Bulldogs welcome retuning defensive players
SEP 11, 2012 3:01p ET
With cornerback Sanders Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser available again, the seventh-ranked Bulldogs will try to keep rolling Saturday night against Florida Atlantic.
Georgia has endured September struggles in recent years, including a pair of early losses to SEC divisional rival South Carolina. The Bulldogs also dropped their 2011 opener to Boise State and started 1-4 in 2010.
They avoided another early defeat last Saturday against motivated Missouri, pulling away late for a 41-20 road victory that spoiled the Tigers' SEC debut. The win got them to 2-0 for the first time since they took their first four games in 2008.
Georgia trailed 17-9 early in the third quarter and 20-17 with less than a minute to go in the period before reeling off 24 points. All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones set up two touchdowns by returning his first career interception to the 1-yard line and later forcing a fumble deep in Missouri territory.
"We finished in the fourth quarter, on the road and in a hostile environment," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "Missouri was ready to play, and for our guys to go there, finish like they did and win it, shows the character of this football team.
"If we can build on that win, use it as momentum, go back to work and know what we have to do to get better, that's the exciting thing."
The Bulldogs will get a chance to build on that win with Commings and Vasser back in the fold. Both were suspended for offseason arrests.
Georgia's coaches, however, remain coy on whether All-American safety Bacarri Rambo or linebacker Alec Ogletree will remain suspended. They will reportedly be out for the first four games.
"We'll just have to see what happens moving forward," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said.
With Commings' return, converted receiver Malcolm Mitchell might get to play on both sides of the ball soon. Mitchell, who had 665 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman, recorded six tackles and two pass breakups against Missouri after missing the season-opening victory over Buffalo due to a sprained left ankle.
The Bulldogs are hoping to have 358-pound nose tackle John Jenkins available for this game. He left Saturday's contest with an apparent leg injury.
"I think he's gonna be fine," coach Mark Richt said.
Richt's team will try to avoid a letdown against Florida Atlantic, which is 1-1 under new coach Carl Pelini.
The former Nebraska defensive coordinator won his college head coaching debut when the Owls rallied for a 7-3 win over Wagner on Aug. 31. They fell 31-17 at Middle Tennessee in their Sun Belt opener last Saturday.
Junior Graham Wilbert was 25 of 32 for 260 yards and two touchdowns in the loss after completing 10 of 13 passes, including the go-ahead TD in the fourth quarter, in the season opener.
Florida Atlantic has never faced Georgia. The Owls are 0-9 all-time against Top 25 opponents, while the Bulldogs have won 30 of their last 31 against visiting non-conference foes.