Georgia and Middle Tennessee State meet for the second time ever under the lights of Sanford Stadium Saturday night. The reigning SEC champion Bulldogs are coming off a record-setting performance at South Carolina, as a 41-17 win over the Gamecocks equaled Georgia’s largest margin of victory in Columbia and set a mark for the most points scored by the Dogs at Williams Brice Stadium. Combined with a 45-0 season-opening win over Austin Peay, the third-ranked Bulldogs are an impressive 2-0 on the season. Middle Tennessee rolled past UT-Martin 61-37 to even its record at 1-1 a week after losing the season opener 35-7 at Vanderbilt.
These two teams last met in the second game of the 2003 season, with the Bulldogs coming out on top 29-10. Interestingly, Georgia was coming off an impressive Palmetto State win the week prior, defeating Clemson 30-0 at Death Valley … as defending SEC champions.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm was 15 of 18 for 194 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while Georgia out rushed South Carolina 271 yards to 54. Outstanding special teams play and a defensive score highlighted a complete team performance.
The numbers are impressive early in this ’18 campaign. Along with averaging 43 points through two games, Georgia is posting 6.5 yards per carry and 9.26 yards per attempt. The Bulldogs defensively are holding the opposition to 3.0 yards per carry and 4.97 yards per passing attempt.
South Carolina and Jake Bentley did have some success moving the ball through the air against the Bulldogs. The Gamecocks threw for 282 yards and a pair of scores.
Like South Carolina, Middle Tennessee State is paced by a high octane aerial attack.
Senior quarterback Brent Stockstill, son of longtime Blue Raiders coach Rick Stockstill, was 25 of 34 for 407 yards and five touchdowns and no interceptions. Stockstill ranks amongst the nation’s active career leaders in numerous statistical categories, including yards and completions. It will be a test for Georgia’s pass defense.
There is no looking ahead for the Bulldogs. Georgia wants to stay sharp and crisp, and make it eight straight wins between the hedges. The competition in practice and the fight for playing time has sharpened the focus of Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs. This team showed last week that it has the potential to once again rank amongst college football’s very best. But as Smart is quick to remind, “humility is a week away.”