Bulldogs' focus is on Jackets

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ATHENS, Ga. — The UGA Bookstore is selling Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champion T-shirts that on the front say “12.3.2011 The Dome” and on the back proclaim “Atlanta Bound.”

Before Georgia plays in the conference title game, the Bulldogs have the matter of holding on to state supremacy with a trip to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech.

The No. 13 Bulldogs (9-2) and No. 25 Yellow Jackets (8-3) play at noon Saturday on ESPN.

“You’ve got to put everything on hold,” coach Mark Richt said Sunday, a day after celebrating clinching the program’s first trip to the title game since 2005. “That’s going to be the focus – 100 percent Georgia Tech.”

Leading rusher Isaiah Crowell is likely to play after being limited to just three offensive snaps against Kentucky because of a sprained left ankle. Richt said director of sports medicine Ron Courson “is pretty confident” that Crowell will be good to go.

“It didn’t seem to swell too badly,” Richt said.

The status of tailback Carlton Thomas remains uncertain. He was suspended for a third time this season for violating a team rule.

Georgia’s defense has been among the nation’s best during the team’s nine-game winning streak.

The Bulldogs are now No. 2 in rush defense at 81.3 yards per game, but face a unique test against the triple-option in Georgia Tech’s No. 2 rushing offense.

Georgia Tech averages 324 yards rushing per game. The Bulldogs have given up exactly that many yards total in their past seven SEC games – and Vanderbilt accounted for 200 of those.

“It’s a whole different world,” Richt said. “It’s a different type of running game. You might be outstanding versus some of the more common things that we see on a week-to-week basis and just get thrashed by this system we’re about to go against.”

The Jackets rushed for 411 yards against Georgia last year in a 42-34 Bulldogs win.

“They’re good at what they do, they understand their system,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “They know how they want to attack you. We’ve just got to get a plan together and be able to take away the run because obviously they run it a lot and they run it well.”


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