If Georgia plays well, it's all but certain the Bulldogs will rout Arkansas State in the season opener for both teams this Saturday between the hedges of Sanford Stadium. However, if Georgia plays poorly and Arkansas State gives a peak performance, the Bulldogs could have a battle on their hands. A few keys to victory for both teams follow.
* The Georgia defense must keep pressure on Arkansas State's offense.
Although Arkansas State has a potent running game and depth at wide receiver, the Indians do not have a quarterback who has taken a snap as a collegian. That could spell disaster very quickly in the game, especially if the Bulldogs can consistently keep pressure on the ASU passing and running attacks.
* Georgia cannot let Jonathan Adams control the football game.
Adams may be one of the better running backs the Bulldogs will face all season. The Junkyard Dawgs defense simply cannot let him run up and down the field at will.
* Bulldogs must jump on Indians early
Although Arkansas State has some offensive firepower, the Indians will find themselves in trouble if Georgia jumps out to a commanding lead early.
* Georgia must not let Arkansas State control the game clock.
Offensively, Arkansas State needs to grind out yardage in order to keep the Georgia offense off the field. The ideal scenario for the Indians would be to be within 10 points of the Bulldogs going into the fourth quarter. Indians' head coach Joe Hollis would rather not get in a shootout with Georgia.
* Arkansas State must not be intimidated.
Unquestionably, enthusiasm is sky-high at Georgia, mainly because of Richt's hiring. A capacity crowd in excess of 87,000 is expected for the game. Therefore, the Indians cannot afford to let the Georgia fans intimidate them or their ability to call plays.
* Arkansas State has to force turnovers.
If the Indians can force a few turnovers, their chances for an upset improve considerably. If it means using various coverage schemes or packing the box to stop the run, Hollis' defense must do something to disrupt the Georgia offense.
PREDICTION-When all is said and done, Georgia is just far superior to Arkansas State on both sides of the ball. The Bulldogs may lose a few turnovers, but they will probably get a few too. Georgia will cruise. Georgia 34, Arkansas State 6.