After being ranked as a pre-season top ten team, most fans thought Georgia would come into their opening game and roll over Buffalo. With five expected contributors out for the defense, including two All-American candidates, Georgia struggled a bit in the first half.
True freshman RB Todd Gurley provided some fantastic highlights early by scoring touchdowns the second and third times he touched the football. Gurley had a ten yard TD run and then took a kickoff return 100 yards. Later in the game, Gurley had another run of 55 yards for a TD where he got bottled up in the middle and bounced it outside in a great combination of power, speed and athleticism. Aaron Murray struggled a bit early missing a few deep passes that were open for the taking. Georgia went into half-time with 24 points but the main issues were on defense.
With Alec Ogletree, Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings, Malcolm Mitchell and Chase Vasser out, their replacements struggled to find their feet in the first half. Buffalo QB Alex Zordich made some nice plays with his feet, RB Branden Oliver pounded the rock for short yardage gains and WR Alex Neutz showed off some good hands. Georgia took a 24-16 lead into half-time but the momentum was on the side of the Bulls.
In the second half, the defense woke up. In Buffalo’s first five drives of the second half they had four three-and-outs and one drive where they had six plays for 19 yards and a punt. Buffalo had five straight punts as the Georgia defense clamped down. Buffalo did break through late in the second half with a TD drive to pull to within the twenty-two point margin of victory for Georgia.
With a trip to Missouri on tap next week, there are some signs of concern for the Bulldogs. Next week the Dawgs will get CB Sanders Commings back but the status of Malcolm Mitchell (ankle), Alec Ogletree (suspension) and Bacarri Rambo (suspension) are unknown. The defense has to play a better more consistent game next week. Maybe it’s good that Georgia got this one out of it’s system early and now the coaches can dissect the film and make the necessary changes as they prepare for a Missouri team that will have more weapons on offense.
The big bright spot for Georgia was Todd Gurley (8 carries for 100 yds, 2 rushing TDs, 1 100-yd KO return for TD). There were other positives are the receivers had a good game; Tavarres King (6 rec 117 yds 1 TD), Michael Bennett (5 rec, 76 yds, 1 TD) and Rantavious Wooten all caught TD passes. Aaron Murray wasn’t lazer sharp but he did play turnover free football and threw three TD passes to three different receivers. The “other” freshman RB, Keith Marshall, also ran the football well as he had 10 carries for 46 yards. Missouri should be a big step up in competition and a lot more will be on the line next week when Georgia arrives in Columbia.