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UGA's playoff dreams still alive while Tech trying to make a bowl
Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn hoists tailback Nick Chubb, celebrating his 55-yard touchdown run against Kentucky during the second half of last weekend's game in Athens, Ga. - photo by Associated Press

    ATLANTA — Georgia has been looking forward to this game all season.

    Putting in the time, too.

    Every Monday, the No. 7 Bulldogs would take a break from their upcoming opponent to spend a few minutes going over Georgia Tech's unique triple-option offense.

    It was acknowledgement of both the challenges that the Yellow Jackets present with their run-oriented attack, as well as how much Saturday's game means to Georgia after a gut-wrenching 28-27 loss last season.

    "We've been working on it pretty much once a week for a long time," senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter said. "It just helps build confidence for not only the younger players, because they haven't seen it before, but also for the older players because we stay up on it."

    Georgia (10-1) has a lot more than redemption riding on the regular-season finale.

    The Bulldogs have already earned a return visit to Atlanta for the Dec. 2 Southeastern Conference championship game, where they will face either top-ranked Alabama or the only team to beat Georgia, No. 6 Auburn.

    The SEC champion is expected to claim a spot in the College Football Playoff. But in Georgia's case, there's one big caveat: the Bulldogs can't afford a loss to their state rival.

    Then again, that's pretty much how these teams feel every year, no matter what else is riding on the outcome.
    "The rivalry runs deep," Carter said. "The winner's going to brag for 365 days. They've been bragging."

    Actually, Georgia Tech (5-5) hasn't had a whole lot to brag about this season. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a dismal 43-20 defeat at Duke and have dropped three games by a total of six points , leaving them on the cusp of a losing record for the second time in three years.

    A huge upset of Georgia would make everyone on the Flats feel a whole lot better.

    "If you win this one, the other ones don't matter," quarterback TaQuon Marshall said. "You're state champions. Nobody else would really care about the other games we lost."

    Georgia coach Kirby Smart has shown how much he cares about this game with all the extra practice time devoted to the Yellow Jackets, who rank fourth nationally with a rushing average of 319.4 yards per game.

    "They're not the norm anymore," Smart said. "It's almost like a dinosaur. People don't do it anymore, so people don't know how to defend it. It's challenging."