NO. 2 GEORGIA (3-0, 1-0 SEC) AT MISSOURI (3-0, 0-0)
Noon at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.
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Mark Webb and William Poole got their first career starts in Georgia's secondary in last week's 49-7 rout of Middle Tennessee State. Senior cornerback Deandre Baker and junior safety J.R. Reed are the leaders in the Bulldogs' defensive backfield, but both the veterans and the youthful talent that includes freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell could be challenged by Missouri's aerial attack headed by senior quarterback Drew Lock and receiver Emanuel Hall. "It's going to tell us who we are and what we're about, but it's not going to define us," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "They are certainly talented at throwing the ball and catching the ball, but they have much more of a commitment to the run. It stresses you at a lot of points, but it challenges you as well. We had some competitive challenges against South Carolina as far as the talent level, but in the other two games they didn't get challenged as much as you would like. They're certainly going to get that in this game."
ONE TO WATCH
Lock was able to keep last season's game in Athens entertaining for a while, but a 21-21 tie midway through the second quarter eventually gave way to a 53-28 Bulldogs blowout. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder set a Southeastern Conference record last season with 44 touchdown passes, including three against Georgia, and he already has 11 this season with just one interception. "He looks more confident in the play-action game," Smart said. "Their RPO (run-pass option) game is very similar to last year. He's really good at reading defenders and spitting the ball out. He can get the ball out of there so quick that the recovery time for the defensive backs is just minimal, because the ball gets out there so quick. He seems a lot more mature and a lot more confident this year. He's making a lot of big-time throws, but he made a lot of those last year as well. His running game is a little more friendly to him this year. Their backs are a lot more physical."
IN THE END
Missouri is 3-0 under third-year coach Barry Odom and first-year offensive coordinator Derek Dooley, the former Tennessee head coach. "Our team, over the course of the first three weeks, has made improvements each week," Odom said. "It hasn't always been pretty or how you want it to play out, but we've played good team football together. We'll have to deliver our best game on Saturday. They are good in every area." The Tigers won 40-37 against Purdue last week to avenge a 35-3 loss to the Boilermakers last season, but the Boilermakers and the Bulldogs are two different beasts.
Georgia 40, Missouri 17