The Week 1 warm-up games are done. Here comes the Week 2 titanic tilt: Georgia-Missouri.
OK, that may be overstating it a bit, but this is the game that sixth-ranked Georgia has been pointing to all offseason, even spending time during preseason practices gearing up for the Tigers as well as Buffalo.
Georgia coach Mark Richt wasn’t turning down the temperature Sunday evening.
“It’s a monster game,” Richt said.
Georgia slipped past the Bulls of the Mid-American Conference 45-23 Saturday. Missouri beat down FCS school Southeastern Louisiana 62-10.
The first SEC game ever for Missouri gets a showcase primetime spot Saturday at 7:45 p.m on ESPN2.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. “There’s a lot of energy built up into this game and there has been for quite some time. … I know their fans can’t wait for us to get there.”
Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson provided the first bulletin board material of the week in a postgame interview Saturday with the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune.
Asked if he watched the Georgia game earlier in the day, Richardson said he did but turned it off.
“It’s like watching Big Ten football,” he said. “It’s old man football.”
While Missouri plays with four- and five-receiver formations out of its spread offense, Georgia runs a pro-style offense that used plenty of I-formation with a tight end on its opening scoring drive against Buffalo.
“Did he say old man or old school or what did he say?” Richt asked on his Sunday teleconference when told of Richardson’s comment.
Richt laughed when told.
“Did he? Old man football? Well, I don’t know what he meant by that, but bottom line is we’ve got to get after it and do what we do well,” Richt said. “They’ll be trying to stop everything we’re trying to get accomplished.”
Richardson also was asked if Missouri’s move to the SEC was getting overhyped.
“Way overhyped,” he said. “They make it seem like we came from the WAC or something or never played against Oklahoma or Texas Tech and everyone else who plays for national championships. It’s about time we show them who we are.”
Missouri ranked 12th in the nation in total offense last season, but got two defensive touchdowns and two from special teams in its romp Saturday.
Quarterback James Franklin rushed for 75.5 yards per game last season and led the team with 15 touchdowns while passing for 2,885 yards.
Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown Saturday.
“We have a totally different game plan for Missouri and we really didn’t go into this game thinking he would run as much as he did,” Bulldogs cornerback Damian Swann said.
Swann saw extensive playing time in a secondary missing starters Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo and Malcolm Mitchell.
Mitchell is questionable with a sprained ankle, Commings will miss the game due to suspension and Richt isn’t saying if Rambo will, too.
“I’m really concerned about the matchups in this game,” Richt said on his weekly television show.
A St. Louis reporter asked about Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogeltree’s availability after both were suspended for the opener.
“We’ll find out when the time comes,” Richt said.
Missouri, coming off an 8-5 season, was picked fourth in the East in the SEC media poll.
“It’s a big game, it’s a huge game,” Richt said. “It’s a huge game for them, no doubt. It’s a huge game for us, too, though, because we’ve got our goals and they’ve got their goals and, shoot, to me it’s the biggest game of the year, no doubt. We’ll see. I know they’ll be ready.
Notes: Richt had no injury updates to offensive tackle John Theus (ankle), tailback Ken Malcome (wrist), Mitchell (ankle) and receiver Marlon Brown (strained hamstring). “I’ve not heard a thing other than what I heard yesterday, which was hopefully it wasn’t too bad of an ankle sprain to Theus,” he said. …From the film Richt saw of Missouri’s win Saturday, he said the Tigers had more energy than Georgia. “It looked like Missouri’s boys played harder than our boys played,” Richt said. “I’m not saying our guys didn’t play hard, but we probably played as hard as we could considering the elements.”