Mark Richt said his pre-game message would focus on the LSU game and how soundly the Bulldogs were beaten the last time they took the field. He also planned to remind them that, for the millions of people who watched the SEC Championship game on television, that 34-13 loss is their last impression of the No. 11 Bulldogs.
"There're not too pleased with what happened the last time we played
on national TV," he said. "The closer we get to the game and the next
chance to play on national television, we'll bring that up to them."
The next chance comes Thursday at 1 p.m. when Georgia (10-3) plays No. 12
Purdue (9-3) in the Capital One Bowl.
Georgia won its only previous meeting against the Boilermakers, 28-25
in the Outback Bowl following the 1999 season. Purdue hasn't beaten an
SEC team since 1979, when it topped Tennessee 27-22 in the Bluebonnet
Bowl. That was also the last time it played an SEC team prior to its
loss to Georgia.
Linebacker Odell Thurman predicted the Bulldogs would easily see
through Richt's ages-old ploy but added that doesn't mean it won't work.
"It'll motivate the people who really care," he said.
Safety Thomas Davis agreed, pointing out the defense feels
particularly in need of redemption because it surrendered 444 yards to
"I feel like it will work very well," he said. "It leaves
taste in your mouth when a team puts up that many points and yards
Despite Georgia's poor outing in its last game, today's game is
expected to be a test of defenses. Both teams rank in the nation's top
10 in scoring defense (Georgia, 2nd; Purdue, 8th). It will also feature
two quarterbacks -- the Bulldogs' David Greene and the Boilermakers'
Kyle Orton -- who Richt says are "probably going to be considered two of
the best in the country next year."
Orton was named honorable mention All-Big Ten after throwing for 2,655
yards and 14 touchdowns this year.
Although Richt will preach pride to his team, Georgia and Purdue have
tangible motivations, too. The winner probably will finish in the
nation's top 10. For Georgia, it would be the first back-to-back top 10
finishes since 1983. Purdue could achieve the second 10-win season in
116 years of football
"Our goals are very much the same," Richt said. "There are
great things that can come of it. I think the bottom line with our guys
is they like to play football, they like to win."
A victory to end this season could help Georgia next year. The
Bulldogs will be considered a national title contender entering next
season and a win today would improve their preseason ranking and,
therefore, their chances to rank high in the BCS standings.
"We want to start the 2004 season off right by opening up the year
with a win," Davis said.
Georgia/Purdue Bowl Preview
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