Even though the Bulldogs are playing in the SEC title game the following week, Georgia players and coaches insist that a win is important for in-state bragging rights.
"We aren't worried at all about (the SEC title game) because we don't even know who the heck we are playing," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We are truly digging in on this one."
Georgia is concerned about stopping Georgia Tech's triple-option offense. The Yellow Jackets (8-3) are averaging 323.5 yards rushing per game.
"Right now we're not even worried about the SEC championship," cornerback Branden Smith said. "Our focus is Georgia Tech ... and just working together and getting that offense figured out."
Richt has had success against Georgia Tech, going 9-1 all-time. The winner of the game brings home the Governor's Cup, which means something to senior defensive end DeAngelo Tyson.
"I want to go out with a replica of the Governor's Cup," Tyson said.
Jackets' seniors aim for split against rivals
The Yellow Jackets' small senior class has a chance to do something no Tech class has done since 2002: Finish with a .500 record against Georgia.
The class would be 2-2 if it wins Saturday. Tech rallied to win 45-42 in 2008, then lost 30-24 and 42-34 the last two years.
"It's always emotional and especially this group because they've been here with us from the start," Johnson said. "I've seen a lot of ups and highs and a few lows along the way, but they've stayed with the program.
"They have a chance to be part of a pretty good stretch," he added. "If we can find a way to win a couple more games, they'll have accomplished a lot over the course of their careers."
A win Saturday would give Tech its third nine-win season in Johnson's four-year tenure, and 10th nine-win season in the last 55 years.
To send the seniors out on top, Tech must play better defensively than it has the past two weeks when it allowed an average of 34 points.
Georgia has scored an average of 42.3 points over its last three games.
Tech's defense appeared to right itself in midseason, but has since regressed. There is little pass rush, and the fear Saturday is that Georgia's massive offensive line will steamroll Tech's smallish front seven.
The second season under coordinator Al Groh hasn't been much better than the first.
"Coach Groh would be the first to tell you we're not as far along as we'd like to be," Johnson said. "But like I've said, we've played well enough to win eight games."
GEORGIA NOTES, QUOTES
--Georgia coach Mark Richt said he's concerned about the ball security of remaining available RBs Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton heading into the Georgia Tech game. The two running backs combined to lose three fumbles against Kentucky. "We always like to run the football," Richt said. "But you have to have backs who can do it and some backs who are willing to hang on to the football in the process. The thing about this game is every possession really is pretty crucial."
--TE Orson Charles was named one of three finalists for the Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end. The others are Clemson's Dwayne Allen and Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert. Charles credited his development to Georgia teammates and fellow TEs Aron White and Arthur Lynch. "I would like to thank Arthur and Aron for pushing me in the meeting room, Arthur for pushing me in the weight room, Aron for pushing me to understand the defensive coverages, and both of them [for] pushing me on the field," Charles said. Charles has a team-high 34 catches for the Bulldogs this season.
--Georgia is working on a helmet decal to honor legendary broadcaster Larry Munson, who died Nov. 20 at 89.
--LB Jarvis Jones was named as one of six finalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker. Jones has an SEC-high 12.5 sacks.
GEORGIA TECH NOTES, QUOTES
--Tech (8-3, 5-3 ACC) is aiming for its fourth 10-win season in 55 years.
--The Jackets are on pace to produce 6,000 total yards for the first time in school history.
--Tech has lost two straight and nine of the last 10 to archrival Georgia.
--Senior A-back Roddy Jones will make his 51st start Saturday, breaking the school record. He's averaged 7.8 yards per rush over his career. In Tech's 2008 win at Georgia, Jones ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns.
SERIES HISTORY: Georgia leads 61-37, five ties (Last meeting, 2010, Georgia 42-34).
SCOUTING THE GEORGIA OFFENSE: Georgia has started quickly on offense, outscoring its opponents 88-27 in the first quarter. The Bulldogs have been balanced this season with 2,039 rushing yards and 2,665 passing yards. Georgia is 76-for-169 (45 percent) on third-down conversions.
SCOUTING THE GEORGIA TECH DEFENSE: This unit is giving up 25.3 points, which ranks 56th nationally. Coaches acknowledge that the defense should be further along in its second year under coordinator Al Groh. The Jackets have struggled to stop the run and have generated little pass rush without blitzing. Sophomore OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (five sacks) is the top playmaker and a big-time NFL prospect.
SCOUTING THE GEORGIA TECH OFFENSE: The Jackets rank second nationally in rushing (323.6) and third-down conversion percentage (56.1) and sixth in passing efficiency (163.3). QB Tevin Washington has run for 849 yards and 14 TDs as defenses continue to force him to keep the ball. A-back Orwin Smith (570 rushing yards, 10 TDs) returns from a foot injury this week to make Tech more explosive. WR Stephen Hill is averaging 30.7 yards a catch.
