The Georgia Bulldogs best not be caught sleeping when the Ole Miss Rebels visit Athens Saturday.
Defeating Florida in Jacksonville last week, the Dawgs are fresh off the biggest win for the program in several years. Georgia definitely needs to be on letdown alert against a much-improved Ole Miss squad under first-year head coach Hugh Freeze.
Ole Miss is similarly riding a wave of momentum after two straight SEC wins. The Rebels would obviously like nothing more than to come into Athens and shock the Dawgs en route to a third consecutive conference victory.
Who: Ole Miss vs. Georgia
Where: Sanford Stadium (92,746), Athens, GA
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Radio: 750 AM WSB-AM, Sirius: 123; XM: 201
Internet: SEC Live on CBSSports.com, GTV on GeorgiaDogs.com
Quarterback: Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason, Christian LeMay
Running Back: Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, Ken Malcome
Fullback: Alexander Ogletree, Richard Samuel IV
Wide Receiver (Flanker): Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten, Chris Conley
Wide Receiver (Split End): Marlon Brown, Malcolm Mitchell
Tight End: Arthur Lynch, Jay Rome
Left Tackle: Kenarious Gates, Mark Beard
Left Guard: Dallas Lee, Ben Reynolds
Center: David Andrews, Chris Burnette
Right Guard: Chris Burnette, Austin Long
Right Tackle: John Theus, Watts Danztler
Defensive End: Garrison Smith, Abry Jones
Nose Tackle: John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers
Defensive End: Cornelius Washington, Ray Drew
Outside Linebacker: Chase Vasser, Jordan Jenkins
Outside Linebacker: Jarvis Jones, Jordan Jenkins
Inside Linebacker: Amarlo Herrera, Michael Gilliard
Inside Linebacker: Alec Ogletree, Christian Robinson
Cornerback: Sanders Commings, Malcolm Mitchell
Cornerback: Damian Swann, Branden Smith
Strong Safety: Shawn Williams, Corey Moore
Free Safety: Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings, Connor Norman
Punter: Colin Barber, Adam Erickson
Place Kicker: Marshall Morgan, Jamie Lindley
Punt Returner: Rhett McGowan, Damian Swann
Kick Returner: Malcolm Mitchell, Todd Gurley
Quarterback: Bo Wallace, Barry Brunetti
Running Back: Randall Mackey, Jeff Scott
Wide Receiver: Donte Moncrief ,Terrell Grant
Wide Receiver: Vince Sanders, Ja-Mes Logan
Wide Receiver: Ja-Mes Logan, Philander Moore
Left Tackle: Emmanuel McCray, Derrick Wilson
Left Guard: Aaron Morris, Justin Bell
Center: Evan Swindall, Ben Still
Right Guard: A.J. Hawkins, Jared Duke
Right Tackle: Pierce Burton, Patrick Junen
Tight End: Ferbia Allen, Jamal Mosley
Defensive End: C.J. Johnson, Jason Jones
Defensive Tackle: Bryon Bennett, Carlton Martin
Nose Tackle: Issac Gross, Gilbert Pena
Defensive End: Cameron Whigham, E.J. Epperson
Mike: Mike Marry, Joel Kight
Stinger: Denzel Nkemdiche, Aaron Garbutt
Huskie: Dehendret Collins, Mike Hilton
FCB: Senquez Golson, Anthony Standifer
Rover: Trae Elston, Frank Crawford
Free Safety: Cody Prewitt, Chief Brown
BCB: Charles Sawyer, Wesley Pendleton
Punter: Jim Broadway, Tyler Campbell
Place Kicker: Bryson Rose, Nathan Noble
Punt Returner: Philander Moore, Jeff Scott
Kick Returner: Jaylen Walton/Randall Mackey, Senquez Golson/Jeff Scott
With a last-second field goal to top Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ole Miss won back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2009.
This was a great win for head coach Hugh Freeze, who appears to have the Rebels headed in the right direction in his first season in Oxford.
Quarterback Bo Wallace had a very efficient day passing, completing 29-of-37 attempts for 278 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Wallace also had 11 rushes for 38 yards.
Although Arkansas put up better numbers on the stat sheet, the opportunistic Rebels found a way to win on the road, which is never an easy task in the SEC.
Georgia also had a notable back-to-back performance last week as it beat arch rival Florida for the second year in a row for the first time since 1988-1989.
The landmark win put Georgia in control of its own destiny for a return trip to Atlanta to compete in the SEC Championship Game for the second year in a row.
Aaron Murray’s struggles against elite defenses continued; however, as he threw three first-half interceptions against the Gators. Still, Murray composed himself in the second half and had a very strong fourth quarter, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell.
On defense, a healthy Jarvis Jones continued his domination, racking up 13 total tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
For Ole Miss, this would be a huge upset on the road and really show the Rebel fanbase that Freeze is the right man for the job and the program is becoming relevant again.
A victory would also make the Rebels bowl-eligible for the first time since 2009. While Ole Miss only needs one more W to go bowling, it’s hardly a given that the Rebels will get it. While they could get that win in Athens, certainly their best chance will be next week when the Rebels play host to the Vanderbilt Commodores.
For Georgia, from here on out every game is the most important game of the season to keep BCS National Championship hopes alive. A loss to the Rebels on Saturday would almost certainly eliminate any chances of an SEC Championship Game berth. This is a must-win for the Dawgs.
Bo Wallace has proven himself to be a solid quarterback this season who can make plays with his arm or his legs. Wallace is the Rebel’s second leading rusher and has five touchdowns on the ground so far this season.
At times this season, the Georgia defense has had trouble defending quarterbacks who can buy time and scramble when plays break down.
Wallace will need to be efficient through the air and on the ground to keep the Rebels in this game.
True freshman running back Todd Gurley had another 100-yard rushing game against Florida last week, his fifth of the season.
Look for Gurley to have another big day against an Ole Miss team that has struggled to defend the run so far this season.
If Gurley can get it going on the ground, it will set up the play-action pass for Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs should get back to their 40-points-per-game form from earlier in the season.
The Rebels will pull off the upset if they continue to play opportunistic football and win the turnover battle against the Bulldogs.
The Georgia offensive line is a little banged up so Ole Miss will need to get pressure on Murray and force some bad throws. The Bulldog defense is coming off a huge game, so expect the Rebels to need some short fields to put points on the board.
Ole Miss will also need to have excellent play from their special teams to win. Georgia has shown lapses on kick coverage so a big punt or kickoff return could be the spark the Rebels need to come out on top.
If the Bulldogs come out with even close to the intensity they had last week against Florida, Ole Miss should be out of this game early.
But, the question remains, can the Bulldogs maintain that ferocious style of play against teams not called the Gators? This game should be a very good indicator if the Florida game was a rivalry aberration or if Georgia has truly turned a corner.
Honestly, even if the Bulldogs come out a little flat, their talent should carry them to a victory in this game. But if they come out a lot flat, like they did against Kentucky, the Dawgs could be staring at a crushing upset.
But, again, if Georgia comes out fired up and ready to go, there’s not going to be much Ole Miss will be able to do to slow it down.
Georgia is going to build off its big win against Florida and be ready to go against Ole Miss in Athens.
Gurley and Keith Marshall will both have a big game rushing. Murray will work off that success and have a big day passing to Tavarres King, Marlon Brown and Malcolm Mitchell.
The Dawgs defense, led by Jarvis Jones, will contain Bo Wallace and the Rebels’ offense. Georgia will get consistent pressure on Wallace and force at least two turnovers on the day.
This is going to be a lopsided victory with Georgia winning 42-10.