Tigers to Watch: Georgia vs. Missouri

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Tigers to Watch: Georgia vs. Missouri

Photo: Kelly Bryant (7) - University of Missouri Athletics
Photo: Kelly Bryant (7) – University of Missouri Athletics

KELLY BRYANT (QB, #7)

This graduate transfer from the Clemson Tigers will lead the Missouri offense against the Bulldogs Saturday night. Bryant (6-3, 225), who led Clemson to a 2017 College Football Playoff berth, has passed for 1,845 yards this season, throwing for 14 touchdowns with a 62 percent completion rate. He’s been intercepted five times. Bryant has also rushed for 205 net yards — actually running for 337 before sacks are figured in — so he’s clearly a quarterback the Georgia defense must keep in the pocket Saturday evening.

LARRY ROUNTREE III  (RB, #34)

Coming off a 2018 season where he ran for 1,216 yards (4th best in SEC) and 11 touchdowns, the 5-10, 210-pound Rountree has charged for 644 yards and eight touchdowns in the Tigers’ eight outings this season, while averaging 5.0 yards per carry. He combines with QB Bryant to give Missouri a potent backfield combination and the Bulldogs’ defensive front can’t allow either to dial up a big play.

ALBERT OKWUEGBUNAM (TE, #81)

Regarded as one of the nation’s top NFL prospects, this 6-5, 255-pound redshirt junior was a 2018 John Mackey Award finalist and although his 18 catches for 250 yards presently ranks fourth on the Tigers’ list behind wide receivers Johnathon Johnson, Tyler Badie and Jonathan Nance, Okwuegbunam leads the team with six touchdown receptions. And, in the Missouri loss to Georgia last season, he pulled in a career-high nine passes for 81 yards. The Bulldog secondary will need to be on point Saturday night.

Photo: Cale Garrett (47) zeroes in on Demetris Robertson (16), University of Missouri Athletics
Photo: Cale Garrett (47) zeroes in on Demetris Robertson (16), University of Missouri Athletics

CALE GARRETT (LB, #47)

Garrett, a 6-3, 230-pound senior who earned All-SEC honors in 2018 when he recorded a team-high 112 tackles, is sparking the Tigers at his middle linebacker spot again this season. Entering the Georgia game Saturday, Garrett has recorded 43 stops, including 5.0 tackles-for-loss and two sacks. To boot, the quick Mizzou defender has also intercepted three passes. The Bulldogs’ O-line will have to be at its best in order to control Cale Garrett.

JORDAN ELLIOTT (DT, #1)

Another player who can be disruptive for the Tiger defensive unit, Elliott (6-4, 315, Jr.) leads Mizzou in tackles-for-loss with seven and has recorded one quarterback sack from his down-lineman position … after notching three sacks in 2018. He was named Second Team All-SEC last season by Pro Football Focus and can’t be allowed to crash the Georgia backfield when the Bulldogs go on offense.

NICK BOLTON (LB, #32)

Like Garrett and Elliott, this 6-0, 235-pound sophomore ‘backer is one of the ringleaders for Barry Odom’s Tiger defense. In fact, Bolton has succeeded Garrett as the Tigers’ leading tackler this season with a total of 73 stops, with 51 of those tackles being unassisted. Bolton has 5.5 tackles-for-loss and has also picked off two passes. He’s clearly another marked man for the UGA offense to deal with.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.