Alabama Week: Kendall's look at the game

TUSCALOOSA - Josh Kendall breaks down Georgia's game against Alabama.

Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC) vs. Alabama (3-0, 2-0)

Kickoff: 7:45 p.m. (TV: ESPN, Radio: 940-AM)

Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,138)

Kickoff weather: High of 90, low of 68; 30 percent chance of rain; isolated thunderstorms

Series: Alabama leads 35-24-4

Last meeting: Georgia won 37-23 in Athens in 2003

Odds: Alabama favored by 3.5 points

Injuries: Georgia: Out: WR A.J. Bryant (knee); Probable: RB Kregg Lumpkin (thumb), RB Jason Johnson (hand); Probable: DT Corvey Irvin (ankle), CB Bryan Evans (knee).

Alabama: Out: DT Brian Motley (ankle), RB Demetrius Goode (knee), OL Cody Davis (shoulder), DB Chris Lett (medical condition); Questionable: LB Darren Mustin (neck, shoulder), TE Preston Dial (shoulder), PK Jamie Christensen (quad); Probable: WR DJ Hall (quad), LB Keith Saunders (neck, shoulder), PK Leigh Tiffin (shoulder).

Rushing

The biggest question for Georgia is how well will redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno play inhis first road game and how many carries will be get in relation to senior starter Thomas Brown. Moreno is averaging 15.7 carries per game to Brown's 11.3, but that disparity may be even wider today if Moreno is piling up yards. The Bulldogs are 68th in the country in rushing offense (136.7 yards per game) and gained 128 yards on 31 carries against their only worthy competition, South Caorlina. Arkansas rushed for 312 yards against Alabama last week, but that's the home of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. The Crimson Tide is led by a redshirt freshman back as well. Terry Grant played one game last year and then took a medical redshirt due to a shoulder injury. Now he's second in the SEC and eighth in the nation with 134.3 yards per game. Alabama will run mostly to its left side behind sophomore Andre Smith, a freshman All-American last year, and senior Justin Britt.

Edge: Alabama

Passing

Georgia's passing game in the second quarter against Western Carolina was as good as anybody's in the nation, but this isn't Western Carolina. Matthew Stafford won't have as much time to throw, and the wide receivers will be under more pressure to catch the football. Ten wide receivers have caught passes this year, and Coach Mark Richt would like to find a solid rotation of six or seven, he said. Expect Demiko Goodman to get more plays this week after an eye-opening performance against Western Carolina. The Alabama passing game is underrated. Quarterback John Parker Wilson is a solid junior who should benefit from last week's game-winning touchdown toss. Senior wide receiver D.J. Hall probably may be the most overlooked player in the league. He's averaging 22.4 yards per catch this year and last year broke Ozzie Newsome's school record for career receiving yards.

Edge: Alabama

Defense

Georgia still is juggling its linebackers and is expected to start its third different combination in a row this week. The coaches talk about creating versatility, but they clearly aren't getting what they want out of that group. Still, the Bulldogs are 15th in the country in total defense (260.3 yards per game allowed) thanks to solid play in the secondary and a defensive line that has been borderline dominant at times. This will be the best offensive line Georgia has seen yet, so the defensive line should be put to the test. Any team going up against a Nick Saban-coached foe knows it has to be ready for some wrinkles on defense. Alabama's base defense is a 3-4, but linebacker Keith Saunders, who plays what Alabama calls its Jack position, can line up as a defensive end at any time for a more traditional 4-3 look. The Tide's linebackers average more than 6-foot-3, which will make it tougher for Stafford to find holes in the middle of the field.

Edge: Even

Special Teams

Georgia still is feast-or-famine mode with its kicking teams. The return teams are in good shape. Punt returner Mikey Henderson is second in the SEC and 13th in the country with a 15.3-yard average, and he's a threat to score any time he gets the ball. Brown has excelled as a kickoff returner. He's third in the SEC and 25th in the nation in that category (27.4-yard average). However, Georgia's kick coverage team still is way below average, allowing more than 20 yards per return. The punt team also has looked out of sorts at times. There won't be any significant personnel on special teams, Richt said. Alabama has a dangerous return game of its own, that's thanks mainly to one person. Sophomore Javier Arenas leads the SEC in punt returns (15.5 yards) and is second in kickoff returns (28 yards). "Just about every game he has made a big play on specials teams that has contributed to the success of the team," Saban said.

Edge: Alabama


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