ATHENS, Ga. -- Nobody has forgotten the last time No. 5 Georgia (3-0) and Vanderbilt (1-2) were on the same field, when Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and James Franklin got into a postgame shouting match and three players received suspensions for their misdeeds during a testy game that went down to the wire.
Those incidents have generated buzz for Saturday’s game at Sanford Stadium that is somewhat unusual for a series where Georgia has won 16 of the last 17 meetings. Let’s look at five of the top storylines entering Saturday’s showdown:
1. Grantham-Franklin, part deux
Georgia safety Shawn Williams’ postgame behavior irked Franklin last season, but he picked the wrong Bulldogs assistant when he voiced his complaints to Grantham. The two men were quickly embroiled in a shouting match that made headlines at the time and throughout this week. Both coaches have tried to brush off the issue this week, but it’s evident that neither of them feels much regret over what happened.
2. Who’s the Commodores’ quarterback?
Austyn Carta-Samuels replaced Jordan Rodgers in the starting lineup and directed the offense in a 58-0 win against Presbyterian. Rodgers is the more experienced player, however, with nine starts to his credit and a strong effort against Georgia in last season’s 33-28 loss in Nashville. Franklin had not announced which player would be the starter by midweek.
3. Bulldogs’ offense faces test
For the first time in school history, Georgia scored 40-plus points in each of its first three games -- highlighted by last Saturday’s 713-yard performance against Florida Atlantic, which set a new school single-game record. Vandy has been fairly stingy on defense thus far, however, ranking 16th nationally in scoring defense at 13.3 points per game. The Commodores probably represent the toughest test for the Bulldogs’ offense thus far.
4. How’s Jarvis?
Georgia’s All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones proclaimed himself ready to play against Vanderbilt earlier this week after sitting out the FAU game with a groin injury, but Georgia coach Mark Richt wouldn’t go that far, saying he was “hopeful” that Jones will be able to play. Jones is possibly the most impactful difference maker in the entire SEC and the Bulldogs’ defense struggled at points without him last week. They definitely need him against Vandy.
5. Changing the culture
Franklin’s desire is to turn Vanderbilt into something other than an SEC doormat, but he hasn’t quite broken through yet. The Commodores have won only one of their last six SEC games (against Kentucky), but their losses to Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina came by an average of only 4.6 points. A Commodores win would be their first against a ranked team since beating No. 13 Auburn in October 2008.