Kickoff: 1 p.m. (TV: Pay-per-view from CSS, Radio: 940-AM)
Stadium: Sanford Stadium (92,746)
Kickoff weather: High of 87, low of 60; 20 percent chance of rain; partly cloudy
Series: Georgia leads 1-0
Last meeting: Georgia won 48-0 in Athens in 1991
Odds: No line
Injuries: Georgia: Out: RB Kregg Lumpkin (thumb), WR A.J. Bryant (knee); RB Jason Johnson (hand); Probable: S Kelin Johnson (ribs), CB Bryan Evans (knee). Western Carolina: Out: OL Wes Lancaster (hamstring), OL Josh Deaver (knee), Doubtful: S Ryan Nesby (hip), LB Marcus Nelums (back); Questionable: DL John Martin (back), WR Michael Hines (knee), DE Levander Thomas (knee).
Georgia will hope to get through this game without using true freshman Caleb King. It has just two tailbacks healthy (Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno) but that should be enough to get by. Redshirt freshman fullback Shaun Chapas has worked at tailback this week and could be used in emergency or mop-up situations. However, King will be ready if needed. The Catamounts are led by Mike Malone, a native of Gainesville who was a second-team preseason All-Southern Conference selection. Malone, a senior, was the Southern Conference's male track athlete of the year in 2005, so Georgia will want to keep him hemmed up today. Alabama didn't have much trouble doing that, holding Malone to 38 yards on the ground.
Georgia's passing game needs a confidence boost, and this game should provide it. Tony Wilson and Michael Moore have something to prove after dropping key passes against South Carolina. Expect more playing time for Mohamed Massaquoi, who has only three catches this year but made a spectacular catch to convert a third down against the Gamecocks. Western Carolina uses a two-quarterback system. Junior Todd Spitzer has started both of the previous games, but Georgia coaches wouldn't be surprised to see sophomore Adam Hearns open the game today. Hearns has a much higher efficiency rating but has thrown fewer passes. Junior Eddie Cohen leads the Catamounts in receiving.
Georgia's defense wasn't overly disappointed with its performance against South Carolina, but the Bulldogs will make better tackling a priority today. Georgia is fourth in the SEC in total defense (290 yards per game) and tied for fourth in scoring defense (15 ppg). The Bulldogsdefensive line will be expected to dominate today. The Catamounts are vulnerable everywhere on defense but particularly on the ground. Western's two opponents, Alabama and Eastern Kentucky, have averaged 6.6 yards per carry and 320 yards per game rushing. They also have completed 65 percent of their passes.
Thomas Brown has been on the verge the first two weeks of taking a kickoff back all the way and this may be the week he does it. Western Carolina has given up more than 30 yards per kick returns. Punt returner Mikey Henderson has moved into the nation's top 10 in average (20 yards per return). Both of Western Carolina's return men are Georgia natives. Malone returns kickoffs and has averaged 22.1 yards per return this season. Punt returner Carlton Bailey is from Jonesboro. Bailey, who like Malone was a preseason All-Southern Conference second-team, averages 8.5 yards per return but has only had two chances this season.