Dawgs approach early challenge

Rob Saye

After a busy offseason, the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs return to the gridiron to face the No. 8 Clemson Tigers on Saturday in a nationally-televised game on ABC. The last time both teams met was in 2003 when coach Mark Richt and the Bulldogs shutout the Tigers in Death Valley 30-0. The Dawgs and Tigers are no stranger to one another, having been rivals for years. The season opener marks the 63rd time the programs have dueled with Georgia owning the all-time series 41-17-4.

The Georgia-Clemson game will also host ESPN College Gameday to kick off the 2013 season.


The Bulldogs offense returns nine starters including star quarterback Aaron Murray, whom was voted as preseason SEC first-team quarterback per SEC coaches. With Murray at the helm of the offense, the Bulldogs should be hitting on all cylinders the moment they take the field on Saturday.

Having two highly-talented and hard-working running backs in preseason All-American Todd Gurley and explosive Keith Marshall (both sophomores) imposes matchup problems for the opposing defenses, including the Tigers this weekend. The passing threat of Aaron Murray as well as the two-headed monster at running back gives the Bulldogs a balanced offense. The ability to feed the running backs out of multiple looks and formations is a testament to the offensive balance the Dawgs possess. The passing and running games should be primed for a big season in 2013.

Aaron Murray was quick to acknowledge the expectations of the 2013 offense and its potential firepower.

“Oh yeah,” agreed Murray. “[This is] The most dynamic our offense has ever been. A lot of receivers, tight ends, and running backs, but it all starts with the offensive line.”


The Georgia secondary will face a tremendous challenge Saturday night as it is pitted against one of the nation’s top passing attacks and offenses from 2012. Clemson scored 523 points last season, a 40.2 per game average, as quarterback Tajh Boyd completed 67.2 % of his passes for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns. Boyd also rushed for 10 touchdowns during his breakout 2012 season. The Bulldogs defensive backfield has seen Josh Harvey-Clemons suspended, Paris Bostick, Corey Moore and Reggie Wilkerson out and Sheldon Dawson and Shaquille Fluker either doubtful or questionable.

Boyd will test the remaining Bulldogs defensive backs severely, and Georgia’s suddenly thin secondary will have its work cut out for them.

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