Arizona State Week: Hale's Look at the Game

TEMPE - David Hale's Look at Georgia's game with Arizona State.

PASSING: In three games, Matthew Stafford has yet to throw an interception – a big step forward for the quarterback who had been criticized at times for making poor decisions. Against South Carolina a week ago, Stafford failed to find the end zone, but he wasn't helped by numerous drops by his receivers in key situations. Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter is among the most prolific passers in the nation, ranking fourth among active quarterbacks in passing yards. EDGE: Georgia.

RUSHING: Arizona State's Keegan Herring has averaged 5.5 yards per carry for his career, but has missed two of the Sun Devils' first three games and likely won't play today. Junior Dimitri Nance will be tasked with finding yards against Georgia's tough run defense. Meanwhile, Knowshon Moreno scored the Bulldogs' lone touchdown last week and has found the end zone seven times already this season. EDGE: Georgia.

DEFENSE: The Bulldogs rank 86th in the nation against the pass, but large chunks of yardage have come as the opposition has struggled to get back into games late when Georgia had a lead. Against the run, the Bulldogs have been a brick wall, allowing just 59 yards per game on the ground. Arizona State's defense has given up more than double that amount to rushers, but the Sun Devils feature two standout pass rushers in Dexter Davis and Luis Vasquez. EDGE: Georgia.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Georgia punter Brian Mimbs isn't a big name, but he has been a star for the Bulldogs during the early season. His 77-yard bomb was one of several crucial punts against South Carolina last week that helped Georgia win key late-game field-position battles. Arizona State has a preseason All-American in kicker Thomas Weber, who also handles punt duty. EDGE: Arizona State.

ONE TO WATCH: Dexter Davis. The Arizona State defensive end could have a field day against Georgia's offensive line. The preseason All-Conference pass rusher leads the Pac-10 with four sacks already this season, and he'll have a chance to add to that total against a revamped Bulldogs' line that struggled mightily a week ago. How well Georgia's big boys up front can slow down Davis could be the key to the Bulldogs' offense.

HALE'S TAKE:

On paper, Georgia looks like the better team, and Arizona State didn't wow any critics with a loss to UNLV a week ago. But Georgia's two biggest weaknesses at the moment – a struggling offensive line and an ineffective pass rush – play right into the Sun Devils' hands. Carpenter is a veteran quarterback who gets rid of the ball quickly and can pick apart a secondary with time. Arizona State also has two strong pass rushers who could have a field day chasing down Stafford in the pocket. If the adjustments the Bulldogs made on both sides of the line during practice this week don't work wonders, this will likely be another close game will have Georgia fans sweating from more than just the Arizona temperatures.


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