Thursday, September 7, 2017

No. 15 Georgia and No. 24 Notre Dame clash in primetime on Saturday

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

No. 15 Georgia (1-0) and No. 24 Notre Dame (1-0) will meet for the first time in regular season history on Saturday (7:30 p.m., NBC).  The matchup will be the 15th night game in the 87-year history of Notre Dame Stadium.

The trip to South Bend will be the first game north of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1965 for the Georgia Bulldogs. 

Georgia sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason suffered a left knee injury against Appalachian State on Sept. 2 and has been ruled out for the Notre Dame game as freshman Jacob Fromm will get the start.  Fromm went 10-of-15 through the air for 143 yards and a touchdown against Appalachian State.

Notre Dame will look to get behind their offensive linemen and continue to run the football against Georgia.  The Irish had three offensive players— running backs Josh Adams and Dexter Williams and quarterback Brandon Wimbush - run for 100-plus yards a 49-16 win over Temple to open the season.

The Bulldogs will also look to expose the Irish defense using the backfield.  Seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both rank in the top-15 active career rushers in the FBS. Against App State, the duo combined for 183 yards and three touchdowns.

“Well, certainly controlling the line of scrimmage. It has not changed as one of the key ingredients in success in college football, NFL football, wherever you want to go. And that will go a long way in determining who wins this football game again,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said in his weekly press conference. “They're going to feature both their backs. We're going to feature our running game, and somebody's going to come out on top. So it's going to be an old-fashioned kind of find out who's got that grit and determination, because somebody's going to have to find a way to run the football late and control the line of scrimmage.”

There was some speculation about whether Brian VanGorder would have leaked information on the Irish to Kirby Smart and the Georgia staff after being fired by Notre Dame last season. VanGorder finished the 2016 season as a defensive consultant.

“I’ve never talked to BVG about that,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in his weekly press conference. “I don’t think that’s really fair to him, I don’t think it’s fair to do that. His son is still there and plays there.”

Montogomery VanGorder, Brian VanGorder’s son, is the third quarterback on the Notre Dame depth cart.

Kelly was unconcerned about VanGorder giving the Bulldog staff inside information.  

“No. Brian’s a professional in every since of the word,” Kelly said. “Even if he knew what we were doing offensively, he would certainly stay within the guidelines of what professionalism is. He’s the consummate professional.”

Georgia-Notre Dame All-Time series:

The Irish are 0-1 all-time against the Bulldogs.  Notre Dame went to down Georgia, 17-10 on January 1, 1981 in the Sugar Bowl.