Offense – Georgia
Both offenses are struggling, but Georgia ranks sixth in the SEC in total offense while Mississippi State ranks tenth. Georgia has the edge here because its offense has gotten better, despite the poor quarterback play. And with the potential emergence of JT Daniels at quarterback, the Bulldogs from Athens could have their offense right where it needs to be. Mississippi State is dealing with problems at quarterback right now, too. Whoever starts for them, will have to meet a hungry Georgia defense that wants to bring nothing but havoc after being gutted by Florida.
Defense – Georgia
Despite all the injuries, Georgia’s defense is still one of the best units in the country. Look for them to try and wreak havoc and correct their mistakes from the matchup against Florida. Mississippi State’s defense is giving up 27.5 points per game and have been outscored by their opponents 165-98 this season. Georgia will test the Bulldogs from Starkville and run the ball at them. That’s something that Mississippi State hasn’t been able to do much this season under first-year defensive coordinator Zach Arnett.
Through their first five games, Mississippi State has only attempted five field goals this year. Even though Brandon Ruiz has made four of five, he doesn’t rank in the SEC’s top eleven place kickers. Georgia is first in kickoff return yard average while Mississippi State ranks seventh. Mississippi State leads the conference in average gross number of yards per punt, but Georgia’s Jake Camarda has a higher yards-per-punt average than opposing specialist Tucker Day. Both teams rank fourth (Georgia) and fifth (Mississippi State) in punt return statistics, respectively.
Coaching – Georgia
Special Teams – Georgia
Even though Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach has been a head coach for 19 seasons, Georgia’s coaching staff is better as a whole. Leach is just getting started in Starkville, and will get the program on track, but for right now Kirby Smart and his staff have the upper hand. Georgia’s coaching staff will try and correct the team’s mistakes against Florida.
Overall – Georgia
Despite Georgia losing two games to the best teams they’ve played, those programs are ranked in the top-five. Smart’s squad hung with Alabama for 30 minutes and challenged Florida for most of the team. Georgia just needs to play a whole game and with a healthy JT Daniels and recovering defense, that might just be the recipe for success. When you line both of these two teams against one another, Georgia just checks off all the boxes, especially in terms of talent and experience. Expect Georgia’s offense to run the ball, but to experiment in the passing game if Daniels makes the start. If not, still look for whoever is at quarterback to try and fix the holes in the passing game against a weak Mississippi State secondary.