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Dawg Preview: #13 Missouri Tigers vs. #1 Georgia Bulldogs

Missouri will travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on their home turf of Sanford Stadium, one of the toughest places to play in all of college sports. The Tigers face an uphill battle, but if any Missouri squad was going to beat them, this would be one of the most likely ones in years. Let's break it down.

Broadcast Info:

Date: Saturday, November 4th, 2023

Time: 3:30 pm EST

Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA


Calling: Aaron Taylor, Rich Waltz, Amanda Guerra

Radio: 750 AM/95.5 FM (Georgia), 100.5 FM KTGR/1580 AM (Missouri)

Betting Line

Georgia -15.5

Over/Under: 55

Tale of the Tape: Missouri Tigers

Missouri has had one of their best starts through 8 games since the Gary Pinkel era, just barely getting beat in their one loss to LSU. They have their offensive firepower to thank for that, headlined by arguably the best wide receiver room in the country in Luther Burden III and Theo Wease. Not only that, but they have a quarterback that can get these receivers the ball downfield in Brady Cook, who has proven himself and then some this year. Top that with an underrated run game led by Cody Schrader, and you have a force to be reckoned with. This will be their toughest test though, as they go up against one of the most stout defenses in NCAA Division 1 and arguably the best secondary in the SEC. Georgia ranks 8th in team defense, which could spell trouble for Missouri's offense if they don't come in fully prepared to face it. Luckily for them, they've had a bye week to prep and will be as ready as they'll ever be to take on their mightiest foe of the season to this point. Expect a high-powered, balanced attack that will give Georgia fits. If the Bulldogs let the Tigers get into the red zone is where they'll really have to be worried, as Missouri has scored on 97% of their red zone trips this year, while Georgia's red zone defense ranks a measly 98th. The Bulldogs have also just not faced an offense like Missouri's, keep that in mind, and may find themselves too ill-prepared. It's happened with Missouri teams before with Georgia, where the Bulldogs allowed the Tigers to punch them in the mouth and make it a game. This could be one of those times once again...harkening back to last year when Georgia just barely scraped out a win in Columbia 26-22.

Defensively, the Tigers do stack up well against Georgia, boasting a front seven that can stuff potent run games and guys that can make plays in the defensive backfield, much like Georgia's own D, but do they have enough coverage for Georgia's multitude of receiving weapons? Brock Bowers is out, yes, however, Ladd McConkey has stepped up to the plate and become Carson Beck's favorite weapon. Not only that, but former Tiger Dominic Lovett is a Georgia Bulldog now, which will be another matchup to watch. The Bulldogs are finding their stride in the passing game, but guys like Ennis Rakestraw, Jr. and Kris Abrams-Draine certainly have the ability can slow that down. This feels like a game that will boil down to which defense breaks down to the big play first, so the passing game versus the passing game will be the matchup to watch for here.

Tale of the Tape: Georgia Bulldogs

Coming off a national championship year, Georgia hasn't missed a beat. Is this team as deep and as lethal defensively as last year's? Not necessarily, doesn't mean they aren't a force to be reckoned with still. On the offense, you have a balanced attack that features up-and-coming first-year starter Carson Beck at quarterback. Versus Florida he threw for 315 yards and 11 yards per completion, not to mention 2 touchdowns. Their most potent weapon is tight end Brock Bowers, who is out for this matchup and will be sorely missed, but that doesn't mean (as shown by their performance against Florida) that this offense can't produce. Expect the Bulldogs to test this Missouri secondary heavily, as Missouri's front seven has shown to be physical and stout against the run. Georgia may want to keep the Missouri offense off the field though, so scoring quickly may work against them. It feels like they'll be working the underneath routes and working the flats mostly until something breaks open, much like how LSU played this Missouri defense.

Defensively, Georgia finds itself a worthy adversary in the Missouri offense. This will be their toughest test of the season in both covering the star-studded wide receiver room and making sure Cody Schrader is bottled up. Given that Georgia's secondary is one of the best in the country though, oozing with NFL talent, Missouri may want to look at the run game more, which the Dawgs also match up well against. This front seven has been surprisingly stout even with all the talent they lost from last year's team. Led by linebacker Smael Mondon, the Bulldog front seven has allowed 93 yards per game compared to Missouri's 149 yards rushing per game, a stat the Bulldogs are top 25 in and the Tigers are middle of the pack. Cody Schrader has been known though to break games wide open, so the Bulldogs must be wary.

Conclusion and Final Score Prediction:

The Tigers will make this game closer than many are anticipating. The 15.5-point spread is unrealistic, expect the Tigers to cover that and for this game to hit the over with relative ease. Yes, both defenses are stout and will bring everything to the table, but don't expect them to stop everything. Not with how balanced these two attacks are. This will be a great matchup between two high-caliber passing offenses, but Georgia having the home-field edge as well as the talent depth will put them over the hump. This being said though, while Georgia may be the pick to win, the Tigers could easily make this a game and could shock the Dawgs if they have overlooked the Tigers. Missouri did have their bye week to prepare, who knows what they could have come up with and if Georgia prepared for them properly or not. After all, this is something to note below...

Georgia can be put on watch for the upset, and will not be a team that loses on their home turf so easily, as Unnecessary Roughness's Brandon Walker said, "F*** you, they're Georgia."

Dawgs by 7.

Final Score Prediction: Georgia 42-Missouri 35


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