Georgia Bulldogs at Missouri Tigers preview


UPDATE: Georgia RB Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely as the NCAA completes an investigation. Stay tuned to ATL All Day for the latest.
The Georgia Bulldogs have not ventured away from the friendly confines of Sanford Stadium since their lone loss of the season against South Carolina, but on Saturday, that all changes as they travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers. Mark Richt’s club produced a dominant victory over Vanderbilt in their last outing, but this is a different ball game, as Missouri presents a much more significant challenge, as evidenced by their status as a ranked opponent who happens to be hosting this particular match-up. Let’s take a look at what to expect on the field.

Opponent: Missouri Tigers

Time/TV: 12:00 pm ET, CBS

Georgia Offense vs. Missouri Defense

Despite the predictable bashing of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, the Georgia offense has been spectacular this season. At this moment, the Dawgs are 6th in the nation in scoring offense at 45 points per game, and in their two closest match-ups (the loss to South Carolina and the narrow win over Tennessee), UGA produced 35 points in each game.

Obviously, the running game has been the bell cow for this group, and that will likely be the case again when opposing Missouri. The Tigers rank in the middle (56th in rush defense, 67th in pass defense) in both aspects of defense, but the combination of Todd Gurley (if he is cleared to play) and Nick Chubb should be the focal point of Bobo’s strategy throughout the day. Gurley is a legitimate front-runner for the Heisman Trophy at this point, and it would frankly be a shock if the junior running back did not exceed 100 yards rushing in this game if he were allowed to suit up, but with the suspension looming, who knows.

In the passing game, things are beginning to get quite interesting for Hutson Mason. The senior from Marietta has completed 68.7% of his pass attempts this season, but his yards-per-attempt average sits at just 6.8 on the year, and Mason has issued three interceptions in the last two games. More than that, Brice Ramsey received some snaps against Vanderbilt, and Mark Richt has been up front in suggesting that he will likely be involved again in Columbia. No one believes that Mason will be benched, but a lot could be riding on his performance against a solid but unspectacular Missouri secondary.

Georgia Defense vs. Missouri Offense

As always, this is the side of the ball that worries the UGA faithful. Missouri has not been spectacular offensively this season in any one aspect, but the Tigers are still averaging upward of 35 points per game, making this a stiff test, especially on the road. Surprisingly, the Dawgs are, in fact, ranked inside the top-50 nationally against the pass, but a couple of favorable match-ups (i.e. Troy and Vanderbilt) factor into that placement, and Missouri QB Maty Mauk has been prolific at times during his career.

The secondary is certainly the “problem area” for the Bulldogs, and Jeremy Pruitt once again has his work cut out for him here. However, pass rush could be highly beneficial in this spot for Georgia, especially against a player like Mauk who isn’t terribly accurate (56% completion rate). The Tigers managed to upend South Carolina in their last game, but Mauk was 12 for 34, and if the Bulldogs want to win on the road, they’ll need to keep him in check.


Many have overlooked this match-up since the beginning of the season, but now that it is here, this is a real test for the Georgia Bulldogs. Mark Richt’s team is certainly the more talented unit, but the team’s one venture into enemy territory did not end well, and this is definitely a place where it would be easy to drop a game to a solid team. Either way, this could be an accurate benchmark in assessing where UGA currently is, as many project them to be a factor in the national picture down the stretch.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning. Check it out!