KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia’s Mark Richt can reach a coaching milestone today with a victory over Tennessee: His 100th career win, all at Georgia.
Richt got his first big win in 2001 when the Bulldogs upset a then-No. 6 Tennessee team in Knoxville, but a win today in a sold-out Neyland Stadium would be just as sweet with Georgia (3-2, 2-1) in a three-way tie for first in the SEC East after a 0-2 start to the season.
“I never thought I’d get to 100,” he said. “I didn’t know if I’d get to 100 games, period, but to get to 100 victories would be sweet, no doubt. The sweetest part of it would be if it happened this week. I would think there is a pretty good chance that this season we’ll get to 100, but I sure would like it this week because it is Tennessee and it is so important for where we are right now and the race we’re in.”
Though Richt hasn’t forgotten that first trip to Knoxville, he’d probably like to forget the two most recent ones. In 2007, the Vols raced to a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 35-14 victory, and two years ago, they won even more resoundingly, 45-19.
“It was a pretty hostile crowd,” Georgia tight end Orson Charles said of the 2009 game. “I was kind of upset because I felt like we just fizzled out in the second quarter. The crowd got even louder because they felt like we gave up. I’m excited on going back in that stadium and showing them that this is a different Georgia team.”
That different Georgia team showed its face against Tennessee last season. The Bulldogs took a 27-7 halftime lead en route to a 41-14 decision that ended a four-game losing streak.
This year, Georgia brings to town one of the SEC’s top defenses, which is allowing 258.6 yards per game and has only given up one touchdown in the past three games.
The Bulldogs’ secondary has picked off eight passes this season but will be facing an accurate quarterback in the Vols’ Tyler Bray, who has thrown 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions.