Georgia’s defense is flirting with history this season.
It hasn’t allowed a single point inside Sanford Stadium since Oct. 12. In their win over Missouri on Nov. 9, the Bulldogs successfully executed their third shutout of the season and second shutout in a row at home.
The last time Georgia had three shutouts in a single year was in 1981. The most shutouts a Georgia team has accomplished in an entire season with 12 or more games was four, which occurred in 1971 and 1976 under head coach Vince Dooley. The Bulldogs were SEC champions in the 1976 season.
Georgia’s rushing defense is another scary sight for opponents. The Bulldogs are the only team in the nation that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown. That includes the Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III.
Nine games is the deepest Georgia has gone into a season without letting a team break the plane on the ground. The Bulldogs have the No. 4 rushing defense in the FBS, allowing 74.6 yards per game.
“We pride ourselves on not letting our opponents do much of anything offensively,” junior defensive back Richard LeCounte said after the Missouri game. “That’s an accolade that we keep with us, and we are still going to try and improve.”
Georgia ranks No. 1 nationally in red zone defense. It displayed this first-hand against Missouri in a four-down goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs have allowed teams into the red zone only 13 times this season.
The Bulldogs were not satisfied with their defensive performance last season, and nudges are everywhere. In practice the week leading up to Missouri, head coach Kirby Smart held up a board to remind his team of how many rushing touchdowns it gave up to the Tigers one year prior.
“We’re reaping the benefits on defense from all the frustration of last year,” Smart said.
Georgia’s defense displays a difference in experience this season, especially at the inside linebacker position. The junior and senior duo of Monty Rice and Tae Crowder said they have found it much easier to play alongside each other having been together for three seasons.
“We just mesh well together. If I mess up a call he is going to correct me,” Rice said. “We just play off each other.”
Creating havoc has been the main priority for the defense, but a newer point of emphasis was brought up on Nov. 6 from Crowder and Rice’s performance. Smart said a big part of the game is sacrificing for one another to make a play, and it is something the defense will hone in on as the Bulldogs close out their regular season.