One of the premier matchups in college football this week is between two SEC powerhouses in South Carolina and Georgia. The winner of the meeting will be placed in the driver's seat to come out of the Eastern Division and attend the SEC Championship Game.
But if the Bulldogs are expected to win this game, they will have to do so without leading receiver Michael Bennett. Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the sophomore receiver has suffered a knee injury that will force him to miss the remainder of the season. Bennett leads the team with 24 receptions for 345 yards and four touchdowns.
The good news for Georgia fans is that the offense is still loaded with talent, a running game that is ranked 11th in the country and one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Aaron Murray.
However, with such an important part of the offense now removed, here are three players who must step up and play a bigger role for the Bulldogs to succeed.
Hey you, senior wide receiver, the Bulldogs need you to step up and play like the leader you were last season. King actually led the team last year with 47 receptions for 705 yards and eight touchdowns. He had seven plays of 25 yards or more and really provided Murray with a big-play receiver that he was comfortable throwing the ball to.
King got off to a terrific start in Week 1, hauling in six passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, but has really fallen off the radar since then. With his size at 6'1", 200 pounds and leadership, this is the guy that will be expected to help Bulldog fans forget about Bennett right away.
Which Georgia player do you expect to see step up in Bennett's absence?
Mitchell was a breath of fresh air last season, catching 45 passes for 665 yards and four touchdowns. He helped produce 28 first downs for the team and instantly became one of the deep threats on the offense due to his game-changing speed and great ball skills.
The sophomore hasn't been much of a factor on the offensive side of the ball this year due to him playing on defense because of the suspensions to players such as Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo. But with both players making their season debuts last week, Mitchell played strictly offense, picking up four receptions for 31 yards in the victory over Tennessee.
You can consider this perfect timing, as Mitchell will once again have to provide this offense with that spark that he did so often in 2011.
The tight end position was a big factor last season, as Orson Charles was the third-leading receiver last season, hauling in 45 receptions and five touchdowns. The problem is that Charles is now playing for the Cincinnati Bengals and replacement Arthur Lynch has been nonexistent through the first few games.
The junior has gone three of the first five contests without a reception and only has one touchdown. He did have a big game last week against the Volunteers, but he will need to be more consistent for this offense with Bennett out.
With the tight end position as such an important part of this offense, more production from Lynch will make everyone around him even better.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.