ATLANTA — Greetings from Bobby Dodd Stadium where the home Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will finish their season by going up against rival Georgia which just happens to be the No. 1 ranked team in all of the land.
Georgia hasn’t lost here since 1999, prompting some to refer to this as Mark Richt Field at Bobby Dodd Stadium, something he commented on for a story two years ago. Richt went 8-0 here and Kirby Smart has gone 2-0 in his trips here as Bulldogs head coach.
The George Pickens watch is on. The Bulldogs' playmaking wide receiver who sustained a torn ACL this spring was getting second and third team reps in practice this week and could make his season debut as early as today.
“He actually surprised me on his first day back, he was making plays that people didn’t realize he could do and actually come back from,” cornerback Kelee Ringo said.
Georgia Tech has lost five in a row including getting crushed 55-0 at Notre Dame last week.
Smart says talent-wise, the Yellow Jackets are a step up from where they were. They are 33rd on the 247Sports team talent composite. That’s ahead of SEC teams Missouri and Vanderbilt.
“They've stacked some good players that've come back to the city of Atlanta,” Smart said. “When you look across the board, a lot of kids on that team that went to go play somewhere else that all of us recruited, have come back. They've had some key injuries.”
Those transfers Smart referenced include defensive lineman Antonneous Clayton (Florida), defensive backs Derrik Allen (Notre Dame), and Myles Sims (Michigan) and offensive lineman Ryan Johnson (Tennessee). All were four-star recruits.
Georgia Tech offensive line coach Brent Key and support staffer Will Glover, both former Yellow Jacket players, stood up in an offensive meeting this week to tell the players what the game means to them.
Yellow Jackets Defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker said he wants his players to attack and play without fear.
“We’re going to keep protecting the name on the back of our jerseys and keep protecting the GT this week,” Thacker said. “That’s the message, that’s the plan.”
Follow along for live updates as Georgia and Georgia Tech face off in rivalry game:
2:19 p.m. Kenny McIntosh takes it to the house
Kenny McIntosh 59-yard touchdown run is Georgia's longest rush of the season. Bulldogs leads 38-0 with 3:45 to go in the third quarter.
2:00 p.m. Brock Bowers adds another TD
Brock Bowers scores on a 9-yard touchdown catch on a pass from Stetson Bennett. That's the 10th touchdown catch for Bowers this season. It's 31-0 with 9:55 go in the third quarter.
1:03 p.m. Brock Bowers outruns Georgia Tech defense
Georgia tight end Brock Bowers took a pass over the middle and outraced the Georgia Tech defense for a 77-yard touchdown. It's his ninth touchdown catch of the season. Georgia leads 24-0 with 11:03 to go in half.
12:57 p.m. Georgia defense doing what it does
Georgia Tech has one first down in its first four offensive possessions. Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean teamed up on a sack on the last drive. The Yellow Jackets have 22 yards on 14 plays and a single first down.
12:47 p.m: Ladd McConkey touchdown catch puts Georgia up 17-0
Stetson Bennett hits Ladd McConkey in the flat and he scored on the 11-yard touchdown catch. Tight end Brock Bowers with a block on the outside. It's 17-0 Georgia with 13:33 to go in the first half.
12:36 p.m. Kearis Jackson out with injury
Georgia wide receiver/returner Kearis Jackson has a ribcage injury and just returned from the locker room without pads on, according to UGA radio sideline reporter D.J. Shockley. Ladd McConkey is returning this punt.
12:28 p.m. Stetson Bennett to Jermaine Burton for TD
Georgia goes 80 yards in 8 plays before Stetson Bennett hits Jermaine Burton on a 25-yard touchdown pass. Bennett is 4 of 6 for 75 yards. Georgia up 10-0 with 4:38 to go in the first quarter,
12:14 p.m. George Pickens makes season debut on field goal drive
George Pickens came in for one play of Georgia's opening offensive drive in the first quarter on a run play. Kearis Jackson's 22-yard punt return set up a 38-yard Jack Podlesny field goal. Georgia leads 3-0 with 10:34 to go in the first quarter.
11:54 a.m. Almost like a home game
This could be about 70 percent Georgia fans today judging by all the red in the stands.
11:27 a.m. George Pickens update
George Pickens, who could make his return today, just made a one-handed catch in the pregame warmup line. He went behind Kearis Jackson and Jermaine Burton. He's working with the third wave of receivers.
11:23 a.m. Two more Georgia players out
Safety Christopher Smith is indeed out today. He's not dressed out. Freshman wide receiver Jackson Meeks also isn't dressed out.
11:17 a.m. Georgia Tech starting QB announced
Jeff Sims is announced as Georgia Tech's starting quarterback. Jordan Yates had started in his place due to injury. Sims has 3,349 career passing yard. UPDATE: Kelly Quinlan of Rivals.com reports that Yates is still expected to start so there's that.
11:13 a.m. Jamaree Salyer not dressed out
Georgia left tackle Jamaree Salyer isn't dressed out due to a foot injury. Broderick Jones is in line for a fourth straight start. He's wearing a boot on his left foot so it looks like had a setback because he was practicing on Monday.
10:59 a.m. Roster limits loosened
Since this isn't an SEC game, there is no 70-player travel roster limit. Kicker Jared Zirkel and tight end Ryland Goede and several walk-ons that may not have made the trip are here.
10:40 a.m. Referee today
The referee today at an ACC stadium is Mike Roche. Not related, official kickoff time is 12:06 p.m.
10:34 a.m. Kendall Milton and Christopher Smith update
Running back Kendall Milton is wearing a big brace on his right knee and doing some pregame conditioning work with Scott Sinclair. Would think Milton is doubtful. Safety Christopher Smith with a bone bruise seems to be moving better.
10:28 a.m. Captains for Bulldogs
Today’s Georgia captains: safety Lewis Cine and offensive linemen Justin Shaffer and Jamaree Salyer.
10:09 a.m. Kirby Smart arrives
Kirby Smart stepped onto Grant Field here, recorded an interview with ESPN and then checked out the bright sun over the stadium. He's now talking to Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins who has his usual Waffle House cup in hand.
This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Live updates: No. 1 Georgia football faces in-state rival Georgia Tech