October 16, 2009

Preview: UGA at Vandy

WHERE: Dudley Field at Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773), Nashville, Tenn.

WHEN: Saturday, 12:21 ET

TV/RADIO: SEC-TV/Georgia Bulldog Radio Network

RECORDS: Georgia 3-3, 2-2; Vanderbilt 2-4, 0-3

HEAD COACHES: Georgia - Mark Richt (85-25, ninth season); Vanderbilt - Bobby Johnson - (29-60, eighth season; 89-96, overall)

The Game

Since Mark Richt took over as Georgia's head coach in 2001, the Bulldogs have won seven of
eight meetings against Vanderbilt. The last time Georgia played in Nashville, the Bulldogs beat Vanderbilt 20-17 in 2007 with a Brandon Coutu field goal as time expired. Vandy won its only game against Georgia during the Richt era in Sanford Stadium after picking up a 24-22 win in 2006. Georgia leads the series 49-18-2 overall and is 22-7-1 in Vanderbilt Stadium (22-11-2 in Nashville).

Last year, tenth-ranked Georgia got a pair of touchdown passes from Matthew Stafford to hold off 22nd-ranked Vanderbilt 24-14 in Athens. Stafford passed for 194 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown to A.J. Green and a 9-yard strike to Mohamed Massaquoi. Green finished with 132 yards receiving on seven catches. Knowshon Moreno had a season-high 172 yards on 23 carries to lead the Bulldogs' ground attack. Georgia's touchdowns by Green and Massaquoi were set up by interceptions by Reshad Jones and Darius Dewberry. The Bulldogs outgained the Commodores 425 to 245 in total yards on offense on the afternoon.

Injury update

The Bulldogs are once again expected to be without the trio of linebacker Akeem Dent (hamstring), defensive end Kiante Tripp (shoulder/stinger) and linebacker Marcus Dowtin (finger) and are expected to add starting fullback Shaun Chapas (burners) to the list, meaning Fred Munzenmaier could make his first career start.

Caleb King (jaw) will return after missing last week's game against Tennessee, as will wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion).

Rambo making impact

Redshirt sophomore safety Bacarri Rambo snagged his second interception of the season against the Volunteers and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown, which was the first defensive TD for the Bulldogs this year. This marked the first INT return for a touchdown since Darryl Gamble returned a pair of picks for scores against LSU in 2008. For the second time in the last three weeks, Rambo had a career high with four tackles (career-high three solos) after also having four against ASU. The Bulldogs' starting unit features senior Prince Miller and sophomore Brandon Boykin at the cornerbacks and Jones and senior Bryan Evans at the safeties. Boykin had his second career interception and the team's third of the year to go along with four solo stops versus LSU. He grabbed Georgia's first INT of the season and had four tackles against the Gamecocks. Jones had a season-high 10 tackles (career-high nine solos) against the fourth-ranked Tigers in 2009.

Green still going strong

Green is building on a successful freshman season and is currently leading the SEC in total receiving yards (587), receiving yards per game (97.8) and rec. per game (6.3). His 587 yards ranks 12th in the nation. Green snagged eight catches for 153 yards and a touchdown versus ASU, giving him four career 100-yard games, and was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week. He also blocked his first career field goal late in the fourth quarter against the Sun Devils to help secure the win.

Against the Razorbacks, he registered 137 yards on seven catches and a career-high two touchdowns.

Green has had at least one TD in three out of the four last games and is tied for the league lead with five touchdown receptions this season. In 2008, Green led the SEC in receiving yardage, yards per game and tied for first in TDs by receivers. He became the first Bulldog to lead the SEC in receiving since Brice Hunter (59 rec., 799 yds. 7 TDs) in 1994.

Freshmen key Commodores

The Commodores' top two rushers through six games are a pair of true freshmen: Warren Norman (398 yards) and Zac Stacy (282 yards). Norman and Stacy were the Commodores' leading rushers at Army with 62 and 46 yards, respectively. Norman needs 25 yards to move into the team's Top Ten all-time freshman rushers. Stacy will move into the Top Ten with 141 more yards.

In addition to Norman's 62 rushing yards against Army, he returned a kickoff 76 yards for Vanderbilt's only touchdown. He also amassed 171 all-purpose yards. Norman ranks second in the SEC in all-purpose yardage (154.0 yards), sixth in kickoff return average (27.7 yards) and eighth in rushing (66.3 yards).

Penalties haunting Vandy

For the third consecutive game, penalties and miscues continued to hinder the Commodores' chances of victory.

One week after getting flagged for 12 penalties in a 23-7 home loss against Ole Miss, the Commodores duplicated that total at West Point. The Commodores were sustained 99 penalty yards against Army.

Two of the infractions came on apparent Commodore touchdowns. Late in the first quarter, a holding penalty nullified an 81-yard touchdown run by Norman. Then, on the Commodores' final drive in regulation, a pass interference stopped a TD pass from Larry Smith to Alex Washington.

The 12 penalties against Army and Ole Miss are the most since the Commodores were flagged for 14 penalties against Middle Tennessee on Oct. 12, 2003. Through six games, the Commodores rank 10th in the SEC in fewest penalties, and sixth in fewest penalty yards.

Prediction

With the way this season has gone, one would be just as accurate if he would just pull a name out of a hat. When it comes to predicting success for the Bulldogs, you'd have just as good a chance of being right.

Not that last week's loss to Tennessee was particularly a stunner in light of the Bulldogs' recent play, the fact that Georgia lacked any spirit and spunk the entire afternoon was particularly distressing.

That's why, even in regards to Saturday's game at Vandy, and nothing is a sure thing.

But I'm going to give it a shot.

It's homecoming for the Commodores and Vandy fans are staging their own "Blackout" in an effort to fire up their team. Will it work?

If the Dawgs give the same kind of effort they did against the Vols, Homecoming might well be a happy a happy one.

Yes, Georgia has issues, on both sides of the ball. The defense can't appear to stop anybody and the offense is just way to inconsistent to get a gauge on what to expect. At this point, nothing would surprise me. Prediction: Georgia 17, Vanderbilt 14.


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