Georgia’s SEC opener is here. After starting the season 3-0 against non-conference foes, UGA will welcome Mississippi State, another 3-0 team, into Sanford Stadium on Saturday night for a match up of top20 teams.
But the ranking of the two teams doesn’t tell the whole story. As we do every game week during the fall Dawgs247 is taking an in-depth look at this one. How does each offense stack up against the defenses and vice versa? Get it all below in The Match Ups.
Mississippi State offense vs. Georgia’s defense: Normally when you have an experienced quarterback and play caller this isn’t much of a mystery. It isn’t much of one here, either, but expect the Bulldogs of the SEC West to have a bit of a wrinkle for UGA on Saturday. Georgia has been so good at stopping the run that Dan Mullen will have Nick Fitzgerald come out and attack the UGA secondary through the air. If he’s successful it’ll loosen some things up for a potent rushing attack. If he isn’t, then the Bulldogs of the SEC East can really load up on Fitzgerald, Aaeris Williams and other in the run game.
Mississippi State defense vs. Georgia offense: Man-to-man coverage and pressure -- that’s what Todd Grantham is all about. MSU’s corners are going to get up in the face of UGA’s receivers and challenge them to beat the press. Grantham is going to attack the edges with overload blitzes. When it comes to the run game expect Mississippi State’s strong safety to spend a great deal of time in the box. MSU is going to force UGA to either run the ball into loaded boxes or make Jake Fromm get the offense in the right play.
Georgia defense vs. Mississippi State offense: UGA is going to do what it does best defensively. The focus will be gap control and rallying to the football. Expect Mel Tucker and company to account for the quarterback right away. Georgia’s going to rely on its ability to win those one-on-one match ups in the trenches to slow down Williams and the running backs. It’ll be up to the linebackers to keep an eye on Fitzgerald and keep him from getting anything easy. The Bulldogs of the West have had some struggles in pass protection so expect four and five man rushers and nothing too aggressive on third down.
Georgia offense vs. Mississippi State defense: Like MSU, Georgia wants to run the football. But also like MSU, Georgia is going to come out attacking through the air. The reasoning is the same -- loosen up the defense with the off hand to make punches with the dominant hand more effective. Expect a similar game plan early as what UGA used against Notre Dame. A few RPOs and some shots downfield against man coverage. If those are successful Georgia’s offense could really find some success. If not, it’ll have to batten down the hatches for for an all-out war in the trenches.
X-Factor: Georgia’s receiving corps is going to challenge the depth of most secondaries and Saturday is no different. With Riley Ridley back and involved, along with Javon Wims, on the outside, Georgia can use some four-receiver sets with Mecole Hardman Jr. and Terry Godwin in the slot. There you have four good, SEC caliber receivers and there’s bound to be a mismatch. It’s tough to go man coverage against all four of those guys and there could be some quick throws for Fromm on early downs.
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