MISSOURI TIGERS (5-0)
at GEORGIA BULLDOGS (4-1)
Kickoff: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
Line: Georgia -8, Total: 63.5
No. 25 Missouri will put its undefeated record on the line with its first true test of the season visiting No. 7 Georgia.
Despite playing a weak schedule that has been highlighted by last week’s win against Vanderbilt, the Tigers have looked great this season, going 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS, winning their games by an average of 24.2 PPG. The Commodores have been their only SEC opponent so far this year. By contrast, Georgia is 4-1 SU and 1-3-1 ATS while playing one of the most difficult schedules in the nation. They took on three top-10 teams in the first four weeks, falling at Clemson in week one, but later defeating South Carolina and LSU at home. Last week, the Bulldogs managed to eke out a dramatic overtime win against Tennessee for another ATS loss. Georgia gave Missouri a rude welcoming to the SEC last season, crushing the Tigers 41-20 on the road as a one-point favorite. Key to watch in this game will be the health of Georgia star RB Todd Gurley (ankle), who remains questionable after missing last Saturday’s action. The Bulldogs have already lost four key skill players indefinitely to knee injuries, RB Keith Marshall and WRs Michael Bennett, Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell
Can Georgia win handily over an unbeaten Missouri team? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts continue to thrive in college football Best Bets with a combined 58.1% ATS record (61-44-3) for the season. StatFox Gary is a sizzling 82% ATS (9-2-1) in college football Best Bets over the past four weeks and 67% ATS (10-5-1) this year. StatFox Scott is 67% ATS (10-5-1) on Best Bets in the past three weeks and 60% ATS (18-12-1) for the season. StatFox Dave is 75% ATS (9-3) on Best Bets in the past two weeks and 56% ATS (22-17) for the season. StatFox Brian is 52.4% ATS (11-10-1) in Best Bets this season.
Missouri’s 46.6 PPG this season ranks eighth in FBS, as the Tigers feature a balanced and aggressive offense. QB James Franklin leads the way with 1,407 passing yards and a 68% completion rate, throwing for 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Overall, the Tigers have 16 rushing touchdowns and four rushers with at least 275 yards. In addition to Franklin's 278 yards on 53 carries (5.2 YPC), Russell Hansbrough (379 yards, 7.9 YPC, 3 TD), Henry Josey (307 yards, 5.7 YPC, 6 TD) and Marcus Murphy (293 yards, 8.4 YPC, 4 TD) have all proven capable of carrying the football. All three have big-play potential, with Hansbrough and Josey having broken off touchdown runs of 51 yards and 68 yards, respectively. The receiving corps also has balance with WR Dorial Green-Beckham leading the crew with 23 catches for 364 yards and 4 TD and WR L’Damian Washington adding 22 catches for 340 yards and five touchdowns. Six-foot-5 senior WR Marcus Lucas paces the team with 27 catches, gaining 262 yards on those grabs. The strength of this year’s Tigers defense has been limiting the run and holding opponents to 3.6 YPC. They’ve been less effective against strong passers, giving up 6.6 YPA and 10.1 yards per completion.
While Gurley may not play yet again for the Bulldogs, the good news is that they were able to establish the rush well without him in their nail-biter against Tennessee. Led by J.J. Green’s 17 carries for 129 yards (7.6 YPC), Georgia racked up 238 yards on 37 carries (6.4 YPC) against the Volunteers, which is a testament to this team’s offensive line no matter who is carrying the football. The running game is set up by QB Aaron Murray’s stellar passing, as the senior signal-caller is amid a phenomenal season with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions while completing 65% of his passes. With all the injuries to his receiving corps, Murray will lean heavily on WR Chris Conley (20 catches for 318 yards, 3 TD) and TE Arthur Lynch (11 catches for 169 yards, 2 TD). Defenses can’t just sit on those two guys, however, as eight different players have recorded receiving touchdowns for the Bulldogs. Georgia’s defense has been strong against the run, limiting foes to 3.8 YPC, though the passing defense's 8.1 YPA and 13.2 yards per completion needs some serious improvement. .