We are now entering week five, and both Georgia and Mississippi State are coming in where some thought they would be. However, there are some, including myself, who thought that both State and Georgia had a chance to be ranked. I really whiffed on that one…
Anyway, this matchup is creating a must-win scenario for both State and Georgia. This game is crucial in so many ways for both teams.
Mark Richt needs this win, so much that he told the media when to yell at State quarterback Chris Relf:
“I want to talk to our fans and educate them a little bit,” Richt said. “We need a lot of crowd noise and I know fans know that. But when teams no huddle [like Mississippi State] and you’re cheering, you might not be cheering at the right time. So I want to try to tell you what we hope happens in the game.”
“When he looks to the sideline,” Richt said, turning to face the side of the room, “that’s the time when we need the fans to go berserk. That’s when they’re going to try to communicate to their line what they’re going to do. We don’t want them to communicate well. We want them to have trouble hearing each other and we want offensive linemen to jump offsides. So, UGA fan base, that’s the time when we want you to go crazy, when he looks to the sideline after he starts his cadence.”
Georgia has been looking improved the last couple of weeks, and mainly because they now have somewhat of a running game they can depend on with freshman Isaiah Crowell. Crowell racked up 147 yards last week against Ole Miss. He is looking like the player all Dawg fans had hoped. It just took him a few games to get into the rhythm.
Georgia can absolutely still win the SEC East, even with the loss to South Carolina. The dust is far from settling in the East between the powers of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
This Georgia team needs this win in the worst way.
Mississippi State, on the other hand, is likely out of the SEC West race already, with two losses in conference. However, that does not diminish the importance of this game for State. Coming off a nine-win 2010 season, there is still a ton left to play for and accomplishments to be made. Starting 0-3 in conference doesn’t look so good does it?
State needs Chris Relf to really step up and get back to his late 2010 and early 2011 form. He’s a good player, but right now there is a since of frustration and struggle from the quarterback’s perspective. The defense is playing close to the line and stacking the box until Relf can prove he can throw the football when he needs to. Chad Bumphis needs to get into the mix more at wide receiver, but he can’t really do much unless the offensive line can protect and Relf can get him the football.
The one staple for State is that Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins need to kick it into overdrive in Athens this Saturday. The rushing numbers have sort of quieted if you will. This team has to have the running game be dominant if it wants to win football games.
This is SEC football.