’t just the players and it wasn’t just the coaches. We all got beat, very handily. Regroup and refocus without the attention that comes with being the number one team in the nation.

The fact of the matter is that currently we aren’t the team we thought we were. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be yet.

I’d love to play Auburn again. I’d also love the chance to play Alabama. But right not we all just need to focus on Kentucky and beating the snot out them like we should. We need to focus on not drawing selfish penalties. We need to focus on a better game plan. And quite honestly, we need to focus on being a better home crowd than we were when the Gamecocks visited a couple weeks ago.

Because whether you like it or not...whether you are still stewing over yesterday’s debacle...we’re still in this together.

Go Dawgs!

(Now if you’ll excuse me I’d like to go back to bed...)


Georgia falls in the Plains, 40-17

AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 2 Georgia Bulldogs had their unblemished season snapped with a 40-17 loss to 10th-ranked Auburn Tigers Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Bulldogs fall to 9-1 overall, 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Auburn (8-2, 6-1) used a heavy dose of Kerryon Johnson and a stifling defense to earn the victory. Johnson tallied 167 rushing yards; marking the first time a Georgia opponent had surpassed the 100-yard mark in a nation-best last 12 games.

“Lesson were learned that they have a good football team,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “They whipped us up front, they whipped us on the back end, and they whipped us on the edges. They were more physical than us on both lines of scrimmages. We did some dumb things, and we helped them. You can’t help good football teams. We gave them two or three extra possessions, which you can’t do.”

Offensively, the Bulldogs finished with 230 yards of total offense, 184 yards in the air. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm went 13-of-28 for 184 yards and a touchdown, while senior wide receiver Javon Wims had a team-high 96 yards on three catches. The Auburn defense kept the Georgia rushing attack at bay as senior running back Nick Chubb had a team-high 27 yards.

For the seventh time leading the team in tackles this season, junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith collected 12 tackles. Redshirt sophomore J.R. Reed followed with a career-high 11 tackles. Sophomore return specialist Mecole Hardman compiled 185 yards on punt and kicks.

In the game’s opening possession, Georgia orchestrated an eight-play, 70-yard drive capped by a direct snap Nick Chubb one-yard touchdown rush. In the drive, Fromm went 3-of-3 passing for 56 yards including a 28-yard pass to Wims on a 3rd down.

Auburn took its first lead 9-7 at the 12:08 mark of the second quarter on three consecutive Daniel Carlson field goals. Later in the quarter, the Tigers hit on a 42-yard Darius Slayton touchdown catch to go up 16-7, which stood until halftime.

Two third-quarter Auburn touchdowns strengthened the Tiger lead to 30-7, before the Bulldogs responded. Redshirt sophomore Rodrigo Blankenship booted a 47-yard field goal to make it 30-10 at the 5:23 mark in the third quarter.

After Auburn notched a field goal and another touchdown, Georgia put up a touchdown in the final minutes of the game. Sophomore wide out Riley Ridley caught a 14-yard pass from Fromm to end a 14-play, 74-yard drive.

“It’s life,” Smart on moving on from the loss. “Life’s that way. Life’s going to knock you down and you’ve got to get up and go fight. These guys have to understand that. They’ve got to be able to get up and go fight. It’s going to be like that all their life. They’re going to have situations they don’t like, or don’t do well, and they’re going to come back and fight.”

The Bulldogs conclude their conference schedule against Kentucky next Saturday, Nov. 18. Kickoff is slotted for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS.

POST-GAME NOTES

*First Loss Of The Season: Georgia fell to 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the SEC after today’s 40-17 loss to Auburn. Also, today was the first time since the fourth quarter of the Notre Dame game in South Bend in week two (Sept. 9) that Georgia trailed in a game. In that contest, No. 24 Notre Dame went ahead 19-17 with 10:21 left and held the lead until Georgia kicked a field goal with 3:34 remaining to go up 20-19 and that would be the final. Today with 12:08 left in the first half, Auburn took a 9-7 lead and then extended it to 16-7 with 4:09 left in half and that would be the halftime score. Ultimately, Auburn scored 30 unanswered points until a 47-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship made it 30-10 with 5:23 left in the 3rd quarter.

