Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Georgia on the minds as No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 3 Georgia clash in the biggest game of the season to date

Photo Credit: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

By: Jon Opiela
Twitter: @jonopiela24

Eyes all over the country will be descending upon Athens, GA as No. 7 Notre Dame (2-0) heads south of the Mason-Dixon line to take on No. 3 Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC East). The Irish and Bulldogs will kick off at 8 p.m. ET and the game will be televised nationally on CBS and the CBS Sports App.

Georgia On Their Minds:

Notre Dame is 29-19 all-time against the Southeastern Conference and 9-5 all-time on the road against SEC opponents. The last time Notre Dame battled an SEC program on the road came in 2004 when the unranked Irish knocked off No. 9 Tennessee, 17-13 led by quarterback Brady Quinn.

One of the intriguing battles to watch throughout the contest will be how the battle in the trenches fare between Notre Dame’s defensive line and Georgia’s offensive line. 

Georgia’s offensive line averages 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 328.6 pounds, which is the largest line in Bulldog history. Four of the five starters on Georgia’s offensive line are returning, including All-American left tackle Andrew Thomas and Freshman All-American left tackle Isaiah Wilson. Returners Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara will have tall tasks to face, while juniors Myron Tagoviloa-Amosa and Kurt Hinish will need to step up and make timely plays.

Quarterback Ian Book leads the Irish offense in all sense. Through the first two games, Book has tossed six touchdown passes and thrown for 553 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown pass to Javon McKinley. In addition, Book leads the Irish with 146 rushing yards and two touchdowns
Tony Jones Jr. leads the Irish running backs with 134 yards rushing and Chase Claypool leads the receiving core with 190 receiving yards. 

Between The Hedges:

Seating for Sanford Stadium will be expanded to a new record capacity of 92,746 for the prime-time contest as the University of Georgia will be adding temporary seating to the upper bowl of the stadium.

Coming into the Notre Dame game, Georgia has won 15 consecutive home games, dating back to 2017. Under Kirby Smart, the Dawgs are 18-3 at Sanford Stadium and 11-2 under the lights in night games. The last time a non-conference opponent came into Athens for a top 10 matchup was in 1966 when No. 7 Georgia defeated No. 5 Georgia Tech 23-14.

D’Andre Swift comes into the game averaging 96.7 rushing yards per game, totaling 294 yards and two tochdowns to this point this season. Jake Fromm has totaled 601 yards through the air and five touchdowns with George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock being his favorite targets. Pickens and Blaylock have 162 and 160 receiving yards, respectively and three touchdown receptions.

Mark Webb and Monty Rice have led Georgia’s defense to this point. Webb has tallied 16 total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss, and Rice is right behind him with 15 total tackles.

Series History:

In the two previous meetings between Georgia and Notre Dame, the Bulldogs have walked away victorious both times. The first meeting between the two schools came in the 1981 Sugar Bowl which saw No. 1 Georgia defeat No. 7 Notre Dame by a score of 17-10 to secure the National Championship. The other meeting came in 2017 under the lights in South Bend when Jake Fromm knocked off the Irish in his first career start 20-19.