When and where: September 14, 2019, Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA, 12:00 PM ET
The Georgia Bulldogs will look to continue to roll through the soft early portion of their schedule with Saturday’s meeting coming against the visiting Arkansas State Red Wolves. After losing by a touchdown to SMU in the season opener, the Red Wolves responded by blowing out UNLV on the road.
However, they’ll stay on the road against the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs, who are coming off consecutive wins over Vanderbilt and Murray State. This meeting is similar to the Red Wolves actually getting thrown to the wolves in Week 2 last season, when they had a run-in with the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
For whatever reason, the football scheduling gods have a bone to pick with Arkansas State.
Anderson returns to Arkansas State
Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson’s return in Week 2 had a jovial response, despite the somber undertone. He opted to step away from the team to be with his wife, Wendy, in her last days during her battle with cancer. His return appeared to light a spark under the Red Wolves, who bounced back from a loss to SMU to knock off UNLV on the road, 43-17.
Now, they’ll face the herculean task of slowing down the Bulldogs’ dominant ground attack, if they even have a prayer of competing.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) September 8, 2019
Stopping the rushing attack proved to be a huge problem for the Red Wolves against UNLV, who lit them up for nearly 200 yards on the ground with a fierce rushing attack spearheaded by junior tailback Charles Williams.
Sure, the Bulldogs haven’t done much through the air, but that could quickly change if Arkansas State gets trampled on the ground early in the game. Red Wolves quarterback Logan Bonner will also have to avoid silly turnovers that could quickly take his team out of the game. Can the junior continue to be methodical and take what the defense gives him? The answer to that question will mean the difference between competing and getting blown out.
Another stepping stone for Georgia?
Georgia is coming into Saturday’s game with the sole intent of treating Arkansas State like an appetizer to the main course meal in Week 4 against Notre Dame. Sure, quarterback Jake Fromm hasn’t lived up to the hype early in the season, but there is still hope the junior can turn it around after racking up only 322 passing yards and two touchdowns in his first two games of the season.
Defensively, there could be a challenge for the Georgia pass defense.
“How are we going to match up?,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “We’re going to find out. It’s going to be a real test. They have great wideouts, and they have wideouts at all positions and they have tight ends, and they are really athletic and they’ve given people major problems with matchups. So I can’t tell you how we’re going match up. I can tell you how we match up against each day against our guys, but it’s going to be interesting to see because they’ve got a guy that can spin it, and they’ve got a guy on the perimeter that can catch it, and they have experience doing it in big games and in big stadiums.”
Perhaps the Bulldogs will attempt to air the ball out a bit more against the Red Wolves’ susceptible secondary, or they can stick with the human sledgehammer in the offensive backfield in running back D’Andre Swift to bludgeon them on the ground.
A year after going over the 1,000-yard mark in rushing yards, the junior rushing daemon looks prime to have another breakout season. His mere presence on offense, along with Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh, takes most of the load off Fromm, who will eventually figure things out and catapult himself back into the draft conversation. That moment could come on Saturday against an overmatched Arkansas State defense.
- Red Wolves are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Red Wolves are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Red Wolves are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games in September.
- Red Wolves are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games.
- Bulldogs are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Bulldogs are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games on grass.
- Bulldogs are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Bulldogs are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games following a straight up win.