Preview: Alabama vs. Georgia

By Michael Hicks
The marquee matchup this weekend will be in Athens, Georgia Saturday night when the third ranked Georgia Bulldogs host the eighth ranked Crimson Tide. Both teams come in undefeated with SEC and national title championships aspirations on the line.

Alabama is coming into the game on the rise after an impressive 49-14 routing of Arkansas; Georgia went coast-to-coast and beat the defending Pac 10 co-champion Arizona State Sun Devils 27-10.

This game will feature two of the nations best run defenses with Georgia third allowing 45.8 yards per game and Alabama eighth with 55.0.

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Georgia’s young offensive line will have its hands full with this 3-4 Alabama defense. Nick Saban likes to use a lot of blitzes to confuse the quarterback and offensive line. Alabama’s defensive line is anchored by 6’5 360 pound Terrance Cody. Freshman center Ben Jones will be asked to block Cody a task that has been impossible so far this season.

Cody and the rest of the defense will be asked to slow down a Georgia offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and Heisman candidate Knowshon Moreno. Moreno leads the SEC with 455 yards rushing and is third in the nation with nine touchdowns. The pressure will be on Georgia’s inexperience offensive line to give him enough room to run.

The game will feature the top two freshmen at wide receiver in A.J. Green for Georgia and Julio Jones at Alabama. Green is averaging 18.8 yards per catch and had eight catches for 159 yards and a touchdown last week. Jones is Alabama’s leading receiver with 11 catches for 132 yards. Jones will face one of the best corners in Georgia’s preseason All-SEC defensive back Asher Allen.

It will be key for Alabama to establish the running game. Glen Coffee and freshman Mark Ingram have been a perfect duo at running back so far this season. Coffee had a career game against Arkansas rushing for 162 yards and two scores, setting a school record averaging 16.2 yards a carry. So far this season he is sixth in the country averaging 8.6 yards per carry.

This season John Parker Wilson has not been asked to do to much with the running game having so much success but going up against a tough Georgia defense he may have to stretch the field to give the backs some running room. He will get excellent protection playing behind an offensive line that averages 307 pounds and is one of the best in the SEC if not in the nation.

Look for Bama to get some free yards—Georgia is the nations most penalized team with 43 penalties for 356 yards so far this season.

If the game is close a big play on special teams by Alabama’s return specialist Javier Arenas could decide the game.

The crowd will be a huge factor as the Georgia seniors have called for another “Blackout” at Sanford Stadium Saturday night. This will be only the third time that Georgia has donned the black uniforms, having worn them twice last season against Auburn and Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

30 Comments

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  1. 1
    tmc1

    I am hoping that the Georgia offensive line is nice and soft. It would make that black out look more like a funeral for the home team in the 3rd quarter.

  2. 3
    Pluto

    I’m going to say that there is no pressure on Bama to win this damn thing. I’m sure that most folks had this one pegged. Yeah. I like our chances. Will I bet it. Hell no. Too much stress !
    The Black Jerseys are nothing more than a gimmick to make Richt seem like a Badass he is not. The word last year in doggie world before the Florida Game that Richt had turned into a Pussy. He had to sell his soul to prove to the Bros’ that he was badass. He told them to show their asses against Florida in the End Zone and pulled the Blackout on the Aubies. To his credit – he got his desired result. The problem is that he sold himself out. Real Deal Programs do not do this Shit to motivate people !

  3. 4
    drew

    Pluto, your grammar skills are atrocious. Do you mistakenly believe yourself to be Hunter S. Thompson with your arbitrary capitalization? Nonsense. And real deal programs? I think UGA is 3-0 in recent games against Bama and Coach Richt will run his record to 3-0 in his last three games against Saban on Saturday. Georgia 30-Dead Bears 17. Mark it.

  4. 5
    Ballplay Indian.

    Pluto……Dont pretend to think that Mark Richt is not the real deal. IMO hes the best coach in the SEC. And yes , he does have a 3 game streak on yall going back to 01 or 02. I wasnt all for the end zone orgy they had either. But that was the turning point of that game. The blackout is kinda cool, on the other hand. It worked like a charm against us.

    As for “real deal” programs……Does the coach of a “real deal” program suspend a player for a game ( D.J.) only to put him back in when you are losing to LAMO, only to lose anyhow ?

    I thought not.

    Coachs have a fine line to work with. Im not bashing The Saban , O.K. Im just sayin, when you live in glass houses ………….

  5. 6
    BamaBrando

    Here comes Ballplay again, whose team he roots for is the epitome of a cleanly run and righteous program, to give us his invaluable expert opinion on all things Bama. Keep up the great work!

    Do you really think that Saban is a bad coach? You bring up DJ Hall suspension, and someone will remind you of chop blocks, etc. What is the point? Can’t you just root for your own team, or do you feel better arguing your stupid points with your rival? You talk about the writers and posters here like they are stupid, but I swear I think you are about the dumbest Auburn fan I have ever heard. And that is saying alot right there.

    Look, Auburn has a good football program, Bama has a good program that just happens to be on the rise, and you look really stupid in your feeble attempts to discredit Bama. I am sure you feel like you are doing your duty as Auburn Man and all, but it doesn’t change the fact that you know, deep down inside, that it is coming.

  6. 7
    Ballplay Indian.

    Brandy……..I was responding to pluto. He was bashing Mark Richt. I pointed out that WE ALL have our own issues in our own houses. O.K. ? No I dont think Saban is a bad coach. He is a good coach. But its easy to judge anyone under the microscope that these guys are under. I was just proving a point. Tubberville is not Mother Theresa. I know that. O.K. ?

