Georgia Tries to Keep Up in East

NASHVILLE - A look at Georgia's SEC game with Vanderbilt.

Four consecutive victories add up to 100 for Richt

It was a sweet 100th victory for Georgia coach Mark Richt.

Behind another strong defensive performance, the Bulldogs took another step forward with a 20-12 victory at Tennessee on Saturday night.

Georgia (4-2, 3-1 in the SEC) has won four consecutive games and remains in a first-place tie with South Carolina in the SEC East.

"We're happy," Richt said. "We had a great celebration after the game and it was a lot of fun. I'm very humbled at the way the players and coaches responded to me.

"One hundred victories is kind of hard to believe. But they belong to everyone that has played here and coached. To win here is very difficult to do."

Georgia did it with defense. The Bulldogs held Tennessee to minus-20 yards rushing, had two sacks and knocked starting quarterback Tyler Bray out of the game in the fourth quarter because of a broken thumb.

The Bulldogs have allowed only two defensive touchdowns in their last four games.

"I think the guys have gotten more confidence as we've gone along," Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "We've played a lot of players. We've had safeties playing linebacker, we've had linebackers playing outside and inside.

"We actually had Abry Jones playing outside (linebacker) some today, just because of where we are with our depth because of injuries. I'm real proud of the way they're playing and their efforts."

Smith's inability to stay healthy could cost him QB job

Coach James Franklin said recently that there would be no quarterback controversy, and that Larry Smith was the starter and Jordan Rodgers was the backup.

However, after Smith's latest injury and a decent, though scoreless, turn under center by Rodgers last week at Alabama, that might not be the case any longer. Franklin hinted that change could be the case when the Commodores host Georgia Saturday night.

Smith has left four of the five games this year due to injury and hasn't been terribly effective when he has played. Rodgers, the younger brother of Green Bay Packer star Aaron Rodgers, could offer the punchless offense more of a passing threat.

"We're still going to determine that," Franklin said. "From a practice perspective, guys that are going to be able to practice and get reps ... we'll go from there. But nothing has changed at this point from last year. Health always factors into every single position."

It was hoped that Smith could have a solid senior year after working to correct a flaw in his throwing motion during the spring. But the leaky offensive line has caused Smith to take a beating, particularly at South Carolina.

Smith didn't even make it out of the first quarter at Alabama before departing. Rodgers gave the offense a brief first-half lift with some nice throws down the field, but he then tossed a pair of second-half interceptions as Vanderbilt suffered a 34-0 shutout.

A return home could give the Commodores a boost, as they started the season with three straight wins in front of the home crowd, but Georgia has won four in a row after season-opening defeats to Boise State and South Carolina.

"They're a good team and they're on a roll right now," linebacker Archibald Barnes said of the Bulldogs. "Hopefully, we can stop that."

SERIES HISTORY: Georgia leads 51-18-3 (last meeting, 2010, Georgia won 43-0).


--With two field goals against Tennessee, K Blair Walsh has 63 for his career. That's the most of any active kicker in the country and eighth-most in SEC history.

--Coach Mark Richt is 100-36 midway through his 11th season at Georgia. He's 58-29 in the SEC. "The thing I love about the SEC is people understand how hard it is to win in this league," Richt said.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Malcolm Mitchell -- Mitchell had three catches for 126 yards, including a 71-yard catch that set up a Georgia touchdown.

LOOKING GOOD: Georgia's defense held Tennessee to 4-of-13 conversions on third down. Tennessee had minus-0.9 yards per rush and only 4.3 per play in the game. S Shawn Williams blocked an extra point in the fourth quarter. Georgia's offensive line held Tennessee without a sack.

STILL NEEDS WORK: Georgia had five consecutive penalties on an offensive series in the fourth quarter, resulting in a third-and-57 play. The Bulldogs couldn't get much going on the ground, averaging only 3.7 yards per carry. Georgia was only 3-of-12 on third-down conversions.

GEORGIA QUOTE TO NOTE: "I expected it to be a war and it was. It was very physical, but we came out with the 'W' and that's all that matters." -- Freshman RB Isaiah Crowell, following Georgia's 20-12 win at Tennessee.

SCOUTING THE VANDERBILT OFFENSE: Unless the offensive line starts blocking some people, it won't matter who plays at quarterback, running back or wide receiver. This team won't be able to move the ball and compete with top SEC defenses without some help from the guys up front. Give the coaching staff credit for not sticking with the status quo after the South Carolina loss; they changed three-fifths of the O-line. But the changes didn't result in a single point at Alabama, as Vandy managed just 190 total yards on the talented Crimson Tide.

