A Low Point

In a season where Georgia lost nearly every offensive weapon, losing to Vanderbilt seemed to be as bad as it could get.

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs faltered in Nashville last season, dropping its second conference game of the year in a 31-27 loss to the Commodores. Without taking too much away from Vanderbilt, that’s a loss that sticks with you for a while. Georgia has a chance to erase that memory with a win today.

“It was a low point for the team with the number of injuries that we had, but then also the way that game ended,” senior wideout Chris Conley said.

Conley injured his ankle on the final play of the game, making him questionable for the team’s next matchup against Florida. At the time, Conley was Georgia’s leading receiver with 418 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

Conley lay on the field after a last-ditch effort to prevent the loss.

“That was a low point for me last year,” Conley said. “It was a very difficult time. That leaves a bad taste in our mouth, and definitely we’re reminded of that going into this week and how we need to prepare and how Vanderbilt can be one of those teams that makes it a 60-minute game.”

Georgia has to find a way to put a whole game together – something it couldn’t do in Nashville last October. Georgia finished the game with just 221 yards of total offense, and its defense allowed the Commodores to earn 337 yards and convert on both its fourth down attempts. Vanderbilt’s Jerron Seymour tore apart the Georgia defense with his 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Aaron Murray couldn’t muster a passing touchdown, but found the end zone twice with his feet. Conley was the team’s leading receiver with just 40 yards.

There was no Todd Gurley. There was no Keith Marshall. There was no continuity.

“We have to do everything within our power to not let that happen so that we can play a solid game for four quarters,” Conley said. “We didn’t play a great game for four quarters that game, and they hung around and ultimately took it from us. We have to prepare for that and it reminds everybody again that if somebody goes down you have to be ready to step up.”

Repressing the memory of the loss at Vanderbilt was easier for some players than others.

Last October is way in the past.

"Last year's loss isn't motivating me personally,” inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. “I don't know about everybody else, but we're just trying to win this game. It's this season. We can't get stuck on last year. We are a new team."

Georgia is an entirely different team than it was when it went to Nashville. Gurley, Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley are all expected to play in today’s matchup with Vanderbilt; none of which played in last year’s game. That changes the feel a bit, but Vanderbilt has made some changes, too – starting with first-year head coach Derek Mason.

“Yeah, we’re motivated. I can promise you I’m motivated,” Mark Richt said. “Hopefully the guys will see that (the new regime at Vanderbilt) and respond to that but I think they’re motivated, too. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

Vanderbilt doesn’t have a conference win this season. It didn’t have one before it played Georgia last season either.

“I think they’re going to be ready to play us,” senior defensive tackle Toby Johnson said. “They feel like they can beat us. They beat us last year so we have to come out and start early against these guys. We just need to do our job.”

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