No. 3 Georgia opens with hopes for another championship run
Austin Peay (8-4 last season) at No. 3 Georgia (13-2), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: No line.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
After falling to Alabama in last season’s national championship game, the Bulldogs need to show they have found capable replacements for six NFL draft picks, including LB Roquan Smith and TBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The Governors have their own championship hopes as they are No. 22 in the STATS FCS Top 25 after winning eight games in 2017 for the first time since 1977.
Austin Peay QBs Jeremiah Oatsvall and JaVaughn Craig vs. Georgia defense. The Governors’ dual-threats bring an option threat that could provide a unique opening challenge for Georgia’s defense, especially on the perimeter. Oatsvall passed for 1,148 yards and ran for 453 yards with six touchdowns despite starting only the final five games last season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Austin Peay: TB Ahmaad Tanner is expected to start with Kentel Williams serving the first of a two-game suspension for undisclosed violations of team rules. Tanner has good experience after rushing for 698 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman.
Georgia: RB D’Andre Swift, who showed exciting big-play potential as a freshman, is expected to be the first in a group of tailbacks that also includes junior Elijah Holyfield and speedy freshman James Cook. Swift had a fourth-quarter 64-yard TD run in Georgia’s Southeastern Conference championship game win over Auburn.
FACTS & FIGURES
Austin Peay set school records with 3,105 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns on the ground last season. … Georgia is Austin Peay’s first SEC opponent since the Governors lost at Kentucky, 49-13, in 2016. … Georgia plays four home games against teams from the state of Tennessee this season, including Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 15 and back-to-back games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt. … Georgia’s last opener against a FCS team was its 45-21 win over Georgia Southern in 2008. … Freshman QB Justin Fields, one of the biggest names in Georgia’s top-ranked class of 2018 signees, could play behind returning starter Jake Fromm.