Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. (TV: Lincoln Financial, Radio: 940-AM)
Stadium: Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Tickets: Sold out
Kickoff weather: High of 82, low of 59; partly cloudy, isolated thunderstorms; 30 percent chance of rain
Series: First meeting
Odds: Georgia favored by 26.5
Injuries: Georgia: Probable: WR Mikey Henderson (hamstring), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring); Questionable: WR Mario Raley (elbow); Out: OL Michael Turner (ankle), DL Ray Gant (foot), OL Zeb McKinzey (shoulder), QB Joe Tereshinski (ankle).
A different back has led the Bulldogs in rushing each game. It was Danny Ware (68 yards) vs. Western Kentucky, Thomas Brown (69) against South Carolina and Kregg Lumpkin (54) against South Carolina. The rotation of Ware first, followed by Lumpkin and then Ware will remain in tact at least through this week. Hugh Charles is Colorado's most dangerous back. He got off to a slow start due to injury and learning Dan Hawkins' system, but he had 109 yards last week. He's the strongest Buffalo pound-for-pound and has run a sub-4.4 40-yard dash.
Matthew Stafford will continue adding to his experience this week, and he'll get to do it against a passing defense that is ranked 95th in the country, which should help. Mark Richt will give him a little more flexibility this week than he did last. "Before you now it you can take (everything) and roll it into one game plan, but you just can't do that yet," Richt said. Colorado's Bernard Jackson has been awful and has been the target for most of the Buffalo fans' anger. Some have even gone so far as to suggest Hawkins take the redshirt off his son, a highly recruited freshman quarterback at the country, but that won't happen this week. Jackson has completed just 16 passes and averaged only 9.8 yards per completion.
Georgia will see the same offensive look it saw from Boise State last year. That means many formations using the same personnel grouping, one running back, two tight ends and two wide receivers. That will put a premium on assignments and understanding. "Last year we had all summer to prepare for that offense," Richt said. "This year we have just one week to do it." The Buffaloes defense hasn't been their problem. It's ranked 28th in the country against the pass and 41st in scoring, having allowed 18 points per game. Colorado has the same defensive coordinator who was at Boise State last year when Georgia scored 48 points and threw five touchdown passes against the Broncos, however Hawkins has a new secondary coach. The Buffaloes will play lots of zone, keeping things in front of them, and blitz occasionally.
Georgia's special teams has been fantastic three weeks into the season. The Bulldogs have scored two special teams touchdowns (a punt return and a punt block) and haven't given their opponents any big plays. Place-kicker Brandon Coutu continues to be faultless. He's 11-for-11 on extra points and 7-for-7 on field goals. Colorado has a well-regarded place-kicker in Mason Crosby, but little else going for it on special teams. The Buffaloes are 11th in the Big 12 in punt returns, last in kickoff returns and ninth in punting.
One to watch
Linebacker Tony Taylor has just eight tackles in the first three games. All of Georgia's linebackers came into the year wanting to make a better impact than they did a year ago, and Danny Verdun Wheeler and Jarvis Jackson have done that. Verdun Wheeler leads the team with 15 tackles, and Jackson has 12. Taylor needs to step up his play along with his two running mates, particularly now that Dannell Ellerbe is back from suspension. Ellerbe, an athletic marvel, is backing up Taylor and will take more of more of his snaps if Taylor's play slips.
Colorado is a big-name opponent but not a big-time opponent. Georgia is catching the Buffaloes at the perfect time, early in the first year under a new coach. This is a team that, despite all its problems under former coach Gary Barnett, played in the Big 12 title game each of the last two years. Now Colorado's players are staring 0-4 right in the face, and that's got to cause some doubt to creep into their minds. Playing a road game in a completely new environment against a defense playing as well as Georgia's is right now is not a good recipe for turning things around.