COLUMBIA, Mo.—Greetings from Missouri’s Faurot Field, a place that a year ago Georgia probably wouldn’t have guessed it would be at for its Southeastern Conference opener.
Bulldogs fans have shown up for this trip. That was evident on the flight Friday morning to St. Louis, where Bulldog gear in red and black was everywhere. It was evident down by that city’s waterfront.
Georgia sold its allotment of 6,000 tickets, but there probably are many more that got theirs elsewhere.
It’s only the second Saturday in September but here in the Midwest, it feels closer to football weather. Temperatures in the lower 70s and the forecast calls for it to be into the lower 60s by the end of the game tonight. The wind was whipping pretty good on my walk to the stadium
Gameday traffic? The good news is it was mild but that was more than four hours before kickoff. Nothing compared to the other Columbia.
You might have heard. Missouri is playing its first SEC game today.
“They’re going to be very pumped up,” Georgia receiver Chris Conley said. “They’re well-coached and they have talent so we’re going to go and find the best matchups.”
There was an SEC billboard on the way in welcoming Missouri to the SEC. And signs at the exit to the stadium: “Tiger Town USA Welcomes the SEC.”
“What I tell my football team is `We’re new. We have to go earn respect,’” Missouri coach Gary Pinkle said. “I have no problem doing that. That’s the way I was brought up, that’s the way it should be. You have to earn respect. Our players recognize that. We have great respect for the league and great respect for Georgia. It’s time to go play and see how the whole thing plays out.”
Pinkel seemed to get more than his fill of all the build-up to the milestone game. There are other reasons why the matchup is important.
“It’s an East game and it goes along with that,” Pinkel said. “Winning or losing that game and what that does. All of these have been pointed out to us. Bottom line is you’ve still got to go out and play well and function as a football team. It’s the second game of the year but certainly there’s a huge impact of this football team.”
–This is the first SEC game and first road game for Georgia freshman kicker Marshall Morgan, who made one of two field goal attempts last week.
“It’s pressure at UGA too,” Morgan said. “I know the fans are going to be against us this time and I know it’s going to be loud and rowdy. As a kicker, I just need to stay mentally secure and just do my thing.”
–Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray on going up against Missouri secondary: “The thing is they come from the Big 12. They pass the ball a lot so I’m sure they’ve seen plenty of offenses that like to throw it, throw it, throw it. They’re used to covering all game long.”
Missouri ranked fifth in the 10-team Big 12 last season in pass defense, allowing 252.6 yards per game.
–Offensive tackle John Theu, who was dealing with a sprained ankle this week, just walked onto the field as players are trickling in for warm-ups. Would think he will be good to go to p.lay today
–OK, to the suspensions.
As was expected all along, safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Alec Ogletree, cornerback Sanders Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser are still suspended and aren’t here. That is now official with the dress out list released.
“The reality is our first couple of games we’re not going to have everybody out there that would have normally been a starter,” coach Mark Richt said in a radio interview back in the preseason.
Fullback Zander Ogletree also is not here, but Georgia has not confirmed yet that he is suspended. He did not play in the opener. Georgia brought four fullbacks, including walk-on Corey Campbell.
–Among freshmen that didn’t make the trip and could be headed to redshirt seasons: receiver Blake Tibbs, defensive tackle John Taylor, quarterback Faton Bauta and offensive lineman Greg Pyke. Defensive lineman Sterling Bailey and outside linebacker Dexter Morant also didn’t make the trip.ack/re
–Cornerback/receiver Malcolm Mitchell seems to have continued to progress from a sprained ankle. Nothing noticeable from the injury during light warmups after the team arrived.
–Big day for the Richts in Missouri. Not only is Mark Richt coaching Georgia, but his son Jon will be playing tonight as well at Southeast Missouri State. Jon Richt is a senior quarterback for Mars Hill (N.C.) College. Katharyn Richt is here doing the water girl thing on the sidelines.
–Georgia freshman cornerback Sheldon Dawson made mention of defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson’s comment during pregame warmup. No, not the old man football comment, but the reference to Big Ten football. Dawson told his teammates: “This ain’t no Big Ten football!”
Aaron Murray had this to say about old man football this week: “As long as we get the W at the end of the day, we can play powderpuff football.”
–Receiver Rhett McGowan wearing No. 27 tonight instead of No. 25. That could mean Josh Harvey Clemons, who also wears No. 25, may line up as a red zone receiver.
–Please follow me in-game at Twitter.com/marcweiszer