ATHENS, GA -- Outside of rivalry week, the Georgia/Notre Dame game may be one of the most anticipated games of the college season. The Bulldogs last defeated the Irish in 2017 and will now face them at home on Saturday.
It's a high caliber match-up that's hard not to be excited about. More importantly, it's a preview of the competition Georgia will need to be ready for later in the season. Head coach Kirby Smart views the 2017 game as a launching point for where the Dogs are now and views this year's game as another chance for improvement.
"I think it's a little bit of both. I mean it was giving our kids an opportunity to perform at a high level, and that was a really good football team. We didn't play perfect. They didn't play perfect. It was a hard-fought game. Both teams got better by playing that game, and that was two good football teams," said Smart.
The Irish took down New Mexico 66 to 14 in their last game and quarterback Ian Book will be the best offensive leader Georgia has faced this season. It'll be a pound for pound battle in the trenches as well. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has a lot of respect for Georgia's program and what they bring to the table and is expecting a fight to the finish.
"They have great weapons all around'em. They have a great offensive line. A great quarterback. I don't know what else to say about them. It is just a very balanced offense.. run it, throw it and a quarterback that manages it very well and that is before you get to the defense. Obviously Kirby (Smart) takes great pride in that defense and a great group again. This group is talented but it is really deep as well," said Kelly.
The talk on both sides has been friendly, but expect a completely different tone on the field Saturday.