When Georgia Has the Ball
Other than the South Carolina game, the Georgia offense has been inconsistent as the offensive line has struggled against a stacked box with safeties close to the line of scrimmage and defenses focused on taking the quick throw away from Greyson Lambert. Missouri is strong in the front four especially on the edge where the Tigers have gotten pressure on opposing quarterbacks. I have to assume Pinkel is going to try to force Lambert to make plays under pressure into tight windows. I look for Schottenheimer to get Lambert off to a fast start like he did against South Carolina and then create opportunities for Michel and Marshall in the running game. We also need to see the passing game find some consistency against a good defense. This game presents a challenge for the Georgia offense, and it’s time for the Georgia offensive line to stand up and be counted.
When Missouri Has the Ball
Maty Mauk was not on the Missouri depth chart earlier in the week, so the Tigers will be turning to a freshman to lead the offense. Georgia struggled with the quarterback run and the intermediate passing game last week in Knoxville. In particular, the defense had trouble setting the edge, and with Jordan Jenkins likely out, Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter are going to have to raise their games especially against the zone read. The last two weeks the Georgia secondary has made pedestrian quarterbacks look like Heisman candidates with their failure to play their assignments. I still don’t understand what has happened to the Georgia defense given the number of returning players especially in the backfield. While Pruitt may be tempted to protect his secondary, I expect he is going to come after the young Missouri quarterbacks to create negative plays and turnovers.
What Will Happen
As last week, the Dawgs are more talented. The question is whether they are physically and, maybe more importantly, mentally tougher than Missouri for 60 minutes. If Georgia comes out playing with an edge, the Dawgs could put a South Carolina style whipping on the Tigers. I expect the Dawgs to play like their season is on the line, but the issue is whether that means the team plays (and coaches) tight or whether the team plays the game as if they have nothing to lose. The Dawgs break the road team winning streak and get ready for what will likely be the SEC East championship game in Jacksonville.
Final Score: Georgia 34, Missouri 24
A couple of other games of interest:
#10 Alabama @ #9 Texas A&M – The Tide comes rolling into Kyle Field to take on the Aggies and the 12th Man in a game that will go a long way toward determining who will be the challenger to LSU in the West. Kevin Sumlin has won some significant games, but this one is a completely different animal. Alabama looks to be a team on a mission now, and that’s not a good thing for the Aggies. Alabama takes down another dog mascot on the road. Alabama 31, Texas A&M 17
#7 Michigan St. @ #12 Michigan – Is Jim Harbaugh waking up Michigan or is the Wolverines’ performance the result of a soft schedule since the season opener in Utah? I tend to think it’s a little bit of both. We’ll find out about 3:30 today when Sparty heads to the Big House to take on the Maize & Blue. The Spartans have taken control of the rivalry over the last 5 years, but the WWL is desperate for Michigan to become relevant again. The Spartans are an underdog in Vegas today as the higher ranked team. Michigan St. 24, Michigan 21
#8 Florida @ #6 LSU – I said before the season that LSU is flying under the radar screen, and now the Bayou Bengals are the highest ranked team in the SEC. They likely have the Heisman Trophy winner in Leonard Fournette but have more significant QB problems than Georgia at this point in the season. Florida plays its first game without Will Grier available and has won three close games including a miracle to beat Tennessee. Florida is really good on defense, and they are going to have to be to beat the Tigers on Saturday night on the Bayou. LSU 27, Florida 17
That’s what I think. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.