#7 GEORGIA BULLDOGS (1-0) @ #7 GEORGIA BULLDOGS (1-0) @
KCKingdom
Fansided

#7 Georgia Bulldogs @ Missouri Tigers Game Preview

facebooktwitterreddit

#7 GEORGIA BULLDOGS (1-0) @ MISSOURI TIGERS (1-0)

RANKINGS (AP/COACHES/SAGARIN): MU – 36th/33rd/20th, UGA – 7th/7th/24th

KICKOFF: 6:45PM CT, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8th

WHERE: FAUROT FIELD/MEMORIAL STADIUM/THE ZOU, COLUMBIA, MO

SPREAD: GEORGIA -1.5, O/U 55.0

TV: ESPN 2

RADIO: TIGER NETWORK – 980AM & 98.1FM IN KC, 1580AM & 96.7FM IN COLUMBIA

WEATHER: CLEAR SKIES, UPPER 60’S, WNW WINDS 7MPH (FOOTBALL WEATHER!)

MU INJURIES: LG. TRAVIS RUTH (OUT), WR. WESLEY LEFTWICH (OUT), RG. JACK MEINERS (QUESTIONABLE), TE. SEAN CULKIN (QUESTIONABLE), LB. WILL EBNER (QUESTIONABLE)

UGA INJURIES: G. HUNTER LONG (DOUBTFUL), OL. WATTS DANTZLER (QUESTIONABLE), RB. KEN MALCOME (PROBABLE), WR. MARLON BROWN (PROBABLE), WR/CB. MALCOLM MITCHELL (PROBABLE)

SEC EAST STANDINGS: #9 SOUTH CAROLINA (1-0, 1-0 SEC), #7 GEORGIA (1-0), #24 FLORIDA (1-0), MIZZOU (1-0), TENNESSEE (1-0), KENTUCKY (0-1), VANDERBILT (0-1, 0-1 SEC)

September 8th, 2012.

The real beginning of a new era.

Tonight will go down in history as the first SEC game for the University of Missouri as a member of the most prestigious conference in the country.

The #7 Georgia Bulldogs make their first trip to Columbia, MO tonight for arguably the biggest, most anticipated and hyped up home game in the history of Mizzou football.

It is going to be one CRAZY scene in Columbia all day and the atmosphere and buzz in Memorial Stadium tonight will be unmatched.

This game is HUGE. For both teams.

Mizzou wants to make a statement in their first SEC game in the conference, and Georgia needs this game if they want to be the front runner to repeat as SEC East champions.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

MIZZOU OFFENSE VS. GEORGIA DEFENSE

The Bulldogs will be without four starters on defense tonight because of suspension: S. Bacarri Rambo, LB. Alec Ogletree, CB. Sanders Commings, and LB. Chase Vassar.

Those are some big absences for the Georgia D. Rambo and Ogletree especially.

No doubt that those four not playing will benefit the Missouri spread attack tonight.

Junior QB James Franklin and the offensive line are still going to have to be on their A game tonight however as there is still plenty of talent defensively for the Bulldogs.

The Georgia D is led by junior pass rusher Jarvis Jones, who was the SEC sack leader in the 2011 with 13.5 sacks. Senior nose tackle John Jenkins, all of 6’3, 358lbs, is a monster in the middle of the Georgia defensive line and will be a handful for the inexperienced interior of Mizzou’s offensive line. Seniors Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington line up beside Jenkins at defensive end and Michael Gilliard, Ramik Wilson and Christian Robinson round out a solid linebacker corps along with Jones. The Georgia front seven, even without Ogletree and Vassar, will be stout.

There is some concern amongst Georgia fans with the secondary however. Without Rambo and Commings, the defensive backfield for the Dawgs is easily their biggest weakness, especially going up against Mizzou’s receivers. Stepping in for Rambo at free safety is redshirt sophomore Connor Norman and filling in for Commings will be several players, including two way threat Malcolm Mitchell who should be ready to go tonight after missing the opener against Buffalo last week. Senior safety Shawn Williams will line up next to Norman and corners Branden Smith, Devin Bowman and Damian Swann will get a lot of time tonight against Mizzou’s 4 and 5 receiver sets.

So what do the Tigers need to do to be successful against one of the best defenses in the nation, even without four starters?

Balance.

Mizzou had one of the most balanced offenses in the nation in 2011, and were one of only a few teams to average over 230 yards rushing and passing per game.

The Tigers are going to have to do much of the same tonight if they want to win this game.

The offensive line, specifically the interior, will be key tonight. Starting right guard Jack Meiners probably won’t be able to go, which means Mizzou will have three very inexperienced players starting at guard and center in true freshman Evan Boehm, redshirt sophomore Mitch Morse and redshirt junior Max Copeland filling in for Meiners. Last week against SE Louisiana was their first starts of their careers and it showed. They will have to play much better tonight against a much bigger and athletic Georgia defensive line.

If James Franklin, Kendial Lawrence and Marcus Murphy can find success in the ground game, the offense should have a lot of success moving the ball. It’s as simple as that. If the offensive line can’t get much push up front and the running game struggles, the offense will be in trouble.

Mizzou needs to stay out of passing downs (2nd & 7+ & 3rd & 5+) and in order to do that, they must be able to run the ball. As is the case most of the time, if Mizzou can win on first down, they will have a great shot to win this game. Staying in standard downs (1st downs, 2nd & 6 or less & 3rd & 4 or less) will be vital for Franklin and the offense with Georgia’s pass rush.

