WATCH: Kirby Smart, Georgia players explain why Murray State game is still important
ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart isn’t looking at the Murray State game in the same light as everyone else.
The Racers come from the FCS ranks and are at an extreme talent advantage. And while there were a few FCS teams that pushed the likes of West Virginia, Minnesota and Iowa State, Murray State wasn’t even on the level of the James Madison, South Dakota State and Northern Iowa’s of the world.
A season ago, Murray State went just 5-6. It’s one game against an FBS team — Kentucky — was a 48-10 drubbing.
But Kirby Smart had nothing but positive things to say about the Racers ahead of Saturday’s game.
“I think Murray State’s got a great program,” Smart said. “They’ve got a lot of tempo; they do a great job offensively and defensively. We’re going in thinking we’ve got to beat Murray State. We’ve got to go in and execute and get better during the week on us, and then go out and play Murray State.
Some have wondered if Georgia sees a number of back-ups take the field. Given that Georgia never truly turned its 30-6 win over Vanderbilt into a blow-out, the likes of quarterback Stetson Bennett, wide receiver Dominick Blaylock and running back Kenny McIntosh didn’t see the field.
And while Smart would like for everyone to see the field, he knows it’s not a guarantee.
“You hope a lot of guys get to play but we don’t know the outcome of a game,” Smart said.
Georgia’s players also took a similar tone when they met with the media on Monday.
“This week is important because it’s the next game,” Swift said. “So, we’ve got to start with practice today, looking at and working on everything we messed up on Saturday.”
Two areas were Georgia can improve come in the short-yardage game and its much talked about Havoc rate. The Bulldogs were stuffed on multiple short-yardage plays, where they needed only a yard to pick up a first down.
But for the concerns about short-yardage plays, the Bulldogs did have 14 runs of 10-plus yards. Only Oklahoma — with 16 — had more of those runs in the first week of the season.
Defensive tackle Jordan Davis said that Georgia’s Havoc Rate came in at 11 percent, well below the desired goal of 20 percent.
As for slowing Murray State, the Racers did score 59 points in their first game of the season.
“Murray State has an extremely respectable game, they are very explosive, scoring 40 or more points in five out of nine games,” Davis said. “They have an explosive offense, both running and passing, that we are going to need to stop.”
The Bulldogs and Racers kickoff at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart
Georgia football defensive tackle Jordan Davis
Georgia football running back D’Andre Swift
Georgia football wide receiver Demetris Robertson
Georgia football outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari
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