Playing an unfamiliar opponent away from Athens has taken Georgia out of its comfort zone some in recent seasons.
Oklahoma State in Stillwater in 2009.
Colorado in Boulder and Central Florida in Memphis in 2010.
Boise State in the Georgia Dome in 2011.
All losses. Along comes a trip to Missouri this week, an opponent that Georgia has faced only once before, in the 1960 Orange Bowl when Fran Tarkenton was the Bulldogs‚Äô quarterback.
Senior linebacker Christian Robinson is hoping the Bulldogs can change their fortunes at Faurot Field, where a revved-up crowd will be waiting.
‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs guys getting the jitters out and being ready to make the plays when they come,‚Äù Robinson said. ‚ÄúYou can go back and pinpoint plays against a Boise or Oklahoma State that we didn‚Äôt make and if we can, after getting the jitters out this week, correct plays and make them against Missouri, that‚Äôs how you win those big games.‚Äù
Georgia is 6-9 in games away from Athens the past two seasons and 10-12 the last three seasons but is embracing its first foray to Columbia, Mo.
‚ÄúTaking a road trip to a new place is always something to look forward to,‚Äù Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday.
‚ÄúI think Coach Richt will really touch on things about us on the road,‚Äù defensive end Abry Jones said. ‚ÄúBefore I got here freshmen year, Georgia was a really good road team. We fell off a little bit. We‚Äôre going to look at our past road games and try to build off of them.‚Äù
Cornerback Branden Smith, who started in the 29-27 loss against Colorado, is trying not to think back about stumbles in new environments.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs in the past right now,‚Äù Smith said. ‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt know what‚Äôs going to happen until Saturday. We‚Äôre going to play our hearts out, we‚Äôre going to give it our all and we‚Äôre going to make plays on the ball.‚Äù
Missouri will be trying to not only win but make a big early impression in its debut Southeastern Conference game.
Seventh-ranked Georgia is a 2-point favorite. It doesn‚Äôt want to fall into an early hole in the SEC East race.
‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt want to start off behind,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúYou never want to start out behind the eight ball and getting into a chase mode right off the bat.‚Äù
Tigers fans will have all day to gear up for the showdown for the 7:45 p.m. game. Missouri sold out its football season tickets ‚Äî about 46,500 ‚Äî for the first time.
‚ÄúEven last week when we were playing Southeastern Louisiana, a lot of the fans and a lot of the students were talking about Georgia,‚Äù Missouri quarterback James Franklin said Monday. ‚ÄúI can‚Äôt even imagine what this week is going to be. It‚Äôs going to be crazy this week.‚Äù
Georgia players have watched film on Missouri since the beginning of the summer, receiver Michael Bennett said.
‚ÄúI think to play Missouri at Missouri opening game in league play is not the best draw, but it is what it is and we‚Äôve got to play it,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to get after it and I know they will too.‚Äù
Said Bennett: ‚ÄúThis game has been in the back of our minds and it‚Äôs finally here and we‚Äôre ready to perform.‚Äù
Against an opponent that they know from film they‚Äôve watched, but don‚Äôt know much else about.
Most say they don‚Äôt remember watching Missouri games on television growing up.
‚ÄúI can‚Äôt recall much about Missouri,‚Äù running back Richard Samuel said.
Receiver Tavarres King knows all about Missouri All-American receiver Jeremy Maclin, now with the Philadelphia Eagles. Quarterback Aaron Murray was a ballboy at Elite 11 quarterback camps when Missouri quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Chase Daniel attended.
‚ÄúI love traveling to new places, playing in new stadiums,‚Äù Murray said. ‚ÄúI know the environment is going to be great, which is always exciting. We‚Äôve just got to make sure we‚Äôre ready to go.‚Äù