Vols, Dawgs just don't like each other

Updated: October 9, 2003, 7:33 PM ET

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Since Georgia ended a nine-game losing streak against Tennessee in 2000, this Southeastern Conference rivalry has gotten good and ugly.

In preparation for Saturday's game against No. 13 Tennessee, No. 8 Georgia tacked up two items on their bulletin board -- a picture of Volunteers quarterback Casey Clausen and a poster with his comments from last year written on it.

Georgia (4-1, 2-1) took offense after Clausen, who didn't play last year because of a cracked collarbone, said he could have led the Vols to victory with one arm.

Georgia won, 18-13.

Tennessee (4-1, 2-1), meanwhile, is still insulted the Georgia players stomped on the big orange T painted at midfield after the 2001 win in Knoxville.

The series wasn't this heated during Tennessee's nine-game winning streak from 1989-99. Georgia has added some spice since ending the streak in 2000 and winning the last three games.

"I think everybody on our team has a strong hatred for them and they do for us," Tennessee center Scott Wells said.

With both teams tied for the lead in the SEC East standings, Saturday's game will give one team a clear path to the title game.

Those stakes alone have gotten the teams riled up, but there was already bad blood brewing.

Clausen stirred it up after the Vols' loss in Athens last year. Tennessee played with quarterbacks C.J. Leak and then freshman James Banks using a simplified plan on offense while an injured Clausen watched.

"I could have played with one arm, and we could have definitely beaten Georgia. But they didn't want to risk it. If I'd have played that game, we would definitely have won by at least a couple of touchdowns," Clausen said after practice a few days following last year's game.

Some Georgia players said the comments weren't foremost in their minds this week but admitted it added motivation.

"If we're not focused as a unit, if we're thinking about what he's saying, we're not going to be prepared 100 percent for what they're trying to do," Georgia safety Thomas Davis said.

But asked if it would be special to get a hit on Clausen, Davis said, "I feel like it would be a little extra special," and grinned.

Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said this week the comments were taken out of context. Receiver Chris Hannon said Clausen recently apologized to the team and again explained what he meant.

"All I ever said was if I would have played, the game plan -- meaning the game and the plays that we ran -- would have been different," Clausen said Wednesday. "(I) never said if I had played with one arm. I mean nobody can play with one arm. I have no clue where that stuff came from."

When Tennessee linebacker Kevin Burnett thinks about playing Georgia, he remembers what happened after the 2001 game.

The Vols had taken the lead with 44 seconds to go, but Georgia came back to score the game-winning touchdown with five seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs celebrated the 26-24 victory, their first in Neyland Stadium since 1980, by jumping on the T. Some Tennessee players got into a scuffle trying to get them off and had to be pulled away.

"That's like me coming in your house and not wiping my feet. Me walking in your house with mud. You'd take offense to that. You'd be danged TO'ed!" Burnett said.

There's also the scene at Georgia's 2000 victory at home. Excited fans ran onto the field more than a minute before the game was over.

"I remember them tearing down the goal posts three years ago down there, storming the field. I remember all of it. It eats at your heart," Wells said. "I don't want to go 0-4 against them."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index