Published August 27, 2012 - 11:20am
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The Matchup: Buffalo at #6 Georgia
When: Saturday, September 1st
Where: Athens, Georgia
Game Time: 12:00 PM ET
TV: ESPN GamePlan
What you need to know about Buffalo: Buffalo is 2-13 in road openers (1-7 against BCS schools). The Bulls compete in the Mid-American Conference and finished 3-9 last year. They have 15 returning starters on both sides of the ball, with seven on offense and eight on defense.
Buffalo boasts the MAC’s best running back in Brandon Oliver. He rushed for 1,395 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Four of five return on the offensive line, but the Bulls are breaking in a new quarterback.
Defensively, Buffalo returns three of its five top tacklers, with ILB Lee Skinner the top tackler returning (80).
Tennessee hung 41 on this club last season.
What you need to know about Georgia: Georgia is 14-1 in home openers, with the only loss coming last season against South Carolina.
The Bulldogs have 16 returning starters this season, with offensive firepower back in quarterback Aaron Murray and a slew of receivers. The two questions on offense are the offensive line (replacing three starters) and running back (replacing Isaiah Crowell). Mark Richt said Ken Malcome will start at running back, but don’t be surprised if the two freshmen – Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley – end up toting the rock the most.
Georgia returns one of the best defenses in the country – led by OLB Jarvis Jones – that should theoretically pitch a shutout against Buffalo. Last year’s star receiver Malcolm Mitchell has flipped over to give the defense a boost at corner, a position of nagging attrition and suspensions.
What you need to watch: I will be glued to the two freshmen running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Marshall has the most hype, but Gurley has shown out in fall camp and is drawing some comparisons to Trent Richardson.
I want to see these two backs play and emerge as the top two backs on the roster and become a one-two punch. I like each to run for 75 to 100 yards or more against a weaker foe in Buffalo, getting at least 15 carries each.
This game will give us no kind of indication about Georgia’s season, but it will give the players confidence and momentum heading into week two against Missouri.