This is a Georgia team that came in ranked sixth in the nation, and had one of the best recruiting classes in all of college football. This was a Georgia team that many have picked to win the SEC East this year. This was an over-matched Buffalo team that was supposed to be a tune-up for Georgia.
Someone forgot to tell Buffalo.
The numbers of the 45-23 final score in favor of the Bulldogs don’t tell the whole story. If I’m Buffalo, I feel pretty good going into MAC play. I’m I’m Georgia, I have some concerns, nay, worries about the next few weeks.
The highly touted Georgia defense not only gave up 23 points, but also 199 rushing yards, and 347 total yards of offense to Buffalo. Time of possession also wound up in favor of the visiting Bulls.
You can try to brush aside the sub-par performance with the excuse that Georgia was without some key defensive starters — Alec Ogletree, Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo and Malcom Mitchell — due to suspensions and injury, but that shouldn’t have stopped what was supposed to be a top-10 defense from being able to dominate (with all due respect to the Bulls) a much less talented Buffalo offense.
The truth is, Missouri can look at some tapes of this game and say, “You know what, maybe we can beat these guys”
The Bulls exploited weaknesses in the Georgia secondary, hitting on several plays of over 20 yards, and Buffalo quarterback Alex Zordich ran for 83 yards because the Georgia defensive line seemed to have lost the playbook page on defending quarterback draws. Buffalo running back Branden Oliver added 111 yards of his own, including a run of 36 yards, and one touchdown.
The difference in the game, in all truth, was special teams. If not for a 100-yard kickoff return by true freshman running back Todd Gurley, and a blocked Buffalo punt by Chris Conley, we are looking at a completely different game.
The biggest bright spot of the game for Georgia was the aforementioned Gurley. In addition to his huge kickoff return, Gurley rushed for 100 yards on only eight carries, and scored two rushing touchdowns.
In the words of the immortal Larry Munson, “My God…a freshman!”
Georgia receiver Tavarres King picked up where he left off in 2011, hauling in six catches for 117 yards, and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs may have won their tenth consecutive opening day game at Sanford Stadium under Mark Richt, but it’s a victory that the Georgia coaches had best take issue with, and keep the celebrations to a minimum.
This was supposed to be a tune-up before heading in to Columbia, Mo. to face a much better opponent in their SEC debut. Georgia turned it into a much tougher game than they needed, or wanted to.