1. Who will shine at tailback? The buzz in Georgia’s preseason practices has surrounded the performance of the two freshmen from North Carolina, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. The Bulldogs have elected to start sophomore Ken Malcome, the most experienced of four backs expected to play in the game, and senior Richard Samuel will get some carries as well. But the excitement level will rise when Nos. 3 and 4 (Gurley and Marshall, respectively) come into the the game.
2. Will Alec Ogletree or Bacarri Rambo play? Rambo, an All-American free safety, and Ogletree, a starting inside linebacker, are expected to be suspended for this game and possibly several more for violating UGA’s marijuana-use policy. The school has never confirmed that they’re being disciplined, and interview requests for the players have been denied since March. The Bulldogs appear to be using the uncertainty as a strategic advantage for their early opponents.
3. What will the secondary look like? Georgia moved star receiver Malcolm Mitchell to cornerback this year due to attrition in the secondary. Mitchell was slated to start for Sanders Commings, suspended for the first two games due to an offseason arrest. But Mitchell sprained an ankle in practice on Thursday and is now out for the opener. Sophomore Damian Swann is likely the next in line, and freshmen Devin Bowman and Sheldon Dawson will have to play as well.
A win for Georgia would …
Be its 90th in 119 season openers and Mark Richt’s 10th in 12 seasons
A win for Buffalo would …
Be one of the greatest upsets in the history of college football
Matchup to watch
Georgia’s run defense against Buffalo’s offense. The Bulls are led by junior running back Branden “Bo” Oliver, who established a school rushing record with 1,395 yards last season and scored 13 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs feature one of the more formidable front sevens in college football, led by 358-pound senior nose guard John Jenkins. Said Jenkins this week: “They’re thinking they’re going to run over us, and they really can’t.”
Tweet of the week
“Don’t think I am gonna be getting much sleep this week. I just wanna play this game now! #GATA” — @aaronmurray11
Jeff Schultz predicts
President Millard Fillmore was a Buffalo chancellor, but I’m guessing that won’t help the visitors. This opener doesn’t hold the suspense of last year’s first game, against Boise State, but I’m guessing Georgia coach Mark Richt is OK with that. This game will be a warm-up before next week at Missouri. Dogs win and cover 37 1/2.
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