ATLANTA (AP) -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had a ready
response when asked if Chick-fil-A Bowl opponent Georgia reminded
him of another team.
Virginia Tech, was Beamer's response.
Georgia coach Mark Richt says he also sees similarities between
the teams. The Bulldogs and No. 14 Hokies boast similar strengths
and even share some of the same concerns, heading into Saturday
"When you look at it we're real similar," Beamer said.
"They've got a good defense and we've got a good defense. Both of
them are ranked. Offensively, we've both got new starting
quarterbacks. We both came up a little short in offensive linemen
and had a little inexperience there. Their kicking game is real
good and I think our kicking game is good."
Virginia Tech (10-2) leads the nation with its averages of 221
yards and 9.3 points allowed per game. Georgia (8-4) is ninth in
total defense, giving up 264 yards per game, and 22nd in scoring
defense, allowing an average of 17.1 points.
The Hokies allowed a total of 29 points while winning their last
six games. They shut out two of their last three opponents.
"Hopefully we'll win by one point," Richt said Friday before
adding "Hopefully we'll score one point."
The only teams to score more than 13 points against Virginia
Tech were the only teams to beat the Hokies -- Georgia Tech (38-27)
and Boston College (22-3) in back-to-back midseason games.
Georgia suffered a more prolonged midseason slump, losing four
of five games to drop to 6-4. The Bulldogs saved their season with
consecutive upsets of No. 5 Auburn and No. 16 Georgia Tech.
"I think both of us are playing our very best here at the end
of the year, and as coaches that's what you want to do," Beamer
Georgia's streak of four straight seasons with 10 or more wins
and top 10 rankings has ended, but the Bulldogs could move back
into the Top 25 by taking a third straight win over a ranked
Georgia, making its second straight postseason appearance in the
Georgia Dome, also is playing to make up for last season's poor
showing in a loss to West Virginia. The Bulldogs fell behind 28-0
in the Sugar Bowl, played in Atlanta while repairs continued to the
flood-damaged Superdome in New Orleans. Georgia made a strong
comeback but lost 38-35.
"That's extreme motivation," said Georgia senior safety Tra
Battle, who had three interceptions in the win over Auburn.
"It was kind of embarrassing to come out and perform the way we
did. We say remember what happened last year. Don't let it
happen again. If we let that happen again it will just destroy what
we did the last two games."
Neither team is known for its offense, thanks in part to the
year spent breaking in new starting quarterbacks. Virginia Tech's
Sean Glennon, a sophomore, started all season, while Georgia
freshman Matthew Stafford didn't take the job for good until the
second half of the season.
Virginia Tech tailback Branden Ore, who missed the final
regular-season game against Virginia with an ankle sprain, is
expected back. He rushed for 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns despite
missing almost two full games with the injury.
Georgia lost starting tailback Thomas Brown to a knee injury in
October, leaving Kregg Lumpkin and Danny Ware to share playing
time. Lumpkin and Ware combined to rush for 1,061 yards and eight
Richt turned over play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Mike
Bobo on a temporary basis before the season-ending 15-12 win over
Georgia Tech. When offensive line coach and offensive coordinator
Neil Callaway was named the new head coach at Alabama-Birmingham
this month, Richt named Bobo the new offensive coordinator.
Callaway is with the Georgia staff as the line coach through the
Richt hasn't said if he will relinquish play-calling duties on a
permanent basis, but he said he won't interfere with Bobo's calls
against the Hokies.
"I'm pretty much leaving it to Mike to decide how to call it,"
Richt said. "I just trust him. I know how it was for me when I was
calling plays. When you get too many suggestions, it can be
problematic. I'm trying to stay out of his hair."
Atlantic Coast Conference teams have an 8-6 advantage over
Southeastern Conference teams in the game, formerly known as the
Peach Bowl. The average margin of victory in the last 20 years is
only 8.4 points, but that includes LSU's 40-3 rout of Miami in last
AccuScore has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every College Football game on ESPN.com, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions and opponent's abilities. Each game is simulated and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages.