Tech Week: Three Keys

ATHENS - Josh Kendall takes a look at the three keys in Georgia's game with Georgia Tech.

1. Points could be hard to come by with both defenses ranked in the top 15 nationally. So it could come down to the kickers. Bell, 10 of 19 on the season, has missed three straight. Bell is just 4 of 10 on attempts longer than 40 yards. Coutu, a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, is 21 of 26 on field goal attempts this season. Coutu made a 58-yarder and a 56-yarder this season. Both kickers have had their share of agony. Bell missed two short field goals in a three-point loss to N.C. State. Coutu missed two field goals in a 14-10 loss to Florida.

2. The Yellow Jackets have had trouble with elusive, scrambling quarterbacks like Marcus Vick (Virginia Tech) and Marques Hagans (Virginia). Even Matt Baker (North Carolina) gave the Yellow Jackets trouble with his feet. Because Tech brings so many extra rushers, it often creates running lanes for quarterbacks, if they're quick enough to get through them. Shockley, of course, is quick enough — even after returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for the Florida game. Shockley leads the SEC and ranks 11th nationally in passing efficiency. If he has time to throw — or buys time with his legs — then he could give Tech fits all evening.

3. Both teams will be fired up for this one, the latest installment in a century-old rivalry. For 17 Georgia Tech seniors, including defensive stars Gerris Wilkinson, Eric Henderson and Chris Reis, it will be their final game at Bobby Dodd Stadium and their final chance to beat the Bulldogs, who have won four straight in the series. Both teams are playing for better bowl spots. Both teams are playing for bragging rights in a series that you live with for 365 days around the state. But both teams will need to avoid penalties born of anxiousness like offsides and false starts, and penalties born of uncheched emotion like late hits or celebration.

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