- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
ATHENS, Ga. -- The night home game is back at Georgia and that suits Bulldogs coach Mark Richt just fine.
“I know when you play at night, usually it means you’re having a good season,” said Richt, whose Bulldogs (3-0) will host Vanderbilt (1-2) on Saturday at 7:45 p.m. “If you’re struggling you play at noon, so I’m glad we’re playing at night.”
Of course the weekly 3:30 p.m. game is traditionally the SEC’s premiere event, but playing under the lights still has a sense of occasion at Georgia.
For years, the school operated under a self-imposed rule that it would host a maximum of one night game (kicking off at 6 p.m. or later) per season. The one-game limit went by the wayside as TV coverage expanded, although night games still are not particularly common in Athens.
Last week’s game against Florida Atlantic was Georgia’s first night home contest since it beat Georgia Tech in November 2010. It was just Georgia’s 13th home night game since Richt became the Bulldogs’ coach in 2001 -- a timespan in which Georgia is 8-5 under Sanford Stadium’s lights.
Conversely, Georgia is 18-6 under Richt in night games away from Athens.
Nonetheless, Richt said he likes hosting games at night for a variety of reasons -- from the energy boost playing under the lights seems to give the crowd to the recruiting advantages that a night game provides.
And with Saturday night’s weather forecast calling for clear skies and temperatures in the 60s, Richt believes it will be a pleasant setting for football.
“I think it’s nice for our recruits. Easily they have an opportunity to come, especially if there’s some kids that need to come from some distance. So I think that’s good,” Richt said. “I think there’s more energy at night. I think the weather’s beautiful at night this time of year. From what I see, it’s supposed to be another great weather day in that regard.”
4dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough