Marty Jenkins 101sports.com College Football Expert
ESPN’s College Gameday will be in College Station tomorrow, but the marquee game of the day will be in Columbia. This is a huge game for both teams on many levels. It’s arguably the biggest game in the program’s history at Mizzou as they try to turn some heads down south while ending Georgia’s chances of a National Title this year. Dawgs head coach Mark Richt generally struggles in big contests early in the year and it will be interesting to see if this year is any different. Even if Mizzou doesn’t win this game, they will have plenty of opportunities this year to make their mark in the conference in their first season as a SEC member. All the pressure is on Richt and the boys from Athens in this game as they are expected to go no worse than 10-2 this year.
The big question surrounding this game is whether or not Richt is going to let all-world safety Bacarri Rambo and stud linebacker Alec Ogletree play. Rambo sat out last week because of a failed drug test and Ogletree rode the pine because of a violation of a team rule. Georgia is already without cornerback Sanders Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser. The verdict on Rambo/Ogletree weighs huge on the outcome of the game. Rambo is arguably the best safety in the land and Ogletree is one of the top 15 inside linebackers in the game. The most important aspect of this game will be Missouri’s depleted offensive line going up against a Georgia defensive line that is one of the five best in the country. Guard Jack Meiners may have to sit out this week for Missouri due to a knee injury. That means junior walk-on Max Copeland may get the nod again at right guard, and true freshman Evan Boehm will be at right guard with Travis Ruth out with a torn tricep tendon. Georgia’s defense may have looked ahead a bit last week in their 45-23 win over Buffalo, but they definitely show up in this one. Georgia should get a lot of pressure on quarterback James Franklin and force him into at least one turnover in the contest.
Georgia’s offense is led by Heisman hopeful quarterback Aaron Murray who went for 258 yards last week and three touchdowns. He has one of the nicest targets in the SEC in Tavarres King, who corralled six passes last week for 114 yards and a touchdown. Michael Bennett and Rantavious Wooten are also solid receivers. The Dawgs’ running game is deep and very talented. Freshman Todd Gurley had a brilliant debut last week with eight rushes for 100 yards and two scores. The Tarboro, North Carolina native also ran back a kickoff 100 yards for a TD. Keith Marshall and Ken Malcome will also get plenty of touches for Georgia.
Don’t get me wrong here: I like a lot of the pieces Mizzou has including receivers TJ Moe, Dorial-Green Beckham, Franklin, and running back Kendial Lawrence. However, Georgia should expose Missouri’s inexperience up front and I think Rambo and Ogletree will play. I also love Georgia’s playmakers on offense. I really love Georgia to send the Tiger faithful home unhappy. Georgia by double digits.
For the rest of Marty Jenkins' predictions, check out his blog at 101sports.com