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November 27, 2009

Preview: Georgia at Georgia Tech

WHERE: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta

WHEN: Saturday, 8:12 p.m.

RECORDS: Georgia 6-5; Georgia Tech 10-1

COACHES: Georgia - Mark Richt (88-27, ninth season); Georgia Tech - Paul Johnson (19-5, second season; 126-44 overall)

TV/RADIO: ABC/Georgia Football Radio Network

The Game

One of the longest-running rivalries in the country, Georgia and Georgia Tech square off for the 102nd time since 1893 with the Bulldogs leading 59-37-5. Last year, the Yellow Jackets beat the Bulldogs for the first time in the Mark Richt era, scoring 26 points in the second half in the third quarter to win 45-42. This year, the game's roles are reversed. Georgia comes into the contest unranked at 6-5, while the Yellow Jackets, winners of the ACC's Coastal Division, will play Clemson for the ACC title and a trip to the Orange Bowl next week.Injury Update

A.J. Green (AC sprain) was listed as doubtful before the game, but now it looks like it is unlikely he will play after not making the trip with the rest of the team. The Bulldogs will also be without Richard Samuel (concussion), who was injured earlier in the week during a collision with walk-on cornerback Christian Norton. Safety Bacarri Rambo missed last week's game with a concussion) but could see action against the Yellow Jackets. Cornerback back Brandon Boykin will play after being hit on his hip last week against the Wildcats. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, will be without offensive tackle Austin Barrick (heel), wide receiver Kevin Cone (ankle) and linebacker Malcolm Monroe (knee) are out.

Effective ground game will be huge

Everyone knows Georgia Tech's proficiency for running the ball, but for Georgia to have its best opportunity against the Yellow Jackets, the Bulldogs will have to steal the show. The Bulldogs have been quite effective their last three games, posting 669 rushing yards, including 196 last week against Kentucky. During that stretch, freshman Washaun Ealey galloped for a career-best 98 yards against Auburn, while Caleb King, who has started the last three games, added a pair of touchdown runs.

Houston leading the way in sacks

Although he has played in just eight games, redshirt sophomore Justin Houston leads the Bulldogs with seven tackles, including 13 tackles for loss. Georgia has registered 27 sacks this season, compared to just 11 by their opponents.

About the Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech's 49-10 win at Duke (Nov. 14) gave the Yellow Jackets their first ACC Coastal Division crown since 2006. Tech's 34-9 win at Virginia (Oct. 24) was its first in Charlottesville since 1990, breaking a streak of eight consecutive losses at UVA's Scott Stadium. The Yellow Jackets' 28-23 win over Virginia Tech (Oct. 17) was its first win at home against a team ranked in the top five since 1962. Tech's 49-44 win at Florida State (Oct. 10) marked its first win ever in Tallahassee, breaking an 0-6 streak. Georgia Tech has won 10 games overall and seven conference games for the first time since 1998. The Jackets won five road games in a season for the first time since 1998. Tech's eight-game winning streak is its longest since1990 and ties for the seventh-longest current streak nationally.

Prediction

Nobody is giving Georgia much of a chance in this one, and it's easy to understand why.

With the exception of a 33-17 loss at Miami, Georgia Tech has steamrolled through its competition, averaging 41.1 points, 343.9 yards rushing and 485.3 yards of total offense over its past seven games. Georgia meanwhile, has been arguably the most inconsistent team in the SEC, one which has continued to kill itself with turnovers. The Yellow Jackets come into the contest as a seven-point favorite, and considering the Bulldogs' season-long defensive struggles and penchant for giving opponents a helping hand that projection would seem to be about right. Even with A.J. Green expected to miss the contest, Georgia should have no trouble moving the ball, but then neither will the Yellow Jackets. If the Bulldogs can manage to limit the turnovers, Georgia will have a chance, but until they prove it Prediction: Georgia Tech 35, Georgia 31.



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