Missouri and Georgia fans, the wait is up. Preview time is here for the most anticipated game on the Tiger's schedule and it wouldn't be complete without a little bit of pre-game drama.
You could say that this game is 52 years in the making, but that would be kind of unfair since Georgia coach Mark Richt wasn't even born the last time the teams met in the 1960 Orange Bowl.
It's also impossible to try and look at each teams' game from last week to compare the two statistically. Although Missouri's win was bigger on the scoreboard, Georgia's opponent, Buffalo, might have likely handled the Southeastern Louisiana Lions much the same Mizzou did.
It won't be easy to break down what will happen to two teams that haven't played each other in over half a century, but that won't keep us from jumping in the deep end of the pool right away on this one.
Who: Georgia at Missouri
When: Saturday, 6:45pm (CST)
Where: Columbia, Mo.
Stadium: Memorial Stadium (71,004, FieldTurf surface)
Radio: Tiger Network, SiriusXM Channel 91
Internet Stream: Audio at mutigers.com, Video with the WatchESPN app
Depth Chart For Missouri
QB—James Franklin, Corbin Berkstresser
RB—Kendial Lawrence, Marcus Murphy, Russell Hansbrough, Jared McGriff-Culver
WR (Y)—Eric Waters, Dorial Green-Beckham, Sean Culkin
WR (X)—Marcus Lucus, Rolandis Woodland, Jaleel Clark
WR (H)—T.J. Moe, Gahn McGaffie, Jimmie Hunt
WR (Z)—L’Damian Washington, Bud Sasser, Kerwin Stricker
LT—Elvis Fisher, Anthony Gatti
LG—Evan Boehm, Nick Demien
C—Mitch Morse, Brad McNulty
RG—Max Copeland, Connor McGovern
RT—Justin Britt, Chris Freeman
DE—Michael Sam, Brad Madison
DT—Sheldon Richardson, Marvin Foster
NG— Matt Hoch, Jimmy Burge, Lucas Vincent
DE—Kony Ealy, Shane Ray, Brayden Burnett
LB(W)—Zaviar Gooden, Darvin Ruise
LB(M)—Will Ebner, Donovan Bonner
LB(S)—Andrew Wilson, Kentrell Brothers
CB—Kip Edwards, Randy Ponder
CB—E.J. Gaines, Ernest Payton, Xavier Smith
SS—Kenronte Walker, Ian Simon, Daniel Easterly
FS—Braylon Webb, Matt White, Cortland Browning
P—Tray Barrow, Christian Brinser
PK—Andrew Baggett, Tray Barrow
H—T.J. Moe, Gahn McGaffie
DS—Brad Madison, Mitch Hall
KR—T.J. Moe, Marcus Murphy
PR—Marcus Murphy, E.J. Gaines
Depth Chart For Georgia
QB—Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason, Christian LeMay, Parker Welch
RB—Ken Malcome, Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Richard Samuel
FB—Merritt Hall, Richard Samuel, Quayvon Hicks
WR—Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten, Chris Conley, J. Scott-Wesley
WR—Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett, Malcolm Mitchell
TE—Arthur Lynch, Jay Rome, Ty Flournoy-Smith
LT—Kenarious Gates, Mark Beard, Austin Long
LG—Dallas Lee, Ben Reynolds
C—David Andrews, Chris Burnette, Dallas Lee
RG—Chris Burnette, Greg Pyke
RT—John Theus, Watts Dantzler
Defense (3-4 scheme)
DE—Abry Jones, Garrison Smith
DE—C. Washington, Ray Drew, Mike Thornton
NT—John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers
LB—Ramik Wilson, Josh Dawson
LB—Jarvis Jones, Jordan Jenkins, T.J. Stripling
LB—Alec Ogletree, C. Robinson
LB—Michael Gilliard, Amarlo Herrera
CB—Malcolm Mitchell, Devin Bowman
CB—Branden Smith, Damian Swann
S—Shawn Williams, Corey Moore, J. Harvey-Clemons
S—Bacarri Rambo, Conner Norman
P—Collin Barber, Adam Erickson
PK—Marshall Morgan, Jamie Lindley
LS—Ty Frix, Nathan Theus
KR—Branden Smith, Malcolm Mitchell
PR—Branden Smith, Malcolm Mitchell
What Happened to the Tigers Last Week
Missouri opened up the 2012 season at home against the the Southeastern Louisiana Lions from the FCS's Southland Conference.
As expected, the Tigers rolled in this game in every aspect. The first quarter saw Missouri take a 28-0 lead that included two defensive touchdowns.
Missouri turned the heat down a little bit after that, scoring no points in the second quarter and conceding a field goal to the Lions as time expired in the half.