SCOUTING THE GEORGIA DEFENSE: Georgia is tied for 16th in the nation in turnover margin, thanks in large part to a secondary that has collected 15 interceptions this season. Georgia has held opponents to 57.1 rushing yards per game during its current nine-game winning streak while allowing just 10 defensive touchdowns. The Bulldogs have maintained pressure on the quarterback throughout the season with 30 sacks, an average of 2.8 per game.
GEORGIA QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every time we play (the Yellow Jackets), they kind of disrespect us. ... We've got to continue to execute and practice and claim our state." -- Georgia TE Orson Charles, on the rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech
GEORGIA TECH QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Home field) hasn't made a difference since I've been here. They've all been close games and gone down to the fourth quarter no matter where they've been." -- coach Paul Johnson on his three previous Georgia-Georgia Tech games.
GEORGIA STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Georgia at Georgia Tech, Nov. 26 -- Georgia (9-2) will look to extend its winning streak to 10 games when it faces its biggest in-state rival. Georgia coach Mark Richt will face the dilemma of going full out for the win or resting players for the SEC title game on Dec. 3.
GEORGIA KEYS TO THE GAME: Georgia will need to maintain its discipline on defense against a Georgia Tech triple-option that focuses on creating mismatches in the running game. It will be interesting to see what adjustments second-year Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham makes after Georgia Tech scored 34 points against the Bulldogs last season. It will likely begin with containing Georgia Tech dual-threat QB Tevin Washington, who has passed for 1,481 yards and rushed for a team-high 849 yards with a combined 24 TDs (14 rushing, 10 passing). On offense, Georgia will need to be sharper than it was against Kentucky and protect the football. The Bulldogs lost four turnovers against Kentucky, including three fumbles. Georgia Tech has 12 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries this season.
GEORGIA PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Aaron Murray -- Murray will be looking to bounce back from off day last week against Kentucky (16-of-29, 162 yards, one TD, one interception). Murray has thrown for 2,446 yards this season with 28 TDs and nine interceptions. The 28 TDs are the most for a quarterback in a season in Georgia history, surpassing Matthew Stafford's mark of 25 TDs in 2008.
WR Malcolm Mitchell -- Mitchell has 32 catches for a team-leading 549 yards receiving and four TDs.
OLB Jarvis Jones -- Jones leads the SEC in sacks (12.5) and tackles for loss (18.5).
ILB Alec Ogeltree -- Ogletree has collected 14 tackles over his last two games and forced a fumble against Auburn.
S Bacarri Rambo -- Rambo has a team-high seven interceptions this season and 12 for his career. Rambo also is the NCAA's active leader in interception-return yards with 241.
GEORGIA TECH STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
GEORGIA TECH KEYS TO THE GAME: The Jackets gave up 31 points at Duke in part because they generated little pass rush. OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (five sacks) and OLB Brandon Watts (3 sacks) must harass Georgia QB Aaron Murray, who was nearly perfect against Tech last season. Jackets QB Tevin Washington likely will get a few chances to hit receivers against single coverage, and he can't afford to miss as many as he has lately.
GEORGIA TECH PLAYERS TO WATCH:
S Isaiah Johnson -- Tech's top safety likely will be asked to cover Georgia TE Orson Charles on several occasions. Charles runs routes like a wide receiver and leads the Bulldogs with 35 catches for 435 yards and five touchdowns. Johnson has the speed to match up, but is 35 pounds lighter.
A-back Roddy Jones -- The senior captain helped beat the Bulldogs in 2008 with his memorable 54-yard touchdown run down the sideline. He always seems to play best in the biggest games. Jones must make an impact as a runner, blocker and receiver for the Jackets to win.
NT Logan Walls -- The 6-2, 299-pound senior will have his hands full against Georgia's massive offensive linemen, who range from 313 to 348 pounds. Walls and backup T.J. Barnes (6-7, 347) have to play well for the Jackets to have a chance of stopping Georgia's running game, which averages 185 yards a game.
GEORGIA ROSTER REPORT
--RB Isaiah Crowell is questionable with an ankle injury.
--Richt was vague about the status of RB Carlton Thomas, who sat out the Kentucky game with his third one-game disciplinary suspension of the season. Asked if Thomas would play against Georgia Tech, Richt responded: "I don't know that answer right now."
--RB Richard Samuel (ankle surgery) in back practicing on a limited basis but is not ready to come back for the Georgia Tech game. "We hope he's in the mix (for the SEC title game) next week," Richt said.
GEORGIA TECH ROSTER REPORT
--A-back Orwin Smith, who missed the win over Duke with a foot injury, is expected to play vs. Georgia.
--Top WR Stephen Hill, who left the win over Duke with a back injury, is expected to play vs. Georgia.
--Redshirt freshman B-back Charles Perkins saw his most extensive action in the win over Duke. He ran 12 times for 45 yards and caught a 29-yard pass, but also lost a fourth-quarter fumble. Coach Paul Johnson was non-committal this week when asked whether Perkins would get a lot of snaps vs. Georgia.