TIGERS REPORT: An important game for Missouri — and Georgia

Friday, September 7, 2012 | 6:45 p.m. CDT; updated 6:06 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 8, 2012

COLUMBIA — Missouri football games are often an afterthought when the country prepares for a Saturday of college football.

But this week's game is not. Missouri's game against Georgia on Saturday night is one of the most anticipated games of the weekend, and not just because it's Missouri's first Southeastern Conference game.

Richt: 'Biggest game of the year'

Georgia coach Mark Richt called the game his team's "biggest game of the year, no doubt."

The game will have a sizable impact in determining which team wins the SEC East division this season. Georgia and South Carolina are widely viewed as the favorites to win the division, and Tennessee is also starting to garner some attention as a contender after last week's win against North Carolina State. With a win Saturday, Missouri would add itself to the conversation.

'Old man football'

After last week's win against Southeast Louisiana, Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson added some hype to the already big game by saying that Georgia plays "old man football."

In this Yahoo Sports minute, columnist Pat Forde, an MU journalism graduate, and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George discuss Richardson's comments and Saturday's game.

ESPN football analyst Jon Gruden disagreed with Richardson, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he loves watching Georgia play. Richardson added, "If we execute, nobody in this league (the SEC) can touch us. Period."

Saturday's game will certainly be a good test of that statement. Georgia comes into Columbia ranked No. 7 in the latest AP poll.

But some columnists are critical of the Bulldogs. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Bill King questions Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray's ability to make big plays in big games.

Gurley shines in 'lackluster' Buffalo win

Georgia beat Buffalo 45-24 last week behind a three-touchdown performance from freshman running back Todd Gurley. Despite the score, Chip Towers, also from the Journal-Constitution, used the word "lackluster" to describe the Bulldogs' performance. Here's a look at Gurley's three touchdowns during the Buffalo game.

Seth Emerson of The Kansas City Star noticed that Georgia struggled to contain Buffalo's Alex Zordich, a dual-threat quarterback with a similar skill set to Missouri's James Franklin.

The Bulldogs will face Franklin, who leads an offense unlike Georgia has ever seen in the SEC. The game will be played in front of a raucous sell-out crowd that has been waiting months for this game.

Missouri fan base ready to show it belongs in SEC

Gabe DeArmond of considers this to be the most anticipated game in program history. He argues that it is even more anticipated than Missouri's homecoming game against No. 1 Oklahoma in 2010 that brought ESPN "College GameDay" to town for the first time.

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also expects to see an extreme level of excitement inside Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Burwell was impressed with the Missouri fan base during the win against Southeast Louisiana and wonders how long the excitement from joining the SEC can last.

Burwell's column also includes a graphic showing the results of all of Missouri's past games against SEC teams. Missouri's only game against Georgia came in the 1960 Orange Bowl, which the Bulldogs won 14-0.

Supervising editor is Frank Russell.

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