Georgia now sees its all-time series lead with the Tigers trimmed to 57-56-8. Today was the fourth time that the teams met when both were ranked in the top 10, and the Tigers have won each time (1971, 1983 & 2004). This was the first time that the Bulldogs were ranked higher in these top 10 matchups.

*Early Points at a Premium: At the half, Auburn led 16-7. Both teams came in averaging 36 points a game today. The Tigers added three TDs plus a field goal in the second half for a 40-17 victory. The Bulldogs came in ranked third nationally in scoring defense at 11.7 points a game. Today, Georgia’s leading tacklers were junior LB Roquan Smith with 12 and redshirt sophomore J.R. Reed with a career-high 11.

*Rushing Tally: After allowing four sacks, Georgia’s net rushing tally was 46 yards on 32 attempts. The Bulldogs had given up just nine sacks on the year coming in today.  Senior Nick Chubb had a team-high 27 yards on 11 attempts. In the first quarter on a six-yard run, Chubb moved up to fourth in SEC history in career rushing yards passing Auburn’s Bo Jackson (4,303 yards). After today, Chubb’s current total is 4,318 yards.

*Passing Game: In the first half, freshman QB Jake Fromm was 4-for-8 for 86 yards and finished 13-for-28 for 184 yards and one TD. On Georgia’s opening drive of the game, he led an eight play, 70-yard touchdown drive capped by senior tailback Nick Chubb’s 1-yard plunge for his 43rd career TD overall and 39th rushing. Fromm converted a 3rd and 7 by completing a 28-yard pass to senior Javon Wims who finished with a career-high 96 yards on three catches. Georgia was forced to punt on five of its final six drives of the half plus missed a 42-yard field goal at the end of the half. In the second half, Georgia’s scored 10 points including a 14 play, 74-yard TD drive capped by a 14-yard pass from Fromm to Riley Ridley.

*Busy Day For Hardman: Sophomore Mecole Hardman finished with 203 all-purpose yards including 142 on kickoff returns, 43 on punt returns plus 7 on the ground and 11 receiving. In the first half alone, he had 162 return yards. Coming in today, he had 288 return yards (178 KOR, 110 PR) for the year. On the final kickoff of the first half and in the second half, Auburn popped them up short. In the second half, Hardman had one fumble on a punt return that led to a Tiger touchdown and a 23-7 deficit.

*Points Off Turnovers: Georgia did not force any turnovers while AU got seven points off 1 fumble on a punt mishandled by sophomore Mecole Hardman. Opponents have scored 38 points off 12 Bulldog miscues. Meanwhile, Georgia has scored 48 points off 14 turnovers.

*For Starters: True freshman tailback D’Andre Swift made his first career start while sophomore TE Charlie Woerner made his first start of the year and third of his career. Swift is the 14th first-time starter this year including fifth true freshman this season. Senior SS Dominick Sanders made his team-leading 48th career start including his 28th consecutive start. 

*Captains: Georgia’s captains were seniors Sony Michel (TB), junior Terry Godwin (WR) and Lorenzo Carter (OLB).

*Up Next: Georgia (9-1, 6-1 SEC) returns home next Saturday where it will face Kentucky at 3:30 pm (CBS Sports). The Wildcats (6-3, 3-3 SEC) were at Vanderbilt today.

The post Georgia falls in the Plains, 40-17 appeared first on SicEmDawgs.com.

Stray last-minute thoughts on Georgia-Auburn

This game has been analyzed to death. Might as well get mine in.

The NOT. Georgia needed a non-offensive touchdown to beat Auburn in each of the past two meetings. In 2015, Isaiah McKenzie’s punt return broke a 10-10 tie in the fourth quarter. Maurice Smith provided Georgia’s only touchdown last season with his pick six. When you face a good defense, the opportunity to score points without that defense on the field is golden.

