Saturday, August 30, 2008

Georgia vs Georgia Southern

Game Breakdown

Offense Edge: Georgia

Georgia has four first-time starters on its offensive line, but Georgia Southern has had a major overhaul in its personnel across the offense. The Bulldogs will get a chance to display freshmen skill players A.J. Green at receiver and Tavarres King and Richard Samuel at running back. The Eagles this season return just three starters. Georgia Southern lost its top three rushers from last year and a pair of freshmen - Adam Urbano and Samair Baker - are the top two running backs.

Defense Edge: Georgia

Georgia returns nine starters and should be able to showcase its depth in a game like this. Georgia Southern has practiced a new 3-3-5 scheme that has Bulldogs coaches unsure of what they might see, but the Eagles should have trouble stopping Knowshon Moreno and company anyway. Georgia Southern ranked 90th in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season in total defense (404.6) and surrendered 32 points per game. Senior Jarius Wynn is among defensive ends looking to replace SEC sack leader Marcus Howard's productivity.

Coaching Edge: Georgia

Mark Richt begins his eighth season at Georgia with expectations never higher. With Mike Bobo now in his second full season as offensive playcaller, Richt should be well-suited to manage his team in that position. He begins the season 72-19, fourth in winning percentage among active coaches. Chris Hatcher, 83-16 as a head coach, seems to have the Georgia Southern program headed in the right direction in his second season, although this looks like a rebuilding year.

Intangibles Edge: Georgia

This doesn't feel like a letdown type game against an overmatched opponent. Not with Georgia heading into the game with a preseason No. 1 ranking for the first time in program history. Georgia Southern has eight players suspended, further depleting a roster that already was being overhauled. This isn't the year for the Eagles to come close to bringing down the big boys from in-state.

Special teams Edge: Georgia

Overall Edge: Georgia

This has mismatch written all over it. It does not have the look of an Appalachian State stunning Michigan from last season. Thirty of Georgia Southern's top 44 players on its two-deep roster will be playing their first game for the Eagles. If Georgia's offensive line is decent, expect Georgia to look like a team that is a national title contender and win decidedly.

Fast Facts


• Statesboro is home not only to Georgia Southern but the hometown of three Georgia players. Safety John Knox, defensive end Justin Houston and defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson all hail from Statesboro.

• Kicker Blair Walsh will become the first first-year freshman kicker to play in a Georgia season-opener since Kevin Butler in 1981. Butler, whose son Drew is the backup punter for the Bulldogs, is a frequent visitor to practice.

• Uga VII makes his debut today. His predecessor, Uga VI, served as the team's mascot from 1999-2007 and is the winningest Uga with an 87-27 record.

Georgia Southern

• Georgia Southern's uniforms were ranked eighth last year among top 10 college uniforms by They trailed Texas, Michigan, Auburn, Yale, Notre Dame, Wofford and Ohio State. Georgia was 10th.

• Among program traditions under former coach Erk Russell is the Eagle Creek water. Water from a drainage ditch is bottled and taken on some road trips and sprinkled onto the field.

• Notable alumni of Georgia Southern, a school of 16,841: Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy, Detroit Pistons coach Michael Curry and PGA golfers Mike Donald and Aron Price

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

and Go Dawgs!


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