Dawgs already thinking about Tech

ATHENS - The way Mark Richt has it figured, Georgia's celebration of the 2005 SEC Eastern Division championship lasted until a little past 11 o'clock Saturday.

That's when Georgia Tech put the finishing touches on its 14-10 upset of then-No. 3 Miami.

"If they got a chance to watch some of that game on TV, I'm sure that got their attention," Richt said.

The No. 13 Bulldogs (8-2) wrapped up their spot in the Dec. 3 SEC Championship Game with a 45-13 whipping of Kentucky in Sanford Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

"We definitely celebrated in the locker room," Richt said. " It was a long time coming just to get a victory for us. We're excited about being the Eastern Division champions. That is a championship to us, but when we got done with that we got to talking about what was in the future."

The immediate future holds the first matchup between the Bulldogs and No. 20 Yellow Jackets (7-3) in which both were ranked since 2001, when No. 19 Georgia beat No. 21 Tech 31-17 in Atlanta. That convinced ABC to pick up the game and broadcast it at 8 p.m. on a split national level. The part of the country that doesn't see Georgia vs. Georgia Tech will see the Notre Dame-Stanford game.

"I believe this game had the attention of our players already, but I don't think there's any doubt watching a performance like (Tech's against Miami) will get you even more serious about preparation," said Richt, who is 4-0 against the Yellow Jackets since arriving in Athens.

Georgia senior Bryan McClendon, who caught two touchdown passes against Kentucky, said his team won't be looking past the Jackets to the conference title game.

"You really can't dwell on the fact that you're SEC East champions too long," he said. "Our main focus is our trip to Atlanta next week against Georgia Tech."

The Bulldogs will play without starting linebacker Tony Taylor (knee), kick return specialist Tyson Browning (leg) and freshman tight end Tripp Chandler (high ankle sprain). Browning broke his leg in Saturday's game, and the injury will mean the end of his collegiate career.

Georgia does hope to have Middle Georgia products Tra Battle and Charles Johnson available, Richt said. Battle, a starting safety who missed the Kentucky game due to a concussion, is symptom-free and should play against Georgia Tech, Richt said.

The Bulldogs will need everybody they can get, Richt said, to face the Yellow Jackets. Tech has had a few hiccups this season, but Richt hasn't seen any of those, he said. The only game action he has seen came from the Miami game and Jackets' season-opening win over Auburn.

"Those are the things I've seen them with my own eyes do,and I'm a believer that they're capable of whipping anybody and on any day," he said. "They've got a lot of heart. They've got a lot of ability so it's going to be a great challenge for us."


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