Everything You Need To Know About The Austin Peay Governors vs. Georgia Bulldogs Game 

Everything You Need To Know About The Austin Peay Governors vs. Georgia Bulldogs Game 

Football

Everything You Need To Know About The Austin Peay Governors vs. Georgia Bulldogs Game 


Everything You Need To Know About The Austin Peay Governors vs. Georgia Bulldogs Game 

In the Dawgs’ opening game of the 2018 season, No.3 Georgia hosts the Austin Peay Governors of the Ohio Valley Conference. Here are the particulars and pregame analysis.  

Kickoff: Saturday, September 1, 2018, 3:30 p.m. EDT 

Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia 

TV: ESPN (Beth Mowins, play-by-play call, Anthony Becht, analyst and Rocky Bolman, sideline reporter.) 

Georgia Radio: Athens 960 AM/106.1 FM; Atlanta 750 AM/95.5 FM; Macon 106.3 FM; Augusta 580 AM/95.1 FM; Savannah 1400 AM/104.3 FM; Columbus 1460 AM/100.1 FM; Valdosta 105.9 FM; Rome 107.1 FM (IMG Radio-Scott Howard, Eric Zeier, Chuck Dowdle) 

Sirius/XM: Channel 81

Streaming: Online at GTV on www.georgiadogs.com and WatchESPN

Weather: High temperature of 89°, 85% humidity, partly cloudy with  40% chance of rain

DawgWalk:  1:15 p.m. and entering the stadium from the west end zone

Tickets: https://bit.ly/2omQXMd

Betting Odds: Spread: Georgia –33. Over/Under: 57 

Series history: This is the first time Georgia and Austin Peay have met. The Bulldogs are 2-0 in season-opening games under Kirby Smart and have won 18 of the past 21. Governors’ coach Will Healy is entering his third year leading the program, coming off an 8-4 season that saw him named FCS Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and OVC Coach of the Year. Austin Peay is ranked 22nd in the Stats FCS Preseason poll.

Georgia players to watch:  

OFFENSE- QB Jake Fromm, WR Mecole Hardman, LT Andrew Thomas, RB D’Andre Swift 

DEFENSE- S J.R. Reed, DL Jonathan Ledbetter, CB Deandre Baker, OLB Walter Grant

Austin Peay players to watch:  

OFFENSE- QB Jeremiah Oatsvall, the preseason OVC Offensive Player of the Year, RB Ahmaad Tanner

DEFENSE- LB Gunnar Scholato (2017 leading tackler), DB Malik Davis, DL Austin Maloata

The Game 

When Georgia has the ball 

Regarding the starting lineup, about the only guarantees are along the offensive line, where senior center Lamont Gaillard and left tackle Andrew Thomas are a lock. Beyond that, Kirby Smart hasn’t released a depth chart, due to the level of competition. Even SEC Championship quarterback Jake Fromm hasn’t officially been named a starter, but Jake did mention in an interview this week he would start.  Expect to see D’Andre Swift get the bulk of the carries but junior running backs Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien will see plenty of action. In addition, the talk of preseason practice, freshman running back James Cook, will see his share of touches as well. Look for the Dawgs to get tight ends Issac Nauta and Charlie Woerner integrated in the offense… they just have too much talent and can create matchup difficulties. Demetris Robertson may end up becoming a starting receiver. Terry Godwin’s status is doubtful and WR Riley Ridley could have a breakout year.

When Austin Peay has the ball 

Georgia had an elite defense in 2017, yielding 294.9 yards per game, 6th best in the nation. However, six starters have moved on and a lot of talented young players will have to step up. You’ll see a lot of rotations against Austin Peay as the Governors utilize a run-heavy, option offense with multiple sets and motions. They averaged 258 yards rushing per game last season and quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall has the ability to run and throw the ball.

As far as defensive newcomers, expect grad transfer Jay Hayes to see plenty of reps on the defensive front. Freshmen linebackers Brenton Cox and Quay Walker have been outstanding in practice and will see the field. The battles in the secondary have been fierce but JR Reed and Richard LeCounte will start at safety.  Deandre Baker is a lockdown corner and will play opposite a talented group, including sophomores Ameer Speed, Eric Stokes, Mark Webb and William Poole. Freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell is going to be a great one. He has all the physical tools and intangibles and will see significant action on Saturday.

“The number one thing is that they have a lot of elements of the option,” Kirby Smart said. “Both quarterbacks do a great job of running the ball. They have a plethora of offensive sets and motions, and they do a very good job offensively of trying to keep you off balance. I think we have a good physical front. I’m not saying they’re going to come in and dominate and be able to run the ball every down on us, but I think what they can do is get explosive plays.”

Austin Peay averaged 27.2 points per game last season and the option is always difficult to defend. The young secondary and linebacker corps will have to maintain their assignments and stay in their gaps.

“If you don’t play the option right, which is not something we practice against every day, it can become a problem for you,” Smart said. “That’s why they score so many points because teams get in trouble and don’t look at the right thing. And when you’re ever dealing with a young secondary, sometimes that can happen to you.”

Keys to the game: 

  1. Turnovers – Georgia lost the ball 16 times last season and only had a +4 turnover margin, which ranked 37th in the nation. Austin Peay had 19 turnovers last season and the Dawgs need to take advantage of these turnover opportunities and put points on the board. 
  2. Pound the line of scrimmage. The Georgia offensive line is bigger, faster, deeper and better than Austin Peay’s defensive front and there are lots of thoroughbreds behind them to carry the rock.  Athens in September is conducive to just beating up and demoralizing your opponent.
  3. See the ball, catch the ball. It seems simple but Georgia receivers dropped too many passes last season.  Start the season with the right mindset. 
  4. Play them all, Kirby. It has been a competitive preseason practice and reward those guys for a job well done. Nothing like playing in front of 93,000 on opening day and getting those competitive juices and desire flowing.
  5. Stay healthy. The Dawgs have a tough SEC game against South Carolina next week and the Geamecocks are always difficult in Columbia.

 Intangibles: 

This may be the biggest game in Austin Peay’s history but they have played FBS teams in the past, including Peach Bowl champion UCF last season. In addition, Coach Will Healy has brought in four former FBS players — Oregon defensive lineman Austin Maloata, Missouri defensive lineman Nate Howard, Vanderbilt offensive lineman Kyle Anderton and Tennessee offensive lineman Charles Mosley — who will play key roles. So don’t expect the Governors to be intimated. However, Georgia is coming off a tremendous season and the expectations in Athens are sky high. Kirby has the Dawgs believing that every play is crucial and each game is an important test. Austin Peay doesn’t have the name recognition as most of the teams on Georgia’s schedule but that doesn’t mean the Bulldogs aren’t anxious to get the season underway.

“I know our players are champing at the bit to get the chance to go play somebody other than ourselves,” Kirby Smart said. “They have practiced long and hard, and they’re excited about the opportunity to go get ready for somebody else.”

Predictions: 

Naturally, the nation’s No. 3 team should handily defeat a FCS member at home. The Dawgs need to play with great energy and set the tone for the season. Avoiding complacency shouldn’t be too difficult as there is a plethora of talented depth on both sides of the ball.  Kirby has this Redcoat train on track and Georgia wins in convincing fashion. 

GEORGIA 47 – AUSTIN PEAY 10 

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