Thursday September 20th, 2018 3:03AM

The Last Time: Georgia at Vanderbilt

By Brian Stewart Reporter

Another week, another trip north to the great Volunteer State.

Only difference is this time is it's a trek over to Nashville to face a team that might actually score a point Vanderbilt.

Hello and welcome to your one stop shop for all things related to useless, but interesting, stats and facts related to Georgia football.

I hope you'll join me on this magical experience ahead of tomorrow's game against the Commies.

The last time...

1) These teams met:

It was ugly.

The Bulldogs couldn't get the offense moving, and made just enough mistakes (including a mind boggling fourth-down call) to lose at home, 17-16.

It marked the first "signature" win for Derek Mason at Vandy, and the school's second win over Georgia in four years, dating back to the James Franklin era.

Hard to believe the 2016 senior class in Athens managed three wins over Auburn, but only two over the Commodores.

2) The Georgia defense allowed a touchdown:

I was at Disney World, watching the game at the ESPN Lounge, the last time the Junkyard Dawgs surrendered a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter of the Dawgs' 42-14 victory over Samford on Sept. 16, Devlin Hodges found Kelvin McKnight on an 18-yard touchdown pass against the Georgia second-stringers.

Since then, the Dawgs have gone 133:49 of game time without surrendering a touchdown.

In fact, Mississippi State's lone field goal remains the only points that have been scored on Georgia since then.

3) Vanderbilt beat two ranked opponents in a season:

The Commodores are actually playing their fourth straight game against a ranked opponent, with the Bulldogs sitting at No. 5.

Vandy beat then-No. 18 Kansas State on Sept. 16 before dropping two straight to No. 1 Alabama and No. 24 Florida.

A win Saturday for the Commodores would mark the first time since ... last year (technically).

In 2016, Vandy owned wins over No. 24 Tennessee and ... No. 25 (FCS) Tennessee State.

But I know that one doesn't count in your mind, so...

BONUS: Vanderbilt beat two ranked FBS opponents in a season:

We need to dig a bit farther back for this one, but not, perhaps, as far as you'd think.

Let's return to 2008, the only time I can ever remember College Game Day going to Vandy.

The Commodores actually beat three ranked opponents that year, including a home win over No. 13 Auburn when Game Day was in town.

Vandy also knocked off No. 24 South Carolina early in the season and No. 24 Boston College in the Music City Bowl.

4) Georgia scored 30 points in four straight games:

The Dawgs have dropped a 30-spot in three straight games, in wins over Samford, Mississippi State and Tennessee.

If Georgia puts up 30 or more on Saturday, it would be the first time since 2015.

To start the season, the Bulldogs notched four consecutive wins with scoring outputs of 51, 31, 52, and 48.

The low spot of 31 during that stretch? It came against Vandy.

5) Vanderbilt was shutout twice in a season:

The Commodores have already been shutout once — a 59-0 drubbing at the hands of Alabama.

Since Georgia already blanked Tennessee in Knoxville (and held a fairly talented Mississippi State offense to a mere field goal), let's take a dive into what it would mean if the Dawgs pitched another shutout on Saturday, which would be its first back-to-back shutout since 2006.

(Bonus fact, free of charge.)

The 'Dores haven't been goose egg'd twice in a year since 2015, when they got blanked by Houston 34-0 and Texas A&M 25-0.

6) Georgia started 6-0:

The last Bulldog team to start 6-0 went on to win the SEC Championship.

Led by star quarterback D.J. Shockley, the 2005 team raced off to a 7-0 start before back-to-back losses to Florida and Auburn.

Shockley rebounded from a knee injury that held him out of the Cocktail Party to finish the season with wins over Kentucky and Georgia Tech, then a 34-14 demolition of LSU in the SEC Championship.

Since then, only three other Georgia teams have started 5-0, including this one. The 2006 and 2012 Bulldogs both lost in Game 6.

The 2017 Bulldogs have a chance to break it.

7) Vanderbilt recovered a fumble:

The Commodores haven't jumped on a loose ball since the 41-17 loss to N.C. State in last year's Independence Bowl.

On the opening possession, Wolfpack RB Matthew Dayes fumbled at the Vanderbilt 23. Commodore defender Arnold Tarpley recovered with 12:58 left in the first quarter.

In the five games since then, Vandy has forced five turnovers, all interceptions.

(Though it's worth noting the 'Dores didn't force a single turnover against Alabama or Florida.)

That's 3 hours, 57 minutes, 38 minutes of football without a fumble recovery.

By comparison, Georgia has recovered five fumbles so far this year.

8) Georgia beat Tennessee worse than it beat Vanderbilt:

By no means do I expect a blowout Saturday. Nashville has proven to be a tricky place in recent years, and the Commodores are pretty tough on defense.

So I'm expecting the score won't be nearly as lopsided as last week's 41-0 smack down of the Volunteers in Knoxville.

And if that's the case (I'll be happy with a win, even if it's ugly.) it would be the first time since 2013.

That season the Dawgs beat Tennessee 34-31 in Knoxville in a wild overtime finish then — thanks to all the ACL tears that week in Neyland — lost a couple weeks later in Nashville 31-27.

(Still mad about that targeting call.)

But I'm guessing this doesn't quite satisfy your appetite.

BONUS: Georgia beat both Tennessee and Vanderbilt, but beat the Vols worse:

For this one we need only skip back to 2011.

The Dawgs went on the road and stonewalled Tennessee's offense (coached by Jim Chaney — take that for whatever it's worth) in a 20-12 victory.

The next week Georgia headed to Vanderbilt, and escaped with a 33-28 win that saw the Commodores throwing to the endzone on the final play of regulation.

I have to say, as I researched this, it's actually not as uncommon as you might think for Georgia to beat Tennessee by more points than it beat Vandy.

A few other recent years where this was the case, in handy-dandy chart form:

2000 Georgia 21, Tennessee 10 (+11) Georgia 29, Vanderbilt 19 (+10)
2003 Georgia 41, Tennessee 14 (+27) Georgia 27, Vanderbilt 8 (+19)
2008 Georgia 26, Tennessee 14 (+12) Georgia 24, Vanderbilt 10 (+14)
2011 Georgia 20, Tennessee 12 (+8) Georgia 33, Vanderbilt 28 (+5)

My guess is we'll be adding to this list come Saturday.

9) Vanderbilt won a home game that kicked off at noon ET:

The Commodores are working on three straight years without winning a noon home game.

Their last win in Vanderbilt Stadium at 11 a.m. local time was a 34-31 escape against UMass in 2014, the first of only three wins that season for the 'Dores.

Since then, Vandy has played exactly one home game at noon ET.


(Georgia fans are cringing, I know.)

That one game was a 13-6 loss to Florida, in case you're wondering.

10) Georgia won its first three road games of the season:

The Dawgs already own road wins over Notre Dame and Tennessee, and a win Saturday would make it three straight to start the season.

It would be the first time since 2011, when Georgia went 4-0 in true road games.

The Bulldogs knocked off Ole Miss (27-13), Tennessee (20-12), Vanderbilt (33-28) and Georgia Tech (31-17) that season.

Every year since then, Georgia has lost one of its first three road games.


As of this writing, the Dawgs are a 17.5-point favorite.

Georgia hasn't covered that large of a spread in Nashville since 2009, a 34-10 victory.

History tells me to take Vandy and the points, but the way this Bulldog team is playing, I have a hard time seeing the 'Dores keeping it that close.

That doesn't mean it'll be a blowout necessarily, but a comfortable win — say, 31-10 with a late, game-icing touchdown — seems like a decent bet.

But then again, I've been wrong most of the season.

Who knows.

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