No. 15 Bulldogs Hope To Avoid 'Signature' Upset From Rebels
Friday, September 28th 2007, 2:25 pm
By: News On 6
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Mississippi's narrow loss to Florida last week confirmed a belief Mark Richt reached after his Georgia team's narrow win over the Rebels last year:
``Last week is very good evidence they're not very far away at all from having a very big signature win,'' Richt said.
Beating No. 15 Georgia in Athens on Saturday would qualify.
Georgia (3-1 overall, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) has won seven straight against Ole Miss, but last year the Bulldogs were shut out in the first half before recovering for a difficult 14-9 victory in Oxford.
``I think most of our players would agree that last year's game against Ole Miss was the most physical game they played,'' Richt said.
``We barely survived them. They really outplayed us, in my opinion.''
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who rushed for 135 yards against Georgia last year, is fifth in the league in rushing as a senior this season.
``It was just one of those game where they're going to run it down your throat whether you like it or not and then fake it every once in a while and launch it,'' Richt said.
``I don't think it will be any different this year as far as the physical nature.''
Green-Ellis has more help this season.
Seth Adams passed for 302 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 30-24 loss to Florida. Adams has passed for 200 or more yards in three of four games for Ole Miss (1-3, 0-2).
Adams' favorite receiver is Mike Wallace, a junior who leads the SEC with 25.0 yards per catch and is second with 100 yards receiving per game.
``Mike's always been fast, with the ability to catch the ball,'' said Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron. ``Since he's gotten here, he has gotten bigger and stronger, and now he's gotten some confidence about him. He clearly outran (Florida's) defenders.''
Ole Miss lost at Vanderbilt 31-17 on Sept. 22 before causing a stir with its hard-fought loss to then-No. 3 Florida.
``Any SEC team that you see another team doing that much damage to, it definitely catches your eye,'' said Georgia cornerback Asher Allen.
``They have a great running back and the receivers, as you saw in the last game, they have the ability to stretch the field.''
Adams completed a 77-yard touchdown pass to Wallace late in the third quarter as Ole Miss pulled to within three points of the Gators. But Green-Ellis rushed for only 37 yards on 11 carries in the game.
``I'm happy to see Seth have some success,'' Orgeron said. ``I'm not happy about (Green-Ellis). But when we get it both together, we'll have a very good offense.''
Georgia players also have reason for increased confidence following last week's 26-23 overtime victory at then-No. 16 Alabama.
The Bulldogs achieved the offensive balance last week that Orgeron says his team still seeks. The Bulldogs had 40 carries for 153 yards and Matthew Stafford completed 19 of 35 passes for 224 yards with two touchdowns, including the game-winner to Mikey Henderson.
Senior starter Thomas Brown and redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno each rushed for 74 yards against Alabama.
Orgeron said he is most impressed with Moreno, who leads the Bulldogs with 342 yards rushing.
``Knowshon Moreno is a hard-running, powerful back,'' Orgeron said. ``He gives excellent effort.
``This guy will make you miss. He has tremendous balance. He looks like he has great lower leg strength. He'll be one of the best backs we see this year.''
Richt says Brown is the better leader and will continue to start.
``(Moreno) is not ready to start yet, in my opinion,'' Richt said. ``He's talented but he's still growing, still learning what to do, and Thomas is playing extremely well in his own right and he's a great leader, too. You've got to have great leadership.''
Ole Miss has lost 11 straight games against Top 25 opponents.
Orgeron says the close loss to Florida could bring his team closer to a breakthrough.
``I think it's going to give us some confidence, and hopefully it spills over,'' he said.
``You can't quit swinging the sledge hammer. You just keep on pounding the rock. That's our motto for this year. Just keep on pounding the rock, and eventually it is going to break.''