Boulder, CO (Sports Network) Television: FSN. Home Record: Georgia 1-1, Colorado 1-0. Away Record: Georgia 0-2, Colorado 0-1. Neutral Record: Georgia 0-0, Colorado 1-0. Conference Record: Georgia 0-3, Colorado 0-0. Series Record: Georgia leads, 1-0.
Colorado has not won back-to-back games since opening the 2008 season with three straight wins. The Buffaloes had a bye last week after notching a 31-13 win over Hawaii on September 18th. They'll open their Big 12 schedule next week against Baylor.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs find themselves in a rare position as they've lost three straight for the first time since 1990. They are also 0-3 in the SEC for the first time since 1993. Last week, Georgia suffered a 24-12 loss at Mississippi State.
In the only prior meeting between these two schools, Georgia rallied for a 14-13 come-from-behind win in Athens during the 2006 season.
Georgia's offense was stifled by Mississippi State in its most recent outing, mustering only a pair of field goals until the final minutes. Those field goals were the end result of the Bulldogs' only two trips to the red zone, as they weren't able to put the ball in the end zone. Aaron Murray completed 18- of-31 passes for Georgia, finishing with 274 yards and a touchdown. The run game was virtually nonexistent, with Washaun Ealey registering a team-high 36 yards on 10 carries. Through three games, Ealey is averaging 66.0 yards per game on the ground and has found the end zone only once. Murray is completing 61 percent of his passes while throwing for 219.8 yards per game, with five touchdowns and two interceptions. His top target has been Kris Durham, who has caught 17 passes for 324 yards and a TD.
Defensively, Georgia's strength is stopping the run, which should present a stark contrast from the Hawaii run defense that Colorado faced in its last outing. The Bulldogs are allowing 108.8 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 30th in the nation. However, they had some trouble containing Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf, who has the ability to hurt defenses with his legs. In that game, Relf threw for 148 yards and two scores, and he also gashed the Georgia defense for 109 yards (5.4 ypc) on the ground. MSU tailback Vick Ballard added 64 yards and a TD on 13 carries (4.9 ypc). Look for Georgia to refocus on clamping down against the run. That starts with linebacker Akeem Dent and strong safety Bacarri Rambo, the team co-leaders with 30 tackles apiece.
Against Hawaii two weeks ago, the Buffaloes trailed 10-0 at halftime as their offense sputtered along. But in the second half, they relied heavily on the running game, and the momentum quickly tilted in their favor. Colorado went on to accumulate 252 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground to seal the victory. The Buffs converted 10-of-14 third downs and held an 11-minute edge in time of possession. Rodney Stewart (106 yds, 4.8 ypc, 2 TD) and Brian Lockridge (109 yds, 7.8 ypc) each went over the century mark rushing for Colorado. Granted, Hawaii's run defense is not indicative of what CU will face against an SEC squad like Georgia. Still, when the Buffaloes have the ball, expect Stewart to get a heavy workload.
Defensively, Colorado's strength has been stopping the run, as the team ranks seventh in the nation in run defense (71.7 ypg). Part of that has to do with the opponents' style of play -- Hawaii dialed up 42 pass plays and only 13 running plays a week ago. And against California in the second week of the season, the Golden Bears focused in on the passing attack with quarterback Kevin Riley tossing four touchdowns. The struggling Bulldogs haven't flashed much of a running game thus far, but look for them to test Colorado in that area. One of the keys for CU will be getting off the field on third-down situations. Opponents have converted only a combined 8-of-39 third and fourth downs against the Buffs, which leads the nation.
Colorado has had a couple of weeks to prepare for this showdown, and the home crowd figures to be buzzing. Georgia can offset the atmosphere with a quick score or two, and look for Murray and company to try and accomplish just that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 30, Colorado 14