Buffs & Dawgs: Emerson's Look at the Game

BOULDER, CO - Seth Emerson's look at Georgia's game with Colorado.

Georgia at Colorado

Where: Folsom Stadium, Boulder, Colo.

When: 7 p.m. (official kickoff 7:10 p.m.)

TV: Fox Sports Net

Last meeting: Georgia won, 14-13, in 2006


All the focus will be on how much, if any, A.J. Green re-ignites the sputtering Georgia offense. The star receiver should certainly help the team's downfield passing game, but that has actually shown some life lately with Kris Durham and Tavarres King. Where Green might help more is on third downs, or at least the short-to-immediate passes that allow the team to move downfield, and score in the red zone. Colorado's defense could also be forced to bunch out more, opening up the middle of the field for the tight ends and perhaps Georgia's running game.

Colorado will try to stay balanced, but it has relied on the pass a lot this season, and figures to do the same on Saturday. When the Buffaloes do run it will likely be Rodney Stewart, who has 253 rushing yards in three games. But quarterback Tyler Hansen, like Georgia's Aaron Murray, also has pretty good speed out of the pocket. Hansen's leading receiver so far has been Scotty McKnight, but his most dangerous options are a couple speedy transfers: Toney Clemson (from Michigan) and Travon Patterson (from Southern California.)

EDGE: Georgia.


Georgia should have more success pressuring the quarterback, given that Colorado has yielded eight sacks in three games. But the bigger test may just be getting off the field on third down. Georgia gave up a lot of first-down conversions to Mississippi State. The secondary should be the key for the Bulldogs: Stop the third-down plays, and avoid the big play, and they should be in good shape.

Colorado has the seventh-ranked run defense in the country, but that probably has a lot to do with who it's played. In the wins over Colorado State and Hawaii, the Buffaloes gave up a combined 56 rushing yards. The Buffaloes were overmatched in their loss to California, which averaged nearly six yards a carry, spreading the damage almost evenly between the run and pass.

EDGE: Even.

Special teams

Georgia's Blair Walsh hasn't missed a field goal yet this season, and punter Drew Butler looks like he's rounding back into all-SEC form. Plus, Brandon Boykin had the team's longest kick return of the season at Mississippi State.

Colorado kicker Kicker Aric Goodman has only tried two field goals this year, missing a 42-yarder and making one from 28. Punter Zach Grossnickle has been very busy, but only averaged 34.5 on his net. Patterson could be dangerous on punt returns, and Brian Lockridge's longest kick return is 39.

EDGE: Georgia.


Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has taken a lot of heat. A big game today could really help his case that Green's absence, and not his guidance, has been the problem. One thing to watch: Georgia's playcalling in the red zone. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham sure hopes his unit doesn't give up a touchdown drive on the opening possession for the fourth straight game, or finishes badly for the fourth straight game. If that happens, some of the heat on Bobo could turn to Grantham.

Dan Hawkins may be regretting leaving Boise State five years ago, given that program's rise. He did help build that program, but is now on the hot seat in Boulder. Hawkins guides the Colorado offense, while Ron Collins, whom Hawkins brought over from Boise State, runs the defense.

EDGE: Even.

Key matchup

Offense: Georgia WR A.J. Green vs. Colorado CB Jalil Brown. If Green is rusty, it shouldn't be long, since he's been practicing during his suspension. Brown may not cover Green the entire time, and when he does he may get help. But Brown is one of Colorado's best playmakers on defense, and was a second-team All-Big 12 pick last year.

Defense: Georgia OLB Justin Houston vs. Colorado's outside blockers. Houston has been pretty quiet after a fast start. But this would seem like a ripe opportunity for him to get back going. Colorado gave up six sacks to California. If Georgia can be in that area, it should be in great shape.

Prediction: Georgia 27, Colorado 21

Dawg Post Top Stories