Missouri Tigers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday September 8th, 2012. 7:45PM Eastern
Where: Faurot Field Columbia, M.O
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Missouri Tigers +3.5/Georgia Bulldogs -3.5
Over/Under Total: 55
The Missouri Tigers will begin life in the SEC in a big way this Saturday night when they welcome the no. 6 Georgia Bulldogs into Columbia, Missouri. The Tigers thrashed Southeastern Louisiana 62-10 last week in a confidence boosting style season opener. Now Missouri will entertain a nationally televised audience in their SEC debut with a chance to knock off one of the top teams in the nation.
The no. 6 Bulldogs captured a rather ugly 45-23 victory over Buffalo last week. Georgia’s offense appeared solid, but the Bulldogs’ defense was gashed for 199 yards on the ground. The completely less talented Buffalo squad managed to put together 347 total yards along with 23 points against that talented Georgia defense. Georgia’s defense had several missed tackles and assignments throughout the game which resulted in a sloppy performance. This week the Bulldogs defense will need to be much sharper when they travel to Columbia and battle a Missouri offense that can make big plays.
Offensively, Georgia will be a force to be reckoned with in 2012. QB Aaron Murray is an excellent signal caller who can make all the throws on the field. Additionally, Murray has a big time target in WR Tavarres King that is able to make big catches which is always a benefit to any good quarterback. Last week Murray completed 15 of 26 passing for 258 yards and 3 touchdowns. King brought in 6 catches for 117 yards and clearly separated his self as the go to guy in the receiving game. Still the passing attack was not the only production for the Bulldogs this past week. Freshman tailback Todd Gurley stepped up and rushed for 100 yards on 8 carries including two scores. Gurley was a highly touted recruit out of high school and the Bulldogs need big things out of him in the running game due to the losses at running back over the offseason. If Gurley can remain effective, the Bulldogs have the remaining ingredients to be an offensive power.
On the other side of the field, Missouri does not exactly lack any playmaking talent. QB James Franklin is a dual threat style quarterback that can make plays with his arm and feet. Franklin rushed for 981 yards in 2011 while throwing for just less than 3,000 yards. This season the Tigers hope Franklin is able to throw the ball a bit more rather than take off with his feet. In 2011, Franklin struggled at times with accuracy and that will be a concern going forward. Last week, Franklin was solid completing 13 of 21 passing for 131 yards but it’s hard to give much praise against the likes of Southeastern Louisiana. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how Franklin performs in his first big test this Saturday night.
Outside of Franklin, the Tigers have more talent at the skill positions as well. Senior running back Kendial Lawrence has a lot of potential in his first season as the primary tailback. Lawrence rushed for 121 yards on just 10 carries last week and will get plenty of opportunities this Saturday against the Bulldogs rush defense. Luckily last week the Tigers’ got help from some of the ‘unknown’ characters. Backup running back Marcus Murphy returned not one but two 70 yard punts for touchdowns to tie a Missouri school record. Not only was the special teams’ play great but the Missouri defense also produced a pair of defensive touchdowns to spur their cause. Surely things will be more difficult this week against the mighty Bulldogs, but Missouri could use a few more of those big plays to help pull off a mild upset.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:I have said all summer that I expect Missouri to upset Georgia in the 2nd week of college football and I am standing by that statement still. Georgia is over rated. The question is how much over rated are they? The Bulldogs have tons of concerns all over the field and I just do not see this team playing extremely well until the 2nd half of the season. Additionally, Columbia, Missouri will be amped for their first taste of big time SEC football and that gives the home team a bigger edge that most realize. Road wins are tough in the SEC as we know and I think Missouri’s offense will be up for the challenge. Take the Tigers +3.5
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