There’s still a lot on the table this season for No. 5 Georgia, so no extra motivation is required when the Bulldogs square off against Georgia Tech on Saturday (Noon, SEC Network; News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB).
No extra motivation is required, but there’s incentive abounding this week, especially when one considers that the Yellow Jackets have won their past two games at Sanford Stadium, and on their last visit – a 28-27 victory over the Bulldogs in 2016 – they had their way with the stadium’s vaunted hedges.
“I want this, and I know everybody on the team wants this,” UGA senior defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter said Monday. “The last time we beat them here was 2012, and we have taken a lot of disrespect from Georgia Tech. I know some people would much rather see us beat Georgia Tech than win a national championship, and we are not going to disappoint. We are going to come out and play a physical football game, giving it everything we have.”
“I definitely don’t want them to win here ever again, especially while I’m here,” junior tight end Isaac Nauta said. “It’s a big game for us and I’m excited to attack this one and make sure those hedges don’t get touched. … You try not to worry too much about it and handle business when they get on the field and make sure they don’t touch (the hedges).”
Senior wide receiver Terry Godwin acknowledged that watching Tech players help themselves to portions of the hedges was something he’d like to forget, but just can’t seem to.
“It wasn’t a good (memory),” he said. “Seeing those guys tearing up our hedges and destroying our field, and then our seniors having to go out that way is not a good (memory). We’re hopefully trying to erase that memory. … I don’t need to be reminded. I remember it vividly, like it was yesterday, just seeing those guys out there doing that -- that’s something you don’t want to happen at your own field.”
Saturday also represents the final home game for Georgia’s seniors and a victory would give the Bulldogs two consecutive seasons of being undefeated at home.
“I am excited for the senior class,” said coach Kirby Smart, whose team administered a 38-7 beat down to Tech last November in Atlanta. “I think you always remember your last game in Sanford Stadium, I certainly remember mine. It’s a special opportunity for these guys to thank their families and for our fans to thank the senior class that has really been a special one.
“They have had a chance to finish in the top probably five or six in the history of Georgia’s senior classes in terms of wins, and that’s a pretty remarkable stat when you think about the senior classes that have been through here.
“They have done a great job for our program, certainly me personally and our staff personally. This is kind of the group that we came in with – freshmen (and) rising sophomores. They're heading out, and we’re proud of what they've been able to accomplish.”
“We’ve got an opportunity to do something that we haven’t had in a while, back-to-back seasons winning all the games at home, so that’s something we want to do,” Ledbetter said. “You can focus on all those other things, but at the end of the day it’s Georgia Tech. Y’all know how we feel about them and we know how they feel about us. We’ve got to defend our house, so we’ll do what we have to do until the last second.”
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