    As far as “knowing what is coming”. Please. That whole saying is crazy. “whistling in the graveyard” is that one next ? I dont know if you realise this or not, But yes Auburn will eventually lose to Alabama. It isnt possible to infinitly keep winning the Iron Bowl. The odds will catch up sooner or later. Heck, the mighty Tides streak over us even stopped , didnt it ?

    No one is skeered of your overrated football team. Got it?

  7. 9
    tmc1

    I have the feeling this one could be close. And not as a Homer but just pure gut tells me that what few weaknesses Georgia might have play into Bama’s stregnths. Much like with Clemson. That offensive line can make you or break you. I think that Georgia’s line may be a little better. And overall I would say that Georgia has the best athletes in the SEC right now.
    Richt is trying to come off as a master motivator but this could blow up in his face.Aside from that this whole blackout thing only works on fanbases and schools that are primitive an have to rely on hand gestures to make a point. Cave man types. Like the Aubboriginees.

  8. 11
    JW

    georgia is just another SEC team that is on the rise like bama.except O line is very very young and bama defense WILL wear them out.bulldogs will have to get it done through the air and that will play right into our hands.i see this as a clemson game close in first half and bama defense takes over in second half.just to much bama D””””’this defense is the real deal.keep fresh legs in at running back and throw in a little screen pass.GAME OVER ”””’BAMA WINS BIG THIS WEEK END 35……….24 GOD BLESS EVERY ONE

  9. 14
    tmc1

    JW
    you might be on to something there. You have been right so far this year.
    See the power and the momentun shifting….EARTHQUAKE!

  10. 15
    Ft_benning_ranger

    Uga’s gonna have some serious momentum on their side. And how will our rookies play in a hostile environment? I dunno, but what I do know is I’m not taking a pick. All I gotta say is win or lose, it should be a good game either way.

  11. 16
    rhYno

    I don’t know if anyone else is watching the U$C and Oregon State game right now, but if U$C loses tonight (which at this point and time is inevitable, barring a sudden miracle of course) will that affect UGA negatively or gulp… positively?

  12. 18
    Bama Fan in NYC

    Here’s my assessment on the upcoming game:

    Georgia has something to lose, where as we do not. That advantage could go either way.

    Georgia’s defense is going to line up and stuff the running game, forcing Alabama to throw more on offense because they know that’s an area we are unproven on.

    All eyes will be on JPW in this game and from what I’ve seen of him in past big games, all I can say is he’d better not screw this one up.

    Georgia: 30
    Bama: 21

  13. 19
    Dark Illusions

    This is merely a toss-up game for two unknowns. Upon going into this game I’m approaching it with the mindset that Alabama has only played one opponent: Tulane. The other three were cupcake pansies. Yes. We defeated Tulane by a 13 point margin, yet only one offensive touchdown contributed to that overall score. One. Is Tulane’s defense honestly that much better than UGA’s? I’m not on crack, so I don’t think they’re even close to being mentioned on the same level. We’re still a ways away from winning a game of this caliber, therefore UGA receives my vote in a close, hard fought battle.

    RTR!

  14. 20
    Christopherson

    Well, I just played the game on my 360(got a little fired up after watching USC fall at the hands of Oregon State), and the score ended up at Bama 59, Dawgs 19 though I think the final score will be a little more tighter than that.

    However, it may be the crimson colored glasses or kool-aid, but I really thinking Bama pulls this one out. We’ll be able to run on them. Not like we ran on Arkansas, but we’ll run enough to keep them honest. If the passing game gets on track at all, the offense should be able to move the ball with regularity. The most important thing there being using up the clock and keeping the Georgia offense off the field.

    I also think the defense will do well against the run, meaning Stafford will have to beat us through the air. Stafford certainly has the ability, with NFL caliber talent, but I think the secondary will at least hold their own as long as he’s not forced to pass on many critical downs. That’s where he’ll kill our defense.

    My Prediction:
    Bama – 24
    UGA – 20

  15. 21
    berman

    the dogs 28
    the a 21

    and as soon as the clock strikes zero in the fourth, the barnies will flood our boards with their endlessly frivolous stepchild rubbish. i’m looking forward to that. i bet even ole’ envious kevin will make his return too.

    count this as my signature:

  16. 22
    Danny Ricketts

    This game will be decided in the trenches peroid. Offense difference All American Smith,dominator.Defense Terrance Cody, mountain of a man unstoppable,line crusher,beast,terror,game changer, scarry,fill in the blank_______.
    In these games the running game has alwasy’s decided the winner.Advantage Alabama in a lower scoring great game 31-24.

  17. 23
    Ballplay Indian.

    Ricketts . I think your partly right. And I know that this is old hat but, who ever doesnt turn it over (qbs) will win.

  18. 25
    TiderInsider

    Everyone seems to have objectively reasonable opinions that honestly seem believable. I have all the faith in the world, but I have yet to see this squad win a game this big – other than Clemson, but that’s a different club compared to UGA – so I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. Good luck to both teams Saturday night is what I’ll leave you all with until Monday!

  19. 27
    LCN

    UGA 14
    Bama 10
    We get a big play on special teams or D to score or set up the easy 6 but otherwise our offense struggles. They focus on shutting down the run and pressing JPW to force us to throw and we have challenges.
    For the record, I also predicted a loss in the Clemson game and NOBODY was happier to be wrong than I was. So I will gladly say next Sunday that I was incredibly wrong if I am.

  20. 28
    JuicyJ

    With the Tide leading 19-17 early in the 4th quarter, Ga scores to go up 24-19. Bama later drives & scores to take a 25-24 lead after having failed to convert on a 2pt attempt. Ga drives and comes up short on a game winning FG attempt as the clock expires allowing the Tide to escape with a 25-24 win in a classic which reminds us all of the epic 1994 night game in TitleTown.

    25 – 14

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