For a Georgia football team that has shown extraordinary resilience in the first month and a half of the 2013 college football season, the hits just seem to keep on coming.
Following a wild, comeback victory against the Tennessee Volunteers this Saturday, Coach Mark Richt recently announced that talented running back Keith Marshall and resident no. 1 receiver Justin Scott-Wesley will be out for the remainder of the season. The only silver lining to be had in this week of serious and demoralizing injuries to the Bulldogs’ top playmakers is that the sure-handed Michael Bennett’s recent knee surgery will give him an opportunity to return later this season. When that is exactly, of course, is unclear.
It also remains to be seen whether Todd Gurley will suit up for the Bulldogs this Saturday against the undefeated and steadily rising Missouri Tigers. Gaining confidence with each victory, this SEC newcomer will be facing a Georgia team depleted by numerous injuries at skill positions that will require rarely used freshmen and fifth-year perennial role players to step up in a big way. As it has been all year long, the odds seem to be significantly stacked against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Yet given the trials and tribulations they’ve been through this far, it’d be hard to believe that anything could faze Mark Richt’s team. Despite his inexperience, freshman running back J.J. Green was able to rush for 129 yards last week in a game that required every last inch gained to pull out a victory against an increasingly desperate and hungry Tennessee squad. With an outstanding one-handed catch and 64 yards receiving, Chris Conley was quick to step in to the top receiver’s role in a hostile environment.
And perhaps most importantly, Aaron Murray moved seamlessly from each new wave of previously inexperienced players to the next. Using players normally relegated to holding their helmets by their side for sixty minutes, Richt found a way to get the most out of a group that didn’t waver in its confidence or self-belief. Murray’s surgical game-tying drive seemed to be just another day at the office, (since most people wearing suits in cubicles can take a national championship caliber squad losing players left and right down the field in under two minutes with one timeout).
Missouri’s 5-0 record and recent thrashing of Vanderbilt belie a team that’s relatively inexperienced in its clashes with the titans of the SEC. While Georgia may be losing star power on a weekly basis, they are more hungry than ever for their national championship aspirations to be realized. With each week seeming to bring the full spectrum of good and bad news to Athens, one can only surmise as to what logic-defying events await us this Saturday between those hallowed hedges.
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