Bulldog Nation is still riding high from Georgia’s 17-9 win over rival Florida, but coach Mark Richt and his staff are moving on to Ole Miss, which comes to Athens for a 3:30 p.m. game.
The Bulldogs need to beat the Rebels and Auburn the following week to return to Atlanta for the SEC title game. Georgia is a 14 1/2 point favorite Saturday, according to VegasInsider.com
“We know we’ve got to win,” Richt said on his Sunday evening teleconference. “We know that we’ve got to continue to play like we did this last game to really give us our best chance.”
The Bulldogs, 7-1 overall, are also back in the mix with an outside chance to get to the BCS title game.
Georgia rose five spots in the USA Today coaches’ poll and Harris polls—to No. 6. Those polls are two-thirds of the BCS formula.
The Bulldogs are No. 7 in the Associated Press poll.
Some updates from Richt:
–Fullback Merritt Hall sprained his ankle on Georgia’s first offensive play.
“I don’t know bad,” Richt said. “It was on the very first play from scrimmage. He had some contact with their defensive end and it got torqued the wrong way force on force and it got in an awkward position and he sprained his ankle. Zander (Ogletree) came in. Zander actually played a heck of a ballgame. He was very physical in his run blocking. He didn’t seem to have many mental errors at all. I don’t even know if he had a missed assignment. He caught the ball a couple of times, got a nice first down that first catch of the game to get us down to the 10. He did come in and play well, but Merritt’s been playing well all year as well. We’re hoping to get him back as soon as we can.”
–Richt liked what he saw from the Georgia defense on film as much as he did in person.
“When I watched the film, there’s a lot of guys playing physical, a lot of guys playing hard, playing really hard,” he said. “You can see the whole group, hustling, gang-tackling. There were some great individual plays. And they were kind of feeding off each other. It was exciting to watch as it happened and it was actually fun to watch the film.”
Of the emotional game that was filled with penalties and chippiness, Richt said: “That was one of the most intense games I’ve ever coached from start to finish.”
–The team took a moment Saturday to pray for the health ofSouth Carolinatailback Marcus Lattimore, Richt said. Lattimore damaged “several” knee ligaments against Tennessee, South Carolina announced Sunday.
“We prayed for him as a team,” Richt said. “As we were just kind of closing out the day, we thought about him. Just what a warrior he is, what a great football player and a great competitor and a guy we have a lot of respect for as a person as well. We know how an injury like that is just very difficult so we wanted to pray for him and his family so we did that.”