Preview: Samford at No. 13 Georgia

Anthony Dasher, Editor
GA Varsity
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Samford at No. 13 Georgia

WHERE: Sanford Stadium

WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

RECORDS: Georgia 2-0; Samford 2-0

TV/RADIO: SEC Network Alternative Channel (Mike Morgan, Barrett Jones, Desmond Purnell); Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (Scott Howard, Eric Zeier, Chuck Dowdle); Sirius/XM (137/190).

Players to Watch

Georgia: QB Jake Fromm, RB Nick Chubb, RB Sony Michel, RB D’Andre Swift, WR Terry Godwin, WR Riley Ridley, TE Isaac Nauta, LT Isaiah Wynn, LB Lorenzo Carter, LB Davin Bellamy, DL Trenton Thompson, N John Atkins, S J.R Reed, S Dominick Sanders, CB Deandre Baker.

Samford: QB Delvin Hodges, WR Kelvin McKnight, WR Andrew Harris, RB Roland Adams, CB Omari Williams, DE Ahmad Gooden, MLB Deion Pierre, S Sam Pettway.

The Game

Today’s second meeting (the only other one took place in 1943 with the Bulldogs winning, 39-0) is not only an opportunity for Georgia to build on its momentum from last week’s victory at Notre Dame, but a chance for Kirby Smart and Samford coach Chris Hatcher to renew some old acquaintances. In Hatcher’s first two seasons as head coach at Valdosta State, Smart served as an assistant coach, coaching the defensive backs in 2000 before serving as the defensive coordinator in 2001.

Although Samford is an FCS team, the Bulldogs feature a talented quarterback in senior Devlin Hodges, who last year completed 375 of 530 passes for 4,088 yards and 36 touchdowns, both school records. Through two games, Hodges has thrown for 558 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes. Wide receiver Kelvin McKnight is averaging a Southern Conference-best 121 receiving yards per game and has scored four times. Meanwhile for Georgia, Jake Fromm makes his second straight start for Georgia in place of the injured Jacob Eason, while the Bulldog defense will look to keep its run of solid play intact for another week.

Keys To The Game

Control Hodges

Samford’s quarterback may be the best Georgia has faced in two games, and App State’s Taylor Lamb and Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush haven’t been bad.

Hodges had great success last year at Mississippi State, throwing for 468 yards and four touchdowns in Samford’s 56-41 loss in Starkville.

Georgia’s secondary will also have its hands full with the aforementioned McKnight, who comes in with 145 career catches for 1,754 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Don't give Samford reason to dream

Georgia got off to a fast start last year against Nicholls but struggled the rest of the way and was fortunate to hang on for the victory. The Bulldogs don’t need to play around this time. A perfect afternoon for Georgia would be to start fast, don’t let up and allow what’s been a sluggish offense to build some confidence, play as many people as possible and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Play smarter, eliminate the penalties

Penalties have been an issue for Georgia through two games. The Bulldogs come into play having committed 20 for 175 yards, including 12 for 127 last week at Notre Dame. Although Smart doesn’t want to curb his team’s aggressiveness, he does want his Bulldogs to do a better job eliminating penalties caused by a lack of concentration.

We’ll see if that starts today.

Injury Report

Sony Michel tweaked his ankle late against Notre Dame, but has practiced this week. The last we heard from Smart on Tuesday, he expected the senior to play.

We’ll see. If there are any concerns, look for the Bulldogs to limit his carries and open up more opportunities for true freshman D’Andre Swift, who has drawn praise from Smart after both of the wins over Appalachian State and Notre Dame.

…Quarterback Jacob Eason (knee) and cornerback Malkom Parrish (ankle) remain out for the Bulldogs, although both are rehabbing and reportedly getting better.

Prediction

After last year’s close call against Nicholls, one wouldn’t think the Bulldogs would let history repeat itself, especially considering so many players are still on the team that endured last year’s close call. While there’s always a chance for the Bulldogs to be basking in the glow of last week’s win at Notre Dame, I don’t think they will be. Look for Georgia’s offense to get on track – in a big way – Prediction: Georgia 52, Samford 21.

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