Ole Miss vs. Georgia: The Rebels Will Move the Ball on Georgia's Defense
Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
Last week vs. Florida, it finally happened.
Just a few days after Bulldog safety Shawn Williams called his defense "soft," Georgia's defense responded and played the type of game that we had been expecting the Bulldogs to play all year.
They gave up only 266 total yards and forced six turnovers en route to a 17-9 win over the previously No. 2 Gators.
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Was that performance vs. the Rebels the anomaly or the start of a trend? Georgia fans better hope that it's the latter, because Ole Miss will walk between the hedges on Saturday afternoon with an offense that can make the Bulldogs sweat if they're not careful.
First-year head coach Hugh Freeze came to Oxford from Arkansas State with a high-flying offense, and that offense has succeeded with flying colors.
Quarterback Bo Wallace has proven to be a legitimate dual-threat weapon, throwing for 1,649 yards and 10 touchdowns, while adding 263 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
His ability to make things happen through the air and on the ground should concern Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. His defense has struggled with dual-threat quarterbacks this season, including Buffalo's Alex Zordich, Missouri's James Franklin and South Carolina's Connor Shaw.
Linebacker Jarvis Jones took over in the second half vs. Missouri, much like how he did in last week's game against Florida, but Franklin was still able to move the football against the Bulldogs to the tune of 269 passing yards, 25 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
It isn't just Wallace, either.
Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE
Running back Jeff Scott has shed the label of "changeup back" in favor of a more attractive one—"fifth-leading rusher in the SEC." Wide receiver Donte Moncrief has emerged as a legitimate deep threat at wide receiver, catching 39 passes for 540 yards and five touchdowns this season.
A lot of coaches come in with the mantra of "getting the ball in the hands of playmakers in space," and Freeze has not only proven that he can do it, but that he can do it successfully.
This isn't your ordinary Ole Miss offense. The Rebels are averaging 91 yards more per game than the Florida offense that Georgia dominated last weekend.
Will Ole Miss spring the upset on Georgia?
That's not to say that Georgia can't stop the Rebels. It can. However, this Georgia defense only seems to play up to its capability when it wants to. Furthermore, even though the Bulldogs know that they likely have to win out in the SEC to make it to the Georgia Dome, is a game versus Ole Miss going to get the juices flowing?
I picked Georgia to win a close game, while controlling the game throughout. That's assuming that the Bulldogs take the Rebels seriously.
If they don't, it's not only a game that could make head coach Mark Richt sweat, it's one he could lose and one that could cost his team the SEC East title.
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