Date: Saturday, Sept. 14
Kickoff Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA
Watch it here: ESPN2
Line: Georgia -33, O/U: 58
Series: Georgia 2-0 (last meeting: 1997)
Wendy on Georgia’s mind
Lots of on-field X’s and O’s to obsess over if the Red Wolves want a chance at knocking off No. 3 Georgia this weekend.
It’s an all-phase, all-hands-on-deck situation to compete with one of the premier programs in all of football.
However, the classy move Georgia is setting up for this contest deserves a tremendous amount of praise. There will be an official “pink out” staged by the home squad to honor Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson’s wife who passed away in August.
The movement gained traction when a local Athens group took the initiative to ask people to wear pink through a #WearPinkForWendy campaign.
Tip of the hat to you, Georgia. Well done and much respect.
On the field, Arkansas State has its collective hands full this weekend.
The Bulldogs are simply loaded on both sides of the ball. Kirby Smart has his defense humming along already. They disguise blitzes and make adjustments at the line just about as well as anyone in all of FBS.
stAte must find short, hard yards on first down or it will be a very long day.
Offensively, Georgia has throttled its first two opponents, Vanderbilt and Murray State, 93-23 in the early season.
They once again have an outstanding cast of wideouts to get separation and allow starter Jake Fromm to find them in space.
Places to take advantage
Fromm has really seen none of it through two games this season. It will be on Arkansas State’s defensive line to find a way through the stout Georgia offensive front to apply said pressure.
That means lots of William Bradley-King, Forrest Merrill and Kevin Thurmon getting their names mentioned often on the national broadcast.
As for the entire defense, especially the secondary, need to remain disciplined and keep running back D’Andre Swift in front of them at all times and make the sure tackle.
“Fancy” gets you blown out against a quality opponent such as this.
Offensively, the answer remains: pressure.
stAte will need to balance between the run and pass and melt the clock on long, sustained drives. That means third down conversions are a must.
Whomever gets the lion’s share of the handoffs, whether Marcel Murray or Ryan Graham, must take every yard given to them.
And if third down conversions are a must that means an elite effort by the offensive line when quarterback Logan Bonner is in the pocket are on rollouts. The backs and tight ends need to chip and buy as much time for Bonner on long down and distances, because Georgia can get after you.
Every half second is going to count.
I would love to possess the guts to take the Red Wolves in what would be a colossal upset.
With Georgia set to host Notre Dame next weekend in a primetime matchup of what could easily be two top-10 teams, there is a slight chance the Bulldogs don’t have their foot all the way down on the gas this week.
And let’s give Arkansas State some due credit. They functioned well in all three phases of a blowout win last week on the road against UNLV.
Kirk Merritt returning to the lineup sure gives them a great extra dimension in the passing game.
So, stAte has a shot, right?
Not this week, folks.
The Bulldogs jump out early. The Red Wolves will find mild success moving the ball between the 20s, but too many weapons are waiting between the hedges.
But given the Georgia gesture, this is one opponent easy to root for.