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Deandre Baker and Richard LeCounte are two of the reasons Georgia has a great secondary.

Georgia’s secondary will be tested by Drew Lock, and Kirby Smart will have them ready

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Georgia’s secondary will be tested by Drew Lock and Kirby Smart will have them ready

If you were to pick the most talented position group on the Georgia football team, you’d probably pick the secondary. It’s got to First Team All-SEC players in Deandre Baker and JR Reed and two former 5-star recruits in Richard LeCounte and Tyson Campbell. Throw in the likes of Tyrique McGhee, William Poole and a number of other elite prospects and Georgia has a secondary that’s good enough to cover anybody.

So far they’ve proven capable of that, as the Bulldogs have allowed to 157.7 passing yards a game, and that’s despite holding commanding leads in each of their games. They’ve also snared 3 interceptions so far, with Baker grabbing one in each of his last two games.

Related: Why Deandre Baker might be college football’s best cornerback

But on Saturday, Georgia will face its toughest test yet, and, from a talent standpoint, probably the best quarterback it’s going to see all year in Missouri quarterback Drew Lock. Last season Lock threw for 44 touchdowns, an SEC record. Against Georgia he threw for 4 touchdowns and 253 yards. Only Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for more yards against Georgia last season and he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Lock will almost certainly play on Sundays given his arm talent, size and college production. But he isn’t perfect. Last season he and Missouri went 0-6 against teams that finished the season with a winning record and 7-0 against teams that didn’t. He’s got a cannon for an arm but he struggled completing intermediate passes. If those sort of traits sound familiar, it’s because they’re very similar to some of the traits to Josh Allen, who the Buffalo Bills took with the No. 7 pick in the NFL Draft and was extremely polarizing among college football fans as he wasn’t that great in college.

Drew Lock 2017 stats Completions Attempts Comp. Percentage Yards Per Attempt Touchdowns Interceptions Win-Loss record
Vs. Teams with a winning record  104 200 52 percent 7.3 11 7 0-6
Vs. Teams with a losing record 138 219 63 percent 12.6 33 6 7-0

Now before Missouri fans come after me, I’ll mention that Lock looks better against bad competition than Allen ever did. And so far this season, under new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley, Lock has the Missouri offense humming. The Tigers enter the game 3-0 on the season and knocked off Purdue on the road last week. He’s playing really well and continues to look more and more like an elite draft pick.

Drew Lock 2018 stats Completions Attempts Comp. Percentage Yards Per Attempt Touchdowns Interceptions Win-Loss record
Through 3 games 78 113 69.0 9.4 11 1 3-0

“I think he was wise to go back to Missouri for another year, but I think he is the guy a lot of people will be excited about,” NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said about Lock in the offseason. “If you want to isolate one guy who the NFL is already looking at and who they have a high opinion of for next year, it’s Drew Lock.”

As a whole, the Georgia defense is going to have a challenge in slowing him down. But the reason we’re specifically highlighting the secondary is because of the way Kirby Smart uses his pass rush. As DawgNation’s Mike Griffith has pointed out, Georgia is last in the country in sacks. Through the first three games, Georgia has just 1.0 sack. And it’s not like they’ve been playing against a bunch of lines stuffed with NFL offensive lineman either.

When asked  about the lack of a pass rush on Saturday, Smart reiterated why Georgia hasn’t yet racked up a ton of sacks and why he isn’t worried about it.

“Everybody wants sacks, everybody wants pass rush,” Smart said. “I look more at total yards per completion, and how many points they had on the scoreboard.”

So far this season, Georgia has given up an average of 8.0 points per game. It’s given up an average of 4.8 yards per attempt, which tops among SEC teams and sixth in the nation. Those numbers are that good because of how good Georgia’s secondary has been this year. And when you factor in that Missouri has only given up just one sack in its first three games, Georgia is going to need its extremely talented secondary to play at an elite level to come out with an SEC road win on Saturday.

It’s shown it can do that before and Baker, LeCounte, Reed, Campbell and the rest of the bunch will have another chance to make that statement again.

Top Dawg in the NFL

With week 2 in the books, let’s hand out the second Top Dawg award of the season. Once again there were a number of former Bulldogs who balled out this weekend.

On Monday night, Roquan Smith and Leonard Floyd both played huge roles for the Bears, as Smith had 7 solo tackles while Floyd recovered a fumble and recorded a pass deflection as the Bears won 24-17 behind their dominant defense.

Sticking with the defensive side of the ball, Alec Ogletree led the New York Giants in tackles and Jordan Jenkins of the New York Jets recorded his first sack of the season.

As for the Georgia running backs in the league, neither Sony Michel, Nick Chubb or Todd Gurley put up great numbers. Michel ran for 34 yards on 10 carries in his debut with the New England Patriots, while Chubb had only 14 yards on two carries for the Cleveland Browns. Gurley ran for 42 yards on 19 attempts but he did manage to score 3 touchdowns for the Los Angeles Rams.

The two top Bulldogs both played for the Cincinnati Bengals, as AJ Green had a monster game as he hauled in 3 touchdowns to help give the Bengals a big early lead over the Baltimore Ravens. But as the offense sputtered in the second half, it was former Georgia safety Shawn Williams who saved the day as he picked off a Joe Flacco pass and forced a fumble that sealed the game for Cincinnati.

So because of his clutch plays, Williams is our Top Dawg for week 2.

Week 2 winner: Shawn Williams, Safety, Cincinnati Bengals
Week 1 winner: Reshad Jones, Safety, Miami Dolphins

Make sure to come out to Marlow Tavern’s on Thursday

Want to talk some Georgia football with the DawgNation experts ahead of Georgia’s big game against Missouri? Well DawgNation has you covered.

On Thursday, DawgNation’s Brandon Adams and Mike Griffith will be at the Marlow’s in Brookhaven(3575 Durden Dr NE #301, Atlanta, GA 30319) to take your questions and talk about Georgia football.

Also, if you entered the Marlow’s Tavern DawgNation Invasion to LSU contest, the winner will be announced LIVE! If you haven’t entered, visit DawgNation.com by the 20th and click on DawgNation Invasion in the menu to enter. The Georgia-LSU game figures to be one of the games of the college football season so this is definitely something you’ll want to get in on.

Wear your Red & Black and get a FREE appetizer with your entree purchase.

The festivities start at 6 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. so come on by, have a bite to eat and talk some Georgia football with us. You’ll be able to talk about all sorts of things, whether it be Jake Fromm, Justin Fields or Kirby Smart. These events are always a great time and this one will be as well.

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