Friday, September 19, 2008

Manifest Destiny: The Georgia - Arizona State Preview

For years, the critics have knocked Georgia (and other SEC teams) for failing to leave the comfort zone that is the Southeastern United States. All that changes this Saturday, as the Bulldogs head to Arizona to conquer the Sun Devils. This is a first stop of many over the next few seasons that could see the Georgia Empire expand from its humble beginning in the mountains of Northeast Georgia. We hope to conquer the ruling empire of the west coast (USC) later this year, and in coming years conquer the mid west (Oklahoma State), the Rocky Mountains (Colorado), and the Pacific Northwest (Oregon).

I believe we have the right to spread our boundaries across the entire continental US and move right on to Hawaii - Oh, we already conquered Hawaii.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a look at the target at hand: Arizona State.

Who are these guys?

The Sun Devils entered 2008 as a sleeper pick for a BCS bowl and why not? In 2007, they won 10 games and technically a share of the Pac-10 title with USC (though to claim it would be like Georgia claiming we won the SEC East in 2007. Only schools like Auburn claim things they technically didn't win.)

13-0 does not equal Championship...when you're Auburn.

The Devils are led by senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter, known for passing prowess as well as his bad attitude. He passed for over 3,200 yards and 25 five touchdowns and has a solid core of receivers in Mike Jones, Chris McGaha, and Kyle Williams, who together combined for 17 touchdowns in '07. The Sun Devil rushing attack is led by Dimitri Nanace, however has only averaged (as a team) 117 yards per game against rather weak opponents early on in '08. The question on offense coming into '08 was the O-line, which allowed 55 sacks last year. They have only allowed 4 so far this year, but don't be surprised if you see more of the hits like the one where USC kills Rudy over and over

( - I'm having trouble embedding video right now.

On defense, ASU returns seven starters from the '07 squad that allowed an average of 22.5 points a game. Their defense looks like Superman coming into this game, allowing only 295 yards a game. However, this was against weak competition and we all saw how solid their defense was holding a lead against UNLV last week.

What is Georgia going to do?

If we learned anything last week at South Carolina, I hope it is that we need a healthy dose of Knowshon (and Caleb) to help set up the passing game for Stafford. If you shut down the running game, it forces us to have to throw shorter passes to make up for lost downs. On the offensive side of the ball, I'd like to see Knowshon get 25 carries and Caleb about 12. This should allow Stafford to torch the ASU secondary with a mix of passes over the middle and deep balls. We definitely need a better performance by our receiving crew and don't be surprised if AJ Green catches 6 or more passes this week.

On defense, the weaknesses shown during the 4th quarter last week do scare me. Carpenter is the heart of ASU and if he is having a good day their offense will move the ball down the field. We need to ditch the constant zone and bring blitz. This line is not that good (as evident by their performance last year) and we should be able to get to Carpenter at least 4 times.

Coach Martinez: Please let the Liberian nightmare run wild!

What will happen?

This game could be a back and forth offensive battle. Look for both teams to score quick and early on as the defenses settle in. I look for this to turn into a game similar to the '07 Oklahoma State game, where Georgia's offense pours it on in the second half while clamping down on D. Knowshon should have a huge day (150 yards or more).

Georgia 38, Arizona State 23

1 comment:

Ally said...

I haven't heard anyone mention the Ok State game as a comparison. That's a great measuring stick. And you're right, our DE's really have to show up in Tempe. I'd love to have a good reason for our red & black contingency to start chanting RUUUUDY in the 4th quarter - like what Texas did him in their Bowl game.

Great preview. Go Dawgs!