The Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette come to Athens in what should be a tune-up game before going on the road to face South Carolina the following week. Redshirt freshman QB Aaron Murray makes his first collegiate start in front of the home crowd. Last year, Georgia QB Joe Cox first collegiate start was on the road and on national television as the Dawgs opened the season against highly ranked Oklahoma St Cowboys and lost. Cox never got in rhythm that day (or in matter fact the whole season), and would have benefited tremendously from making his first start at home against a lesser opponent.
Even though Georgia is heavily favored, the Cajuns do have some weapons on both sides of the ball. They have the potential to move the football behind the arm and legs of QB Chris Masson, who has a prime target in TE Ladarius Green. WR Marlin Miller (37 catches, 325 yards) also returns. The defense also has potential as it returns seven starters, including all-Sun Belt preseason choice LB Grant Fleming.
Meanwhile, Georgia will be without one of their key running backs - Washaun Ealey. Ealey, who rushed for a team-high 717 yards and three TDs last season, was charged with hit and run and driving on a suspended license last month. With Ealey out, Caleb King and sophomore Carlton Thomas could see plenty of work. King rushed for 594 yards and a team-high seven TDs last season. Throw in talented preseason All-American WR A.J. Green and highly regarded TE Orson Charles, who was Murray’s high school teammate, and Georgia will have plenty of offense weapons to take pressure off of Murray.
Probably the most interesting storyline of the game will be the play of Georgia’s defense. Georgia hired former Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator Todd Grantham during the off-season to bring intensity and energy to a stale defense that has not performed well the past couple of seasons. Grantham installed a 3-4 defense scheme in the spring so expect players during the opening game to miss assignments that must be corrected before going on the road against Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks the following week.
Prediction: Georgia wins 41-13
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Written by Bob Ballard