The second half, however, saw a point explosion, with five Missouri touchdowns in the second half. Two of them belonged to the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week, Marcus Murphy.
Murphy set a new Mizzou record with two punt return touchdowns of 70 and 72 yards.
What Happened to the Bulldogs Last Week
Georgia's home contest against the Buffalo Bulls was full of big plays and great performances from star players.
Quarterback Aaron Murray threw for three touchdowns and running back Todd Gurley had three of his own, one of which was a 100-yard kickoff return.
Another of Gurley's touchdowns was a 55-yard romp in the fourth quarter, enough to give him exactly 100 yards rushing on eight carries.
Murray's scoring day was highlighted by his first touchdown pass, a 63-yard bomb to Tavarres King. He connected with Rantavious Wooten and Michael Bennett for his other two.
What It Means To Both Teams
Saturday's contest will be the same game for both teams, but the expectations and how it will impact their seasons are a far cry from one another.
For Missouri, it means just showing up and being counted. Mizzou fans are by no means expecting a win, but know the Tigers are plenty capable. If Missouri can find a victory in them, it would be a huge statement to the rest of the SEC, as well as the country.
Giving the Tigers a boost of confidence before playing some big games on their schedule would be great.
On the flip side, the game is kind of weird for Georgia. They're expecting to come into Columbia and roll the Tigers on their way to another SEC East title. Not only that, but Georgia fans have heard analysts mention the words "national championship" in relation to the Bulldogs' season.
If Georgia can come and win a tough game on the road, they'll be feeling right on pace when they go back home next week to take on Florida Atlantic.
Key Player for Missouri
It would be easy enough to pick Marcus Murphy, but after last week's performance I don't see Georgia kicking him the ball very much. If they do, look for him to be the key player.
Assuming Georgia is a little smarter than that, we're going to have to go with junior quarterback James Franklin. Franklin has no problem being a physical quarterback, and that is exactly what the Tigers will need if they're going to be successful.
Against Southeastern Louisiana, Franklin was just a modest 13-for-21 with 131 yards in the air. He added 39 yards on the ground in a game where he was lifted in favor of backups as the game became a blowout.
Franklin will play the whole game in this one, but will his physical play and experience be enough for Missouri to top Georgia? It wouldn't be his first big win, but it would be his biggest.
Key Player for Georgia
This goes to Todd Gurley. Even if Mizzou manages to keep the ball away from him on kickoffs, the Georgia running game will find ways to put the ball in his hands.
Gurley became the first true freshman back for Georgia to run for 100 yards since 2004 when Danny Ware did it against Georgia Southern.
Gurley will be facing one of the SEC's best linebacking groups who may not be as nice as the Buffalo defenders were.
If Gurley can get a hold of the ball in the kicking game, look out. He's running like a beast right now and has all the confidence in the world.
Missouri Will Win If...
They get a little bit of luck. They will no doubt bring a very strong offense to the table, but in order to stop the Bulldogs and maintain a lead, they will need some help in the turnover department.
The big bonuses for Mizzou is that Georgia players admittedly don't know a lot about Missouri, and they haven't seen an offense like this in the SEC.
If the Tigers win, it will be because of their fast-paced offense and Georgia's lack of conditioning. If Georgia has failed to be ready physically on defense, it may be a huge day for Mizzou.
Georgia Will Win If...
...they play the game the way they are capable of playing. On paper and traditionally, Georgia is the better team. If they just keep a hold of the ball and run their offense, there's not a lot the Tigers will be able to do in the end.
If Aaron Murray gets in a good rhythm, it will be hard to stop him. By now the Bulldogs have checked on Missouri's weaknesses, which primarily includes their secondary. Georgia will want to establish the run, and when they do, will go to the air to pull out the dagger.
They've got offense, defense and special teams clicking. But playing against Missouri will be a challenge.
Here's where I make some friends and anger some, but then again the readers always have the "in your face" card to pull on me if I'm wrong.
Although Missouri will bring a great crowd to Memorial Stadium at Faurot Field on Saturday, and will represent the SEC well with some great plays, Georgia will outshine them.
There's not a lot to be disappointed about if Missouri loses this game. If the Tigers were to come back and beat South Carolina in two weeks, most fans would be quick to forget this game.
If on the other hand Missouri wins, look for them to roll into the top 25, around No. 22.
It's just not likely going to be the case. I hope to see DGB involved, but I'm sure the Georgia defense is well aware of the name. In the end, both teams will play hard, but Georgia pulls away in the third quarter and puts this one beyond doubt after that.
Final Score: Georgia 31, Missouri 13
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