Georgia football: 3 predictions for the Bulldogs' game against Mississippi State
Finally, there’s a game to look forward to for the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Dawgs were supposed to play Missouri last weekend, but that was one of 4 SEC games postponed and among a host of others across the college football world. But all things look to be full-go for now, as they’re set to host Mississippi State between the hedges on Saturday.
This season won’t end with a College Football Playoff appearance for Georgia, or with an SEC East title for that matter. But there’s still potentially a New Year’s 6 bowl to play for if they run the table. And they will be favored down the stretch: MSU has limped to a 2-4 mark in a disappointing debut for Mike Leach, South Carolina is adrift after firing Will Muschamp and losing a pair of defensive stars, and Vanderbilt is, well, Vanderbilt.
So the notion that there’s nothing left to play for is far from accurate. Kirby Smart would disagree with that sentiment, and the players certainly would, too. Still, starting Saturday and continuing through the remaining games, the Dawgs will be going up against teams looking to play spoiler and having nothing to lose.
Here are 3 (somewhat bold) predictions I have as Georgia takes the field for the first time since their loss to Florida:
JT Daniels throws for at least 350 yards in his first start for Georgia
Stetson Bennett IV, as decent as he looked early in the season, won’t be able to take the Dawgs much further than he has already, with or without a bum shoulder. I doubt we see D’Wan Mathis, either.
That means the starting job will fall to the transfer from Southern Cal. And I think he has a debut to remember, breaking the 350-yard mark. He nearly got there against Notre Dame in 2018 (he threw for 349 yards), and while it might take him a little bit to settle in after not having played since the first week of the 2019 season, I think he’ll end up setting that mark.
Whether Daniels should have been given the job weeks ago will be another debate. But I think that with a chip on his shoulder, he’ll demonstrate the same level of play that won him the starting gig with the Trojans as a true freshman.
Zamir White records 3 rushing touchdowns for his first multi-score game
The redshirt sophomore has scored a touchdown in each game he has played this season. One thing he has never done: score more than 1 in a single game.
I think that happens against Mississippi State. These Bulldogs have slipped a little in their run defense over the past 3 games, and though they’ve given up just 4 touchdowns on the ground all season — including 2 in 1 game to Texas A&M — I feel that White gets them for 3 on the night. I don’t think he hits South Carolina running back Kevin Harris’ mark of 5 set against Ole Miss on Nov. 14, but let’s be real: The Rebels defense is bad. Really bad.
(Of course, this is contingent on the staff actually getting White involved in the offense, as opposed to the loss at Florida, but I’d like to think they’ve learned their lesson. Hopefully.)
Georgia forces Mississippi State into 4 turnovers
Four seems like a nice number to go with here. I’ll take it a step further and say that Mississippi State’s starter, which could very well be Will Rogers, throws 3 interceptions, with a forced fumble by MSU making it 4 on the evening.
Credit Leach’s team for playing turnover-free football against Vanderbilt in their last outing on Nov. 7, but for the season, they’ve given it to their opponent 19 times. That includes 6 combined picks thrown by Rogers (2) and K.J. Costello (4) on Oct. 10 against Kentucky.
I doubt the Bulldogs from Starkville will be as fortunate against the Bulldogs from Athens on Saturday, though.