Georgia place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (98) kicks the ball during a continuous season video game versus Vanderbilt university at Sanford stadium on Oct. 15, 2016 in Athens, Ga. (Photo/Thomas Mills)

Two year ago, Georgia shed three games at Sanford Stadium. Probably the many stunning of those 2016 residence losses came versus Vanderbilt ~ above Oct. 15, 2016. 

The Bulldogs were greatly favored in the game, regardless of having reduce back-to-back games. Yet the Commodores do an prompt statement to begin off the game, returning the opening kickoff from Rodrigo Blankenship 95 yards and also then scoring a touchdown on second and goal.

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“I remember not playing a very an excellent game,” Blankenship said. “I mental the opened kickoff going back about 90 something yards, and it was simply not a good game because that us.”

From there, Georgia did not take the lead till the third quarter, as soon as quarterback Jacob Eason completed a pass to tight end Isaac Nauta for a 17-yard touchdown that offered the Bulldogs the 13-10 lead. Georgia included a field goal early in the fourth quarter, however after Vanderbilt reclaimed the lead through a touchdown, Georgia can not gain any an ext points ~ above the plank for the remainder of the game, and Vanderbilt won 17-16.

The Bulldogs finished with 421 yards of complete offense, if the Commodores managed just 171 yards. However, it was on special groups that the game was ultimately lost.

“We outgained them, however didn"t score points, didn"t provide up numerous yards top top defense and also gave up points,” head coach Kirby smart said. “It to be a great indicator that why special groups matter, due to the fact that when you provide up over – ns think – 250 maybe yards on distinct teams, you’ve gained a opportunity of losing the game. Every 100 yards is usually 7 points, and also we didn’t play really well.”

Two years later, as Georgia prepares to play Vanderbilt at Sanford stadion in another homecoming matchup, the team is vastly different. Georgia has excelled in distinct teams due to the fact that 2016, and also the Bulldogs have not shed a house game since 2016.

“Our coaches are all in and completely committed come just having the ideal special teams units that we can have, due to the fact that that’s a third of the game,” Blankenship said.

Not only is Blankenship a pressure on special teams as the kicker, but plenty of various other players have helped boost the special teams in other facets.

“We simply have much more players comes in the are progressively talented, and also they all want to make an immediate affect on the team, and so they number the best means in is to do an influence on distinct teams,” Blankenship said.

Georgia will certainly be even more heavily favored end Vanderbilt this weekend 보다 it remained in 2016.

Still, the 2016 loss has actually not left the psychic of the players still ~ above the team, and they have ongoing to comment on it leading as much as homecoming weekend.

“We have actually thought about it a lot,” running earlier Elijah Holyfield said. “I think that sticks with people who were here a lot, since that game was among the games that really, really cut us deep.” 


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