WHERE: Sanford Stadium
TIME: 1 p.m.
RECORDS: Georgia 4-4, Tennessee Tech 5-3
HEAD COACHES: Georgia - Mark Richt (86-26, ninth year); Tennessee Tech - Watson Brown (12-19, third year, 106-107-1 overall)
TV/RADIO: Pay Per View/Georgia Bulldog Radio Network
Well, it's homecoming for Georgia this weekend against Tennessee Tech. The Bulldogs come into Saturday's game 4-4, fresh off a 41-17 loss to Florida. A ton of speculation continues to swirl around the Bulldogs regarding potential coaching changes at the end of the year, but right now, all head coach Mark Richt is concerned with is trying to finish the season as strong as he can. That means beating the Ohio Valley Conference Golden Eagles. Although this game may not seem very exciting, it's one the Bulldogs desperately need to win. With two more victories Georgia will qualify for a bowl, and with remaining contests against Auburn, Kentucky and Georgia Tech, its imperative Richt's squad takes care of business like they should against Tennessee Tech.
The Bulldogs won't have wide receiver A.J. Green for this one. Green bruised a lung last week against Florida, although he is expected back for next week's game against Auburn. Georgia may also be without defensive end Justin Houston who hyper-extended his elbow last week. Offensive tackle Clint Boling banged up his knee against the Gators but has practiced without any issues all week and will start at left tackle.
King gets start by Ealey will play
Breakdowns in pass protection by Washaun Ealey cost the freshman a start against Tennessee Tech, but former ECI star will still get plenty of playing time Saturday. Ealey rushed for a team-high 70 yards against the Gators after running for 71 in Georgia's previous game against Vanderbilt. Richard Samuel continues to lead Georgia in rushing with 375 yards, followed by Ealey with 192 and King with 154.
Turnover margin still terrible
If there's one stat that epitomizes Georgia's season to date it's the turnover margin. The Bulldogs have 21 turnovers and have forced only six. Georgia ranks 119th nationally in turnover margin behind Miami-Ohio.
Getting to know the Golden Eagles
Tennessee Tech's offensive line has done a solid job in pass protection, allowing just 12 total sacks through the first eight games. That ranks Tech third in the league and 33rd nationally in what was formerly known as I-AA.
The starting five in Tech's offensive line are seeing the majority of snaps. The workhorses up front include center Malcolm Jones, guards Taylor Askew and Slade Adams, and tackles Scott Schweitzer and Calvin Smith. Sophomore Ryan St. John has seen some time in a support role. Andrew Higgins was seeing time at tackle but has been sidelined the past few games with an injury.
The Golden Eagle offense has produced 19 "explosions" this season, with 15 passing plays of 25 yards or more and four rushing plays of better than 20 yards.
Once Tech reaches the red zone, the Golden Eagle offense has been very efficient, scoring 19 out of 24 times for 79 percent. The Golden Eagles have found the end zone for 17 of those 19 scores.
Sophomore receiver Tim Benford was named co-Offensive Player of the Week after accounting for 122 of Tech's 265 yards of total offense against Tennessee State. Benford had five catches, including the game-winner with a 28-yard TD against double coverage with three minutes remaining. It was Benford's third career 100-yard receiving game, and second of this season.
It's homecoming at Georgia and Tennessee Tech would appear to be the perfect foil for the Bulldogs, who at this point just need a win. Granted, a victory over the Golden Eagles won't erase any of the ill feelings most fans are feeling after Georgia's disappointing 2009 campaign, but it will sure beat the alternative. That said, could you just imagine if. ... No, I'm not going to go there. The mere thought just send a shiver down my spine. Prediction: Georgia 35, Tennessee Tech 14.
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