Make first downs
Georgia probably won’t have to score a lot of points to win, but it does need to hold onto the football and gain some yardage to keep the field position in the Bulldogs’ favor and keep the Virginia Tech crowd out of the game.
Pressure Sean Glennon
Glennon is a first-year starter like Georgia’s Matthew Stafford, but, frankly, he’s not the talent that Stafford is. He’ll struggle under pressure but he can hit the deep ball if he’s given enough time to find Josh Morgan or Eddie Royal
Don’t turn the ball over
It’s crucial in every game but particularly so against the nation’s top-ranked defense. The Bulldogs can’t afford to waste any chances against the team that finished third in the ACC in turnover margin at plus-seven.
One to watch
He’s not a Georgia player but the most integral person on the field for the Bulldogs may be Virginia Tech linebacker Vince Hall. The All-ACC junior has a knack for making plays (10.5 tackles for loss) and getting him blocked will be a key today. “You see No. 9 a lot,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “He makes plays in the box, between the tackles, but he also makes them between the sidelines. He’s very active, very physical. He’s 245 pounds, and you think that’s a guy who’s going to play between the tackles and maybe struggle a little bit in space, but he can run and make plays. Sometimes he’ll run through a gap and make a play or run it down instead of playing over the top. He’s just an instinctive player who makes plays. Not to say he’s not fundamental, but he just makes plays.”
The last time Georgia played in the Georgia Dome it was shocked by West Virginia, and the Bulldogs never really seemed to regain their swagger until this year’s 11th game against Auburn. That’s the first of two major motivations for this year’s team. “That’s an extreme motivation,” senior safety Tra Battle said. “It was kind of embarrassing to come out and perform in the fashion that we did. If we come out and perform like we did last year, that’ll just destroy what we’ve done these last two games.” That’s the second part of the motivation. The Bulldogs want to prove that their wins over Auburn and Georgia Tech were not a fluke. A victory will assure the Bulldogs of not finishing unranked for the first time in the Mark Richt era. “I know for the senior class, that means everything,” Battle said. “We did a little soul-searching after some of the losses this season. We kind of looked at each other and said, ‘What kind of legacy do you want to leave at Georgia football?’ In 10, 20 years down the road are we going to tell our kids, ‘We’re the team that had the worst record of the Mark Richt era.’ Or are we going to say, ‘We were a team that had some rough times but fought through it?’ I think that’s a much better story to tell your kids down the road.” As for Virginia Tech, it has never won two bowl games in a row, and it won last year’s 35-24 win over Louisville. When Richt learned that fact at a Friday news conference, he said to Beamer, “So this the off year for you guys?” Yes.