SCOUTING THE VANDERBILT DEFENSE: The stop unit hung in there for a half at Alabama until it became weary and then couldn't get off the field. The Tide converted 12-of-17 third-down plays, and the defense was tripping over its collective tongue by the fourth quarter. Alabama players and coaches were impressed with the Commodores' defense during the first half. If the offense can pick up some first points, score a few points and give them some hope, the defense could cause some problems for promising sophomore QB Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs.

VANDERBILT KEYS TO THE GAME: To have any chance to win, Vanderbilt's inept offense must make strides and find ways to move the ball. It has to do a better job of converting third-down plays and allowing the defense a chance to rest for more than four plays at a time. And the defense has to be able to contain freshman TB Isaiah Crowell.


--The Commodores continue to struggle badly on third down, picking up just 1-of-10 first downs in the loss at Alabama. Through five games, they have converted only 12-of-65, the worst success rate among the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision squads.

--Former Vanderbilt coaches Bobby Johnson and Robbie Caldwell recruited the state of Georgia hard, making this game a big one for 19 current Commodore players from the Peach State. Included in that number are eight starters.

--LB Archibald Barnes picked up his first career start last week at Alabama, making him the ninth first-time starter on the team this year. Barnes has played well the last two games, recording 15 total tackles after notching just five in the first three contests.

VANDERBILT QUOTE TO NOTE: "Us not getting turnovers was a little bit of difference in the game. We're not used to that. We've been spoiled by Coach Shoop and our defense, how they've been able to create turnovers." -- Coach James Franklin on the defense of Bob Shoop not forcing a turnover for the first time in the loss to Alabama.



--RB Isaiah Crowell finished with 58 yards rushing and scored both Georgia touchdowns. Crowell now has four touchdowns rushing and one receiving.

--QB Aaron Murray completed 15-of-25 passes for 227 yards. Murray had no touchdowns and no interceptions.

--WR Tavarres King had five catches for 51 yards.

--LB Michael Gilliard had 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for losses and one sack.

--LB Christian Robinson had one sack and one quarterback hurry.

--CB Branden Smith got his first offensive action of the season. Smith finished with 19 yards rushing on two carries and caught one pass for zero yards.


RB Zac Stacy -- After rushing for a career-high 167 yards against Ole Miss Sept. 17, Stacy has been stifled the last two games against two of the better defenses around in South Carolina and Alabama. He'd like to find some green grass in this one and provide a spark for the offense.

C Logan Stewart -- If the Commodores are to be able to run the ball, Stewart will have to win his share of plays against Georgia's mammoth defensive tackles, who average 321 pounds. Technique and quickness will be critical for Stewart and his line mates to create holes.

CB Casey Hayward -- One of 19 Georgians on the Vandy roster, Hayward would love to stick his home-state school with an unexpected loss. He hopes to bait QB Aaron Murray into a wayward throw that might result in an interception that could provide an immediate score or set one up for the struggling offense.


--WR Malcolm Mitchell sustained a hamstring pull on his 71-yard catch in the second half against Tennessee. Georgia coach Mark Richt said Mitchell will sit out next week's game against Vanderbilt but probably will be back for Georgia's Oct. 29 matchup against rival Florida.

--Chris Burnette started at right guard and Dallas Lee moved over to left guard.

--NG John Jenkins made his first career start.

--OLB Chase Vasser started for Cornelius Washington, who is suspended for two games following his DUI arrest.


--QB Larry Smith (leg) hopes to be able to play against Georgia, but it's no sure thing. Smith was knocked out of last week's game at Alabama in the first quarter, the fourth time in five games he hasn't gone the distance. A starter between Smith and Jordan Rodgers won't be named until later in the week.

--TE Mason Johnston (leg) is done for the year after sustaining an injury in last week's loss at Alabama. A redshirt sophomore, Johnston also had his 2010 season cut short by a leg injury in a November defeat at Kentucky.

--RB Warren Norman (leg) appears to be a redshirt candidate, according to coach James Franklin. Norman hasn't played yet this season after starting for most of the last two years and earning 2009 SEC Freshman of the Year honors. If he redshirts, Norman would have two years of eligibility left.

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