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Breedlove anxious for season opener

ATHENS, Ga. - <b> Kevin Breedlove</b> has issued a mandate to his Georgia teammates. He wants to be able to visit his family and friends in his hometown; therefore, No. 8 Georgia must win its season opener Saturday.

Breedlove, a native of Clemson, S.C., will open his senior season Saturday by fulfilling a life-long dream of playing against his hometown Clemson Tigers.  Says Breedlove: "I just can't help thinking about this just about every second of the day.''  Once annual rivals, Georgia and Clemson have not played since 1995.  The renewal of the rivalry - a product of the 12-game schedules in the NCAA this season - comes just in time for Breedlove to put his hometown ties on the line.  If Georgia loses Saturday night "I can't go home,'' Breedlove said. "That's all there is to it. I'm permanently an Athens resident if we lose.''  With a laugh, he added: "I'll never be able to live it down if we lose. Just the fact that if I want to see my family again, we have to win. If not, I'd have to go back under an assumed name or something.''

That sounds like pressure, but for Breedlove it's a fun  pressure. Any player would be motivated for any season opener, but an opening game for his senior season, coming in the first chance to play for the team he grew up cheering for, is a game of a lifetime.  "It's incredible,'' said Breedlove, who is tied with fellow senior offensive lineman Jon Stinchcomb for the most career starts (33) for any active Georgia player.  "I've been looking forward to this game since I heard it was going to be on the schedule. I've got family and friends calling me and asking for tickets. It seems like it is taking forever to get here. Now that it is less than a week away, I just can't wait for it.''

Breedlove, a preseason All-Southeastern Conference pick by The Sporting News, says he played in high school against many current and former Clemson players. He says he knows "about half the team.''  Breedlove at least has the comfort of sharing this experience with a fellow Clemson native, senior defensive end Jared Noblett. The two attended Daniel High School together in Clemson, though Noblett lists his hometown as Central, S.C.  

"He was my neighbor growing up and now he's my roommate,'' Breedlove said. "He's the only guy who wants to win this game as much as I do, I tell you that.''  Breedlove's older brother, Christopher, is a Clemson senior and is making the trip to Sanford Stadium with other family members and friends.  "There are a lot of people who are going to have some split allegiances, but if they want tickets from me, they've got to be cheering for Georgia,'' he said.  Breedlove understands the split loyalties.  

"I went to a lot of Clemson games growing up,'' he said. "I was always a Clemson fan. I love the school. It's a great place, a great football team. It just wasn't for me. I guess I'm always going to be a Clemson fan, just not on Saturday.''

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