Nope, I’m not referring to what happened after Georgia scored its first touchdown last Saturday. I’m talking about the next game.
Georgia is currently ranked 10th in the nation going in to its meeting with Troy, a Sun Belt Conference team. No disrespect intended to the visitors, who are 6-0 in their conference, but this is a game that a 10th ranked team should win, and win comfortably (the spread is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15, I believe).
You can find some very good analysis of the game at several sites: Dawg Sports breaks down running, passing and drinking; Mr. Westerdawg provides a succinct picture here. Kit posts about the game here. The statistical rankings for Troy are listed here.
Given all that, I risk restating the obvious, but here are a few points of note:
- Georgia and Troy share two common opponents to date, but I’m not sure how much those games tell us about Saturday’s matchup. For Troy, Florida was one of those games that looks more impressive on the final scoreboard than it really was. The Gators had a 49-7 lead at the half – I think everyone attending the game this Saturday would be amazed if the Dawgs led by half that margin at the same point – and Troy was forced to throw the ball 52 times as a result. And everyone likes to point to Troy’s win over Oklahoma State (by a bigger margin than Georgia’s win was) as something of major significance, but, while it was a good win for Troy, it came against an OSU team that had just demoted its starting QB and had its starting tailback out due to injury. The Cowboys looked flat and turned the ball over a bunch. Er… on the second thought, maybe there is something Georgia should take from that game.
- Obviously, the biggest question going into this game is the health of Troy’s excellent quarterback, Omar Haugabook, who’s resume is pretty much what you’d want to put together to come up with a QB who would give the Dawg defense problems: he’s experienced (a senior), decently sized (6-2, 220) and throws (2081 yards) and runs (420 yards) pretty well. The one big hole in his game is that he’s turnover prone (28 picks in his last two seasons), but given that Georgia has only two interceptions on the season, that may not mean too much. He’s ailing, though, and if he can’t go, or if his abilities are hampered, you’d have to think that Troy’s offense will suffer as a result. Sounds familiar, right? The other thing that sounds familiar is that Troy has only given up five sacks all season.
- Troy hasn’t been able to stop the run all year. Bobo likes to establish the run and has the third ranked rusher in the SEC at his disposal. You’d have to think that he’ll continue to pound the ball. You’d also have to think that Troy will bring its safeties up to try to limit what Moreno does, which should open up some other options on offense.
Broken record time: if the Dawgs come out focused and execute, they win this game. On defense, they got a terrific game out of their front seven last week and need a similar effort to control this game to a win. Throw in some Moreno and a Stafford who plays efficiently and Georgia can cover the spread.
Georgia took a nice step last week. The Dawgs played a fast, physical game against a tough opponent. This week the challenge is to maintain some consistency in their level of play. That’s what good teams do. This program has certainly been there before.