Missouri offense vs. Georgia defense
There is always the chance that Missouri will throw a wrinkle or two into what they normally do offensively, but that is all you should expect. Mizzou has an offense that that executes well and they will likely stick to it. Expect the Tigers to run the football early and often and try to get a zone game going with running back Kendial Lawrence. If they can establish the run with Lawrence, it opens up the zone read for quarterback James Franklin and the play action game. There is also a chance the Tigers try to get Franklin going early in the run game so that they can stay ahead of the chains and control the football. Also keep an eye on the motion jet sweep to Mizzou's talented group of receivers led by senior T.J. Moe. If the Tigers can get run game going with the quarterback, running back, or both, it makes them a very dangerous offense that can begin to take shots down field. That will get players like L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham involved, and that could spell trouble for the Georgia defense. The one thing you shouldn't expect is for Mizzou to deviate from their normal offense. They may throw it a few more times than usual or run it a few more times than usual, but nothing seriously different than what they normally do.
Missouri defense vs. Georgia offense
The Tigers are in a situation where they have to cover up what could be a big time weakness at safety, so expect them to focus on trying to stop the run early. This doesn't mean they will use an extra man in the box, but they may use more gap control blitzes and slants up front to negate the Georgia running attack and make the Bulldogs one-dimensional. If they can succeed at stopping the run, it will allow the Tigers to turn defensive ends Michael Sam and Kony Ealy loose as pass rushers, and both have the ability to create pressure. If the Bulldogs do get the run game going with any degree of success early, it will force the Tigers to roll a safety up in the box and get out of their regular cover 2 defense. If they have to turn to a Cover 3 or a man free (one safety deep) coverage, then they could have a hard time stopping the Bulldogs' vertical passing attack.
Georgia defense vs. Missouri offense
On paper, the Bulldogs have a big advantage up front, and you can expect defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to try and exploit that. Expect him to turn his front four loose with the one caveat being that they must maintain rush lane integrity. The key for Georgia will be nose tackle John Jenkins and defensive end Abry Jones. If those two can create one-on-one situations for Georgia's outside rushers, Jarvis Jones, Cornelius Washington, and Jordan Jenkins, Franklin could be running around all game. If Jenkins and Jones, along with the interior reserves, can command double teams, then it also frees up the linebackers to make plays on Lawrence and Franklin in the run game. Also expect the Georgia defensive backs to be aggressive when it comes to stopping the horizontal screens that are so successful for Missouri. The Bulldogs will want their defensive backs to run by blocks and split defenders to make quick tackles on those screens. A two deep look can also be expected from the Bulldogs due to the fact that the Tigers will undoubtedly take their shots deep with their big, physical, and fast receivers.
Georgia offense vs. Missouri defense
Of all the game plans to predict, this one is the hardest to figure out. It is tough to predict that the Bulldogs will fully commit to running the football like they did against Georgia Tech in 2009 and Florida in 2007, but expect the Bulldogs to get Ken Malcome, Todd Gurley, and Keith Marshall involved early and often. The Mizzou linebackers typically line up six yards off the ball which could give the Bulldogs two ways to attack. They can pound the football inside and make those linebackers have to fly down hill six yards to meet them at the line of scrimmage. Georgia could also use the play action to take advantage of the tendency of Mizzou's linebackers to play overly aggressive against the run because of how deep they are lined up. Being lined up six yards deep forces the linebackers to get a head start, so play action passes to the tight end or inside receiver could be big for Georgia on Saturday. As usual, you can expect Georgia to take its fair share of shots down field to attack the Tiger defensive backs, but also expect them to try them underneath as well. Missouri's defensive backs aren't particularly strong tacklers, so you might see offensive coordinator Mike Bobo get the ball to Tavarres King, Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten, and Michael Bennett quickly so they can run after the catch.
There is little doubt that the Mizzou faithful will be as excited about this game as they have any game in a long time. The environment will be electric, and the Bulldogs will walk into a stadium where there is a 12th man in regards to crowd noise. Luckily for the Bulldogs, they have been in such environments and a strong defense usually helps in such an environment. Despite the lackluster performance against Buffalo last week, we still believe the Georgia defense is very talented and will come ready to play in Mizzou. Georgia may struggle a little early with the crowd noise, but they will avoid making the big mistakes, and the defense will play up to their press clippings this pre season. Expect the game to be close at the half and into the third quarter, but as the game progresses, the UGA run game will make the difference and a couple of big fourth quarter plays will hand the Tigers their first SEC loss. Final Score: Georgia 27 Missouri 17
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