Georgia opener a 'gauge' for Buffalo

Georgia opener a 'gauge' for Buffalo

August 28th, 2012 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Tennessee's Raijon Neal tries to fend off Buffalo's Najja Johnson in their game last year at Neyland Stadium. Buffalo will open Georgia's 2012 season Saturday; Neal will be the starting tailback as UT faces North Carolina State on Friday.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

One of the coaches involved in Saturday's Georgia-Buffalo football game said Monday that the matchup "will go down in the history books at our program as one of the great opportunities that we've placed on our schedule."

It wasn't Georgia's Mark Richt.

Buffalo has never kicked off in the Peach State, but that will change Saturdaywhen Jeff Quinn's Bulls visit the No. 6 Bulldogs. The Bulls are no strangers to the Southeastern Conference, however, having lost 38-7 at No. 3 Auburn in 2006 and 41-10 last season at Tennessee.

"These kids have had a taste of these kind of games and opportunities," Quinn said. "We have 16 returning starters who were at Tennessee who will be playing at Georgia, and I feel good about the maturity and development of our program. It will be important to see how we gauge against a top SEC team, and we just want to play one play at a time and compete as hard as we can and as long as we can and see where it ends up."

Sanford Stadium will be the third-largest venue in which Buffalo has competed, behind Penn State and Tennessee.

Volunteers quarterback Tyler Bray threw for 342 yards and four touchdowns against the Bulls, with recently dismissed receiver Da'Rick Rogers catching seven passes for 180 yards and two scores. Returning Buffalo tailback Branden Oliver finished 14th nationally in rushing a year ago with 1,395 yards but was held to 58 yards on 18 carries in Knoxville.

Quinn shared numerous concerns about Georgia's personnel, including its veteran defense that ranked fifth nationally a year ago.

"We need to continuously keep an eye on [outside linebacker] Jarvis Jones," he said. "If you give him a lot of singled-up matchups with our offensive line and our backs, he's going to win most of those battles."

Odds and ends

The Bulldogs worked out for two hours Monday in full pads. ... Among those limited at the practice were senior defensive end/outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (neck) and junior backup noseguard Kwame Geathers (shoulder).