Arizona State Week: Game Preview

ATHENS - Dawg Post's look at Georgia's game with Arizona State.

Georgia (2-1) vs. Arizona State (2-0)
Where: Athens
When: 7: p.m., ESPNU
Last meeting: Georgia 27, Arizona State 10, Sept. 20, 2008.


Georgia: After a sluggish start to the season, the Bulldogs' offense has been on fire the past two weeks. Quarterback Joe Cox tied a school record with five touchdown passes against Arkansas last week, and wide receiver A.J. Green had his first 100-yard game of the year.

Arizona State: First-year starting quarterback Danny Sullivan is only completing 57 percent of his passes with one touchdown, despite two early games against lower-tier opponents. The Sun Devils' offensive line is working to overcome some key injuries as well.

EDGE: Georgia


Georgia: The Bulldogs' defense was lit up for two straight weeks in the passing game, with Arkansas' Ryan Mallett tossing five touchdown passes a week ago. Georgia has allowed 722 passing yards in the last two games, and opponents have scored at least 37 points in six of their last nine games against the Bulldogs.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils lead the nation in total defense through two games, allowing just 149.5 yards per contest. Defensive end Dexter Davis is one of the Pac-10's top sack artists, while Arizona State features a trio of big, athletic linebackers that could cause havoc for the Bulldogs.

EDGE: Arizona State

Special teams:

Georgia: Kicker Blair Walsh is six-for-six on field goals so far this season, but his problems with kickoffs resurfaced last week as he booted two out of bounds. Punter Drew Butler leads the nation in punting average, however, and Brandon Boykin has racked up 333 kick return yards in the past two games.

Arizona State: Led by return man Omar Bolden, the Sun Devils are averaging more than 50 yards per kick return this season, the top mark in the nation. ASU may have some problems on kickoffs and field goals, however, as All-American kicker Thomas Weber will miss the game with a groin injury.

EDGE: Georgia Coaching:

Georgia: Mark Richt appears to have righted the ship for Georgia after an opening week loss, but defensive coordinator Willie Martinez has come under renewed fire following back-to-back problematic performances by the defense. Still, Georgia has a 34-4 record in non-conference games under Richt – all to top-20 opponents.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils have never beaten an SEC opponent and head coach Dennis Erickson's crew was dominated at home against Georgia a year ago. Erickson is still trying to work several new starters into his lineup, and while he has had plenty of time to prepare for Georgia, two lower-level opponents and a bye week have hardly tested the Sun Devils so far this season.

EDGE: Georgia

Key matchups

Offense: A.J. Green vs. Arizona State secondary. Green's breakout game last season came against the Sun Devils when he torched their secondary to the tune of 150 yards in the first half alone. He's picked up this season right where he left off, shedding double teams for three touchdowns and 223 yards in the last two weeks.

Defense: Justin Houston vs. ASU left tackle Jon Hargis. Georgia's pass rush has struggled throughout the season so far, leaving a lot of pressure on the secondary, which was torched a week earlier. Arizona State's offensive line is a work in progress, leaving the door open for Houston and company to finally find some success in pressuring the QB.

Prediction: Georgia 37, Arizona State 17

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