Okay, it’s go time. A few seasonal stats for your perusal:
- For Georgia’s defense, it’s déjà vu all over again. Missouri and Mississippi are one and two in the conference in offensive pass yardage. Missouri and Mississippi are the SEC’s twelfth and thirteenth ranked teams in offensive rushing yardage. These are both pass first and ask questions later offenses. Missouri got off to a quick start last week throwing the ball all over creation and it’s reasonable to expect Ole Miss to do the same. How Georgia deploys its safeties in the first half could be a big deal; Lock had a much rougher go of things after Tucker gave Briscoe safety help on his side of the field in the game’s second half.
- Yeah, it would be nice indeed if Georgia’s defense racked up a few sacks today. They’re next to last in the SEC in that department. What I’m really curious to see, though, is how the inside linebackers hold up. Between Kelly’s threat to run and Evan Engram, they’ll really be challenged.
- One thing’s pretty certain: if either team gets in the red zone, look for a score. The Rebels defense is 14 of 14 there; Georgia isn’t doing much better at nine of ten. (It’s worth noting that Ole Miss’ offense is a little better at converting than Georgia’s.)
- For Georgia’s offense, at first glance, things look tougher this week, as Mississippi is fourth in the SEC in defensive passing yards, compared to Missouri at thirteenth. But when you scratch the surface and look at defensive passer rating, it’s a different story: Missouri is fourth and Ole Miss is twelfth. Ole Miss is the only team in the conference without an interception. Neither team’s run defense has been stellar so far, although Mississippi’s has had it tougher. That being said, Missouri did pretty well loading the box last week. It’s not unreasonable to expect Ole Miss to come out the same way. Chaney and Eason have to make them pay for that, or it’s gonna be a long day.
In other words, expect this game to look a lot like last week’s, with one big difference. Ole Miss’ offense has a lot more experience in its offensive system than Missouri’s did. It’s hard to see how Georgia’s defense doesn’t face some of the same struggles it had in the first half in Columbia. If we can expect the Rebels’ defense to sell out against Chubb and Company, is it reasonable to think Georgia’s defense makes a similar decision with regard to Kelly?
You’ll notice one thing I haven’t mentioned is special teams. If I don’t mention them in tomorrow’s Observations post, it will have been a good day. Unfortunately, I expect them to merit a bullet point or two.
I wrote yesterday that I don’t have a good feeling about this game. I don’t think Georgia is going to be able to maintain the time of possession advantage that’s help power it through its three wins and without doing so, I think Ole Miss, with its more dynamic offense, wins and covers. Call it a ten-point difference. Sure hope I’m wrong.
Consider this your game day comment thread home.