(7) Georgia (1-0) at Missouri (1-0)|
Saturday, September 8, 7:45 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The Missouri Tigers will play their first SEC game this Saturday
night, as they entertain the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs at Faurot
Georgia allowed visiting Buffalo to hang around longer than most people
expected in last week's season opener, but the Bulldogs eventually took
control of the game and claimed a 45-23 victory. It was the 11th consecutive
regular-season win for Georgia, which ranks as the second-longest active
streak in the nation behind LSU, which has won 14 straight.
Following this clash, Georgia will step out of conference to host Florida
Atlantic, and the team will also face non-league foes Georgia Southern and
Georgia Tech to close out the regular season.
The Bulldogs are 7-4 in conference lidlifters under current head coach Mark
Richt, and this is the first time since 1992 that they will not be opening SEC
play against South Carolina.
Despite some obvious mistakes he would like to see corrected moving forward,
Richt was happy to come away with the win against the Bulls, "There's no such
thing as a bad victory. We are thankful for the win. I want to congratulate
Buffalo for the effort. They played extremely well. 1-0 is a great thing."
Missouri had very little trouble establishing its dominance in last week's
season opener against visiting FCS opponent Southeastern Louisiana, whipping
the Lions in a 62-10 final. The Tigers have won five straight games dating
back to last season, which ranks as the third-longest streak in the nation.
It was the also the 35th win in the last 41 home games for Mizzou, which will
actually play its first three games at home before heading to another
Columbia, this one in South Carolina to battle the Gamecocks in its first road
tilt of the season.
This bout marks only the second meeting all-time between Georgia and Missouri,
with the Bulldogs winning the first back in the 1960 Orange Bowl, 14-0.
Georgia freshman RB Todd Gurley certainly made his impact felt in his first
collegiate game last week against Buffalo, as he rushed for 100 yards and two
TDs, and returned a kickoff 100 yards for another score. As a result, he was
named the SEC's co-Freshman Player of the Week.
QB Aaron Murray was impressive as well, as he hit the mark on 15-of-26 pass
attempts for 258 yards and three TDs. Tavarres King served as Murray's
favorite receiver, as he hauled in six balls for 117 yards and a score, while
Michael Bennett added five grabs for 76 yards and a TD.
Overall, the Bulldogs compiled 485 yards of total offense, did not commit a
turnover, and converted half of their third-down opportunities (7-of-14).
Despite allowing points on all four trips Buffalo made to the red zone last
week, the Georgia defense did a decent job in allowing 347 total yards, only
148 of which were a result of pass plays. The Bulls were forced to punt 10
Linebacker Jarvis Jones and DB Damian Swann led the Bulldogs with eight
tackles apiece, the former also being credited with 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, a
forced fumble and six QB hurries. Being active at the point of attack is the
key for a Georgia defense that allowed almost 200 yards rushing last week and
only recorded two sacks.
Like Gurley for Georgia, Missouri's Marcus Murphy had a game he won't soon
forget in last week's season-opening rout of SE Louisiana, as the redshirt
sophomore took two second-half punts back for TDs (72 and 70 yards) -- tying a
school record that has stood for nearly half a century in the process.
With the game never really in doubt, head coach Gary Pinkel didn't make
wholesale changes in personnel until midway thorough the second half. When the
dust had settled, the Tigers had rolled up 452 yards of total offense,
compared to just 223 for the Lions.
The run game featured a solid outing from senior Kendial Lawrence (10 carries,
121 yards, two TDs), while QB James Franklin simply needed to run the offense
efficiently, and wound up going 13-of-21 for 131 yards and a TD. No receiver
had more than three catches, but again they didn't need to be all that
productive with the rushing attack averaging better than seven yards per
attempt and finding the end zone three times.
In addition to Murphy's special teams performance, the Tigers also scored a
pair of defensive TDs in the first quarter, as Zaviar Gooden returned an INT
20 yards for a score, and Michael Sam scooped up a fumble and brought it back
seven yards to paydirt.
Missouri allowed just 58 net rushing yards, and the Tigers came up with four
turnovers. Gooden and Andrew Wilson logged six tackles apiece to pace the
team, which tallied nine TFL and four sacks.
For the most part, Pinkel liked what he saw last week. However, he knows that
cutting down on mistakes will be huge this week, and against the better
opponents his team will face this season. "A lot of our guys came in and
stepped up when they needed to. They did what was asked of them. We do have to
look at the film and see where we can improve because we can improve as we
As if playing their first-ever SEC game in front of the hometown faithful
isn't motivation enough, the Tigers have won two of their last three home
games against ranked opponents. Mizzou is a confident bunch, but so is
Georgia. The Bulldogs may be playing in unfriendly confines, but expect them
to prevail in what should be a nail biter.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 27, Missouri 24
09/05 10:33:02 ET