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Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman (4) celebrates with fans after the end of a college football game between Georgia and Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. Georgia went on to finish the regular season 11-1 with a 38-7 win over Tech before heading to the SEC Championship in Atlanta. (Photo/Casey Sykes, www.caseysykes.com)

The Georgia football team has found a home away from home at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. The Bulldogs have won nine straight at Georgia Tech dating back to 2001, setting a record for most consecutive road wins in the history of the rivalry. 

In that time span, the Yellow Jackets have won three games in Athens — in 2008, 2014 and 2016. 

Georgia’s last loss to Georgia Tech away from Sanford Stadium came in an overtime defeat in 1999, one year after Kirby Smart graduated. 

This year, ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Georgia Tech a 2.1% chance to beat the No. 4 Bulldogs. Tight end Charlie Woerner said Georgia hopes it can keep the momentum rolling. 

“Going over there and keeping that tradition alive of winning there means a lot, especially to the past players who have played,” Woerner said. “We hope to continue their legacy.” 

Not every game at Georgia Tech has been easy for the Bulldogs. In 2013, Georgia trailed 20-0 before quarterback Hutson Mason connected with running back Todd Gurley to score the Bulldogs’ first touchdown just before halftime. Late in the fourth quarter, Georgia linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons intercepted Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee’s pass to set up a game-tying field goal. It sent the game to overtime, where Georgia won after two overtime periods and two Gurley touchdowns.  

In 2009, the unranked Bulldogs won 30-24 over then-No. 7 Georgia Tech, which featured star receiver Demarius Thomas and had one loss entering that game. In 2005, Georgia quarterback DJ Shockley led the Bulldogs to a seven-point victory over Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Yellow Jackets. 

Even though this year’s Georgia Tech team is 3-8, the history and tradition of the rivalry still carries weight for Smart. 

“I know the significance [the rivalry] has to so many of our fans, especially the crowd that may be older,” Smart said. “Traditionally, Georgia Tech was a national powerhouse year in [and] year out. It means so much to them.”

Bobby Dodd Stadium, just 70 miles west of Sanford Stadium, provides an opportunity for Georgia fans to see their team on the road. Two years ago, the crowd was split about 50-50. 

So the Bulldogs probably won’t be confronted with a hostile environment as they continue their quest for dominance in Atlanta. But as with any opponent, Smart is taking the Yellow Jackets seriously. 

“We have a mature team, and we said the other day that [the] most important step is the next step,” Smart said. “Georgia Tech is the next step.”

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