While they were busy escaping with a 34-31 overtime win on the road Saturday, the Georgia Bulldogs suffered a number of injuries that will challenge them for the remainder of the season.
In the midst of beating the Tennessee Volunteers, both running back Keith Marshall and wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley were lost for the season with knee injuries. Wide receiver Michael Bennett also injured his knee, but he is not expected to be out for the season.
The good news for Georgia is that the toughest part of their schedule is behind them. The Bulldogs have already faced the Clemson Tigers, the South Carolina Gamecocks and the LSU Tigers. Only two seemingly difficult games remain on the schedule, although the task of winning just became more difficult with these injuries.
This week, Georgia hosts the unbeaten and 25th-ranked Missouri Tigers in Athens. The real test for Georgia will be slowing down the offense, led by resurgent quarterback James Franklin. This game could very well turn out to be a duel between Franklin and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who is becoming Mr. Clutch. Murray has rallied the Bulldogs to victory in each of the last two weeks.
A big key for Georgia will be the health of running back Todd Gurley, who missed Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle. If Gurley returns this week, that would be a big boost for Mark Richt and his team. If not, running back J.J. Green, who rushed for 129 yards on Saturday, would likely get the call.
More pressing might be finding receivers to catch passes from Murray. The depth chart released by Georgia on Monday has Rhett McGowan and Chris Conley as the starting receivers for Saturday’s game. Conley has caught 20 passes on the season to lead the team, but McGowan has only six receptions so far this season. One of those players, along with tight end Arthur Lynch, needs to step up and become the man catching the ball.
Big things may lie ahead for Georgia, but right now, the biggest thing is getting healthy.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.