published Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Mark Richt wary of Missouri trip

Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3) outruns Buffalo defensive back Najja Johnson (22) and defensive back Marqus Baker (39) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. Georgia won 45-23.
Georgia running back Todd Gurley (3) outruns Buffalo defensive back Najja Johnson (22) and defensive back Marqus Baker (39) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012. Georgia won 45-23.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Georgia football coach Mark Richt spent some of Sunday reviewing video of his Bulldogs as well as tape of Missouri's 62-10 thrashing of Southeastern Louisiana.

"It looked like Missouri's boys played harder than our boys played," Richt said. "I don't know what the temperature was for their game, but it was staggering [in Athens]. I thought the heat and humidity was definitely a factor in how hard everybody played in our game.

"When I watch Missouri, though, I'm seeing a team that's really getting after it."

Hours after the Bulldogs pulled away from Buffalo 45-23 inside a steamy Sanford Stadium, the Southeastern Conference newcomers tuned up for Georgia's impending visit by rolling to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter despite running 12 offensive plays. The Tigers tallied two defensive touchdowns in the game's first eight minutes, and Marcus Murphy had two second-half punt returns for scores in the pounding of the FCS program.

Georgia and Missouri suffered sizable second-quarter lulls, however. Buffalo scored the final 10 points of the first half, while Missouri's second quarter consisted of 53 yards, two personal-foul penalties and no points.

"We've got to get better, and fast," Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said.

Tigers quarterback James Franklin completed 13 of 21 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in his first game after offseason shoulder surgery, while tailback Kendial Lawrence rushed 10 times for 121 yards and two scores. Touted freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham had a 29-yard catch, but his other two receptions netted just 3 yards.

Georgia's star Saturday was freshman tailback Todd Gurley, who had a 100-yard kickoff return and rushed eight times for 100 yards and two touchdowns.

"Obviously he impressed me as a runner, and he's been impressing me and the rest of our staff and the team with how he's been doing," Richt said. "He pretty much played in this game the way he played in the scrimmages. He's got a knack for breaking tackles. He's got more speed than you think for a big man, and he's just a big, fluid athlete. You saw that on the kickoff return.

"Hopefully he'll keep it up. It's early yet, but he's really been impressive so far."

When asked if Gurley would make his first start this week, Richt said, "He'll definitely get the ball. That's for sure."

Richt also addressed his defense, which surrendered 347 total yards and 111 rushing yards to tailback Brandon Oliver. Bulls quarterback Alex Zordich also was effective running with 83 yards on 14 carries.

"The QB run part of it was mostly off of drop-back pass situations," Richt said. "I don't think they planned to run a bunch of QB runs with the guy, but we've got to do a better job of staying in our gaps and keeping guys contained. There are things we have to get better at."

Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson told reporters Saturday that he stopped watching Georgia's game on television, claiming the Bulldogs play "old-man football."

Odds and ends

Georgia and Missouri have a 7:45 p.m. EDT kickoff on ESPN2. ... Richt did not provide any injury updates Sunday. ... Former Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell had nine carries for 18 yards Sunday in Alabama State's loss to Bethune-Cookman.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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