Last year Mississippi State surprised the "other" Bulldogs jumping out to an early lead and scoring 17 points in the 4th quarter to wrap it in maroon and white. It was the first win over Georgia since 1951.
Granted, UGA was not playing with a full deck of cards. They were missing probably their most important offensive weapon in A.J. Green, who was serving a multi-game suspension for NCAA violations. They also had a redshirt freshman running the offense.
This year, we will be traveling to Athens for a Saturday "between the hedges", facing off against a Georgia team that will once again be playing shorthanded after it was recently announced that running back Caleb King is academically ineligible for the upcoming season. With King unable to play in the backfield this year, it appears that Mark Richt's eat may be getting hotter than ever.
So what so we have to look forward to at the meeting of the Dawgs this year? Let's take a look at what they are bringing to each side of the scrimmage line.
Georgia has their first returning starter at QB since 2008. Aaron Murray has plenty of experience after last year, when he threw for more yards than David Greene or Matthew Stafford (3,049 yards). And most of that was without the help of A.J. Green for 4 games.
Speaking of receivers, the best player at that position appears to be tight end Orson Charles. They have assortment of weapons at the wide receiver position that hope to come out and shine without being in the shadow of Green, including Marlon Brown, Taverres King and Rantavious Wooten, in addition to a group of of true freshmen that are hoping to make an impact.
Georgia's running game has really been out of the limelight since Knowshon Moreno left for the NFL. It appears to be in even more trouble this year with the Bulldogs best backs from last season out of the picture. We all know about Caleb King's academic ineligibility. Washaun Ealey has transferred out of the program, leaving the mail carrying duties solely on the shoulders of Isaiah Crowell, a highly-touted running back that Georgia signed after a lengthy recruiting battle with Alabama.
For the Dawgs to run, they need an offensive line to keep the lanes open. That wasn't so easy last year as Georgia finished 10th in the SEC in rushing. Making matters worse, there is a new offensive line coach in place after Stacy Searles left to join Mac Brown's rebuilding effort at Texas. They return some experience like senior center Ben Jones and senior Cordy Glenn at left tackle. Sophomore Kenarious Gates will hold down the line as well. Other projected starters have experience, but were held back by injuries the last few seasons.
A very sore spot for many Georgia fans last year was the defense. Many felt that first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense was not being run efficiently enough and allowed too many points. This could be attributed to not having the right on-field tools he needed. This year, the Bulldogs are looking to beef up their defense and have plenty of tools to get the job done.
Look for a completely different defensive line. DeAngelo Tyson will be shifting over from nose guard to defensive end due to the development of Kwame Geathers and JUCO transfer Johnathan Jenkins, both coming in at over 350 pounds.
This year, Georgia looks to have the tools they need to properly install the 3-4 scheme.
With the way the SEC East looks this year, it will be Georgia and South Carolina fighting for control and both of them are on our schedule. This will be a completely different game for us this year. Their QB has experience now. Their defense is getting their act together. And we are playing in their house.