If he has time, Franklin should be able to exploit a depleted Bulldogs secondary with all the weapons around him. The Tigers definitely have an advantage in the passing game with the likes of T.J. Moe, Marcus Lucas, L’Damian Washington and freshman Dorial Green-Beckham. Georgia struggled with bigger, taller receivers last season and Mizzou has one of the tallest receiver corps in the nation. If Franklin isn’t rushed and can get a rhythm going, he should be able to pick apart the Georgia secondary with short to intermediate passes. I expect DGB to get a lot more targets tonight than he did in his first game against SE Louisiana last week.

With four defensive starters out for the Bulldogs, Mizzou’s offense has an even better chance to be able to move the ball tonight. Will they convert those drives into touchdowns or field goals? Mizzou was a very good red zone offense in 2011, while the Georgia D sort of struggled in that department last year. The Tigers cannot settle for field goals tonight.

But as I mentioned, the key for the offense will be the Missouri offensive line. If they can get some push up front and open some running lanes for Franklin and Lawrence, we should be able to move the ball. If they can give Franklin enough time in the pocket, we should be able to move the sticks through the air with our advantage at receiver. It will be all about converting in the red zone after that.

MIZZOU DEFENSE VS. GEORGIA OFFENSE

Georgia’s offense is led by junior quarterback Aaron Murray, who is one of the best signal callers in the SEC. At 6’1, 210lbs, Murray has good size to go along with a good arm and solid accuracy. Georgia runs a more traditional offense and likes to run the ball to set up the play action passing game and hit on big plays. However on passing downs, Georgia will spread you out with 3 WR sets. Like Mizzou, Murray and the passing game does struggle some on passing downs. Some of that can be contributed to Georgia’s offensive line.

The biggest weakness for the Bulldogs offensively is the line, which like Missouri, lost three starters from last season. They allowed three sacks last week at home against Buffalo and will have to play much better tonight against Sheldon Richardson and company.

Georgia struggled running the ball last year, but last week freshman Todd Gurley exploded onto the scene with 100 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns. Gurley should get the start tonight in the first road game of his career.

Georgia has plenty of options at receiver with seniors Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, junior Rantavious Wooten, and sophomores Michael Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell. King and Mitchell especially are big play threats and will challenge the Mizzou secondary all night.

Much like on offense for the Tigers, the battle of the trenches between the defensive line and Georgia’s offensive line will determine how successful Mizzou will be defensively tonight.

I believe the Tigers will win that battle. Sheldon Richardson will be a force to deal with in the middle and defensive ends Brad Madison, Kony Ealy and Michael Sam should get some pressure against the mediocre and inexperienced offensive line for the Bulldogs. If Richardson and company can plug up the middle and contain Gurley and the Georgia running game, it will force them into passing downs, which is exactly where they don’t want to be, especially on the road in a hostile environment.

Linebackers Zaviar Gooden, Andrew Wilson and Will Ebner will be ready for Gurley and the ground game and I think we’ll have success in containing it.

Like Georgia however, there are some concerns in the Mizzou secondary. Junior corner E.J. Gaines is one of the best cover men in the country and should blanket whoever he goes up against tonight. Kip Edwards and Randy Ponder will have their hands full however. Edwards missed most of fall camp and looked rusty last week against SE Louisiana, but he will have to play much better tonight. The safeties are an unknown. Kenronte Walker and Braylon Webb are both inexperienced and you just have no idea how they’ll do against Murray and company down field. Georgia is a big play offense, and if they have success running the ball, they’ll be able to suck our safeties down with play action and possibly beat us over the top. The play of Walker and Webb will be key tonight.

If Mizzou’s defensive line can win the battle up front, which I think they can, then they can contain Gurley and the ground game and make Georgia beat them through the air on passing downs. If the Bulldogs can move the ball on the ground and set up play action, it will be a long night defensively and the Mizzou offense will have to keep up on the scoreboard.

PREDICTION: MIZZOU – 31 #7 GEORGIA – 27

I can’t even imagine how insane and energetic the atmosphere is going to be tonight in Memorial Stadium before kickoff. I think it will definitely surpass the 2007 Nebraska and 2010 Oklahoma games. It is going to be CRAZY!

Georgia has obviously played in hostile environments many times before, but this will be different. Will the Bulldogs let the crowd get into their heads?

Regardless, I think Mizzou will get off to a quick start and get up early on the Bulldogs. If they do, their chances of winning this game go up considerably.

But Georgia won’t go away, not with Murray at quarterback and with the weapons they have.

I think it’ll be a GREAT game, as I can’t see any team running away with it.

Turnovers will be huge, as they are in every game. They are usually tougher to overcome on the road, so if Georgia turns it over, it will be huge for the Tigers, especially if they can convert them into touchdowns.

This game is MONSTROUS.

If Mizzou can pull this off, the SEC East will be WIDE open for the taking. The Tigers will definitely be ranked heading into next week and most importantly, it will be a huge statement win for the program heading into the SEC. HUGE!

Georgia is favored and they are the favorites to win the SEC East again. This game is obviously big for them too.

Will Mizzou make a statement? Or will Georgia come in and shut us up?

We’re about to find out.

A new era in the SEC OFFICIALLY begins TONIGHT!

RIP EM UP TIGERS

M-I-Z