The Dawgs have had a single NOT this year: the strip-sack at Florida recovered by Reed. They haven’t notched a special teams touchdown this year and really haven’t come close since Holyfield’s kickoff return at Notre Dame was called back for a penalty. Hardman has nearly broken a punt return or two, but “nearly” is the story of the return game this year. Auburn gave up a 72-yard kickoff return to Texas A&M last week and had a couple of field goals blocked. Is this the week Georgia gets points from its special teams? Auburn is also capable of the NOT: a blocked punt recovered in the endzone was a huge play in their win at A&M last week.

Given the value of a NOT in a game like this, avoiding them should be a priority. The teams are nearly even in turnovers gained, but Auburn has only intercepted the ball 4 times. The story on special teams is Auburn’s recent struggles. Auburn’s success blocking a punt a week ago should have Georgia’s punt protection on alert, and Daniel Carlson is a very good placekicker. After that, it’s become an adventure. They’ve had issues in each of the past three games highlighted by the blocked field goals and long return surrendered last week. A long LSU punt return was central in Auburn’s collapse in Baton Rouge. Georgia’s special teams have been solid overall if not a bit unremarkable in the return game. That’s been improvement enough, but it might be time to ask the return units to make a play.

Even if the Dawgs can’t generate NOTs, the next best thing is field position. Every Blankenship touchback is a win, and Nizalek continues to punt the ball consistently.

The RPO. Jake Fromm’s ability to execute the run-pass option (including the option of running the ball himself) has been a large part of the offense’s improvement in 2017. With defenses rightly focused on Georgia’s running backs, there are plays to be made in the passing game. Fromm, with a heavy dose of RPOs, has made his relatively few pass attempts count. There’s more to the RPO than the quick slants and curl routes to the outside though. I go back to what turned out to be a negative play for Georgia: Fromm’s fumble at Notre Dame. The play was an RPO with Nauta releasing vertically.

The pop pass to the releasing tight end is a staple of most RPO packages. It’s something we haven’t seen much from Georgia this year: Fromm’s RPO pass reads have usually been to the outside. South Carolina adjusted last week after some early Georgia success to jump some of those RPO passes to the outside and nearly came away with a few turnovers. At the very least, Fromm’s window on those passes became incredibly tight. I expect Auburn to take a similar approach, but that approach comes with its risks. There are opportunities downfield if Georgia’s receivers can beat the press coverage or get the Auburn defenders to bite on a pump fake. But if the defense is playing the run to the point that Fromm sees a chance to pass the ball, the pop pass in the middle of the field should also be available. I don’t want to go overboard and predict a breakout game for the tight ends, but the plays are there.

The red zone. In 2013 Georgia erased a 20-point deficit at Auburn to take the lead before the, um, unfortunate ending. Auburn’s offense had its way with Georgia for the better part of three quarters. The only reason the game wasn’t over by halftime and Georgia had a remote shot at a comeback was that four Auburn drives ended in field goal attempts rather than touchdowns. Georgia likewise couldn’t put Auburn away last season with a couple of second half drives and left the Tigers within a single score until the end.

We’ve seen red zone execution matter for both teams this year. Auburn had to settle for a pair of field goals inside of the Clemson 15 yard line and never got into the end zone in their 14-6 loss early in the season. Around the same time, Terry Godwin’s remarkable catch and a rare rushing touchdown against the Notre Dame defense gave Georgia just enough for their signature win.

Georgia’s red zone offense took a little hit last week with Godwin’s fumble. They also missed an opportunity to build a three-score lead late in the game and left the door however slightly open by settling for the field goal. The touchdown passes to Hardman and Wims were important conversions to open up the lead, and holding South Carolina to a field goal at 21-10 kept the fourth quarter from becoming more interesting. Scoring opportunities are likely to be at a premium for both teams. Each is capable of explosive plays that create scores from beyond the tight quarters of the red zone, but each defense is adept at preventing those big plays. The difference between three points and seven will matter.

UGA football releases hype video for Auburn game

UGA football has released a new hype video leading up to Saturday’s game at the 10th-ranked Auburn Tigers.

The video features motivational speaker Coy Wire talking to the Bulldogs about the “hunger of a wolf.”

Check out the video below. Go Dawgs!

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