Monday November 30th, 2015 3:46PM

Dogs looking for rebound at Vandy

By The Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Georgia has kept Bulldogs' fans on the edge of their seats in this season of high hopes, tight finishes and an injury list that seems to grow longer with each passing week.

They have no time to relax just yet.

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs visit Vanderbilt on Saturday before an open date to rest before the annual showdown with Florida. Georgia routed Vanderbilt 48-3 in Athens last year, but the Commodores always play tougher at home. Georgia escaped with a 33-28 win in their last visit to Nashville in 2011.

"Playing there is always tough," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "Historically for whatever reason it's been a really tough venue for us to go in and not have a battle royale to the very end. The fact that that's all we've had this year I assume we are going to have another one like that. So Georgia fans, get ready. It's going to be a tough game."

The Bulldogs (4-2, 3-1) are coming off their first SEC loss, 41-26 to Missouri. Running back Todd Gurley might have given the decimated backfield a boost, but he's doubtful and expected to miss a third straight game with his sprained ankle. That leaves Aaron Murray working with freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas.

Georgia tight end Artie Lynch said the Bulldogs just need to focus on trying to beat Vanderbilt and ignore the looming bye week.

"Vanderbilt always plays us tough," Lynch said. "They're no longer the Vanderbilt they once were."

The Commodores (3-3, 0-3) have yet to win a league game this season, but they are 11-4 since last playing Georgia. They are coming off their own open date after being routed 51-28 by Missouri themselves. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and his staff focused on tightening up their defense, though Georgia's loss to Missouri made the Commodores' look a bit better.

"I think that gives everyone an awareness of how good Missouri was on offense," Franklin said.

Vanderbilt feels rested and is getting outside linebacker Karl Butler back too. This is a rare game for the Commodores on national television, and they want to take advantage of the opportunity to start off the second half of their season with a bang.

"It would mean a lot more if we beat Georgia, so that's the plan," Vanderbilt senior offensive lineman Wesley Johnson said.

-- Here are five things to watch as Georgia tries to avoid a rare loss to Vanderbilt:

GEORGIA GOALS: One advantage Aaron Murray has even if he's lost two of his receivers to torn ACLs in Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley is his experience. The quarterback with 47 starts knows that the Bulldogs aren't out of the chase in the SEC's Eastern Division with only one loss in league play, keeping a trip to the title game in Atlanta in the mix. "We still feel like that goal is still attainable," Murray said. "Obviously we have to win the rest of our games ... so we have to take care of business these next six games."

MATTHEWS' MARKS: Georgia has two freshmen starting in the secondary in safety Quincy Mauger and cornerback Shaq Wiggins. And here comes Vanderbilt senior Jordan Matthews. He set two school records against Missouri, including his 22nd career TD reception. He has 2,991 yards receiving in his career putting him fourth all-time in the SEC. He could take the record of 3,093 set by Terrence Edwards of Georgia against the Bulldogs.

PRESSURE MURRAY: Georgia has protected Murray very well, allowing only nine sacks this season. The Commodores watched Missouri harass the senior last week and think they can pressure Murray as well. Vanderbilt has 13 sacks defensively this season, and Franklin has made it very clear he expects much more out of his defensive line.

GURLEY OR NOT: Franklin is expecting the Georgia tailback to play, even though Gurley has been out since hurting his ankle in the first quarter of a win over LSU on Sept. 28. Georgia has been making do with a pair of freshmen, and Green ran for 129 yards in an overtime win at Tennessee earlier this month.

STREAKING: This is a series that Georgia has dominated for years. The Bulldogs have won six straight and 17 of the past 18 with the lone loss in 2006 in Athens. The Bulldogs have not lost in Nashville since 1991.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bartus, Icemen shuts out Gwinnett
Garrett Bartus pitched a 42 save shutout, as the Evansville IceMen topped the Gwinnett Gladiators on a New year
10:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Gator Bowl Preview Capsule
A rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl, which Georgia won 45-31 in Orlando.
8:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Millsap's 34 leads Hawks past Celtics
Paul Millsap had season highs with 34 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday afternoon.
7:44PM ( 1 year ago )
No. 19 Georgia blows past Illinois
Shacobia Barbee had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead No. 19 Georgia over Illinois 82-60 on Saturday.
10:42PM ( 1 year ago )
Dogs will face Nebraska without standout DE Moss
Nebraska defensive end Avery Moss returned to his home in Arizona to attend to a personal issue and won't play in the Gator Bowl against No. 23 Georgia next week.
10:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Georgia Southern coach Monken headed for Army
Desperate to snap its long losing streak against its archrival, Army has hired former Navy assistant Jeff Monken as its 37th football coach.
1:04PM ( 1 year ago )
College Sports
Georgia's Mark Richt not done coaching, will listen to anyone interested in giving him a job
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Mark Richt remains interested in another coaching job and said Monday he will listen "to anybody who has interest in me" as he prepares for his final game as Georgia's coach.Georgia...
1:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
UNG women's soccer lands five on D2CCA All-Region team
The University of North Georgia women's soccer team had five student-athletes selected to the 2015 D2CCA All-Southeast Region Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America on Monday.
By UNG Sports Communications
10:32AM ( 5 hours ago )
Georgia's Richt stepping down following 'mutual' decision
Mark Richt stepped down as Georgia's coach Sunday, leaving stunned players with one final bowl game with the man who ranks second in wins in school history.
By The Associated Press
7:35AM ( 8 hours ago )
5 things: What we learned from the quarterfinal round of the high school football playoffs
Here’s a look at five things we learned from the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs...
7:00AM ( 8 hours ago )
Falcons' slump deepens in 20-10 loss to Vikings
Matt Ryan heard some of the loudest boos of his career after another Falcons loss...
8:13PM ( 19 hours ago )