Georgia vs. Colorado preview

3 storylines

The return of A.J. Green. Georgia's star receiver will make his season debut after being suspended for the first four games, and he says he has some "catching up" to do. The Bulldogs (1-3, 0-3 SEC) need to get the ball in Green's hands as much as possible against Colorado (2-1, 0-0 Big 12). The Dogs also hope the defensive attention Green draws will open up other aspects of the offense, such as the passing game to the tight ends and the running game.
A new start. In its past three games -- all losses, you might have heard -- Georgia allowed the opponent to score a touchdown on its opening possession. With the Bulldogs' confidence already challenged by the losing streak, another poor start could be tough to overcome. Part of the early-game problem has been slowness to adapt to new wrinkles from the opposing offense. "Sometimes if maybe it's a new play, or something that's not exactly the way you practiced it, you've still got to apply your concepts to get through the down," UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "If you don't, you can give up an explosive play, like has been happening."
The turnover issue. Fumbles by tailback Washaun Ealey inside the opponent's 5-yard line were critical plays in the losses to South Carolina and Mississippi State. Georgia is not good enough to overcome those types of giveaways.  Coaches say Ealey's fumbles will cost him the starting role at Colorado and reduce his playing time. On the other side of the turnover equation, Georgia's defense needs to force more than in the past three games (one fumble recovery and one interception, neither of which was converted into points by the Georgia offense).

A Georgia win would …

  • Halt the Bulldogs' longest losing streak in 20 years.
  • Improve the Dogs' record under coach Mark Richt in nonconference games to 40-4.

A Colorado win would …

  • Fuel the fury in Bulldog Nation.
  • Complete a happy occasion in Boulder, Colo., where the Buffaloes are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their share of the 1990 national championship.

Keep an eye on …

For Colorado: Cornerbacks Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith have caught the attention of Georgia players and coaches on video. "Two awesome corners ... who can lock guys down," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.
For Georgia: Green, naturally. It'll be interesting to see him work against Colorado's corners and start trying to make up for lost time.

The numbers game


Georgia's all-time record vs. Big 12 teams. (Note: This is Colorado's final season in the Big 12 before moving to the Pac-10 next year.)


Colorado's all-time record vs. SEC teams.

The history book

Series record: Georgia leads 1-0.
Last game: In the teams' only previous meeting, Georgia trailed for almost the entire game before rallying for a 14-13 victory in 2006 in Athens. With the Dogs down 13-0, quarterback Joe Cox came off the bench to throw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes.

The bottom line

Georgia is a 4 1/2-point favorite and absolutely desperate for a victory.