Storylines abound for Missouri’s inaugural SEC matchup

by The Associated Press

A key match-up will be quarterback James Franklin against Georgia’s defensive line.

No. 7 Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC) at Missouri (1-0, 0-0), 6:45 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
Line: Georgia by 2.5
Series record: Georgia leads 1-0, won 14-0 in 1960 Orange Bowl.

WHAT’S AT STAKE
Missouri totaled 48 wins in its last five seasons in the Big 12, yet there’s a perception it must prove itself worthy all over again in the SEC. This is the first step, and an overflow crowd is expected to witness a game coach Gary Pinkel said “will go down in history.” Georgia seeks to build momentum after dropping one notch in the polls following an unimpressive 45-23 opening victory over Buffalo, who was picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Mid-American Conference. Several players missed the opener due to injury concerns or disciplinary suspensions and getting some back will help Georgia.

KEY MATCH-UP: Missouri quarterback James Franklin vs. the Georgia defense
Franklin is as dangerous with his legs as he is with his arm after rushing for 15 touchdowns last year. He’ll put pressure on a defense that will be without cornerback Sanders Commings and linebacker Chase Vasser, expected to serve two-game suspensions for offseason arrests. No word yet whether safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree, two others suspended for the opener, will be back this week.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Georgia: Freshman tailback Todd Gurley was SEC co-freshman player of week after rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns in eight attempts and returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Aaron Murray is the active SEC career leader in total offense, completions, touchdown passes and yards passing.
Missouri: Marcus Murphy was SEC special teams player of week after setting a school record with punt returns for touchdowns of 70 and 72 yards in the opener. Murphy is the backup tailback behind Kendial Lawrence, who had career bests with a 76-yard touchdown and 121 yards rushing overall. Linebacker Zaviar Gooden had a 20-yard interception for a touchdown in the opener and has an interception in each of his last three games.

FACTS & FIGURES
NFL Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton was Georgia QB in only meeting between schools. … Georgia has lost its last two SEC openers, both times against ranked South Carolina teams. The last time Georgia faced a school other than South Carolina in the SEC opener was in 1991. … Georgia had seven NFL draft picks last season, tying Oklahoma for second most in nation. … Missouri plays its first four games at home, where it’s 2-1 the last two seasons vs. ranked opponents including a win over No. 3 Texas in 2010. … Missouri has won five in a row. … Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is 9-2 against SEC members, including 5-1 against fellow ex-Big 12 member Texas A&M. … Tigers scored five TDs on offense, two on defense and two on special teams in opener.

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