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Top (other) Dawgs
Mississippi State is a dangerous team full of dangerous players. Before the other Bulldogs of the SEC dominated LSU last weekend, I don’t think many Georgia fans realized just how dangerous they are. But that win got everyone’s attention, and no one is overlooking State anymore. Here are five Mississippi State players who will present a major challenge for Georgia this Saturday.
5. Keith Mixon, WR — The diminutive 5-foot-8 sophomore from Birmingham, Ala., was quiet in the first two games of State’s season with only 1 catch for 15 yards. But he had an outburst of production against LSU, catching 6 passes for 97 yards and a 45-yard touchdown that broke the upset wide open.
VIDEO: Mississippi State pulling away in the 3rd. Nick Fitzgerald hits Keith Mixon to make it 27-7 Bulldogs… pic.twitter.com/EuAXRT6ezv
— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) September 17, 2017
4. Jeffrey Simmons, DL — Simmons has staked his claim as State’s best pass-rusher this season. He recorded his first sack of the season in the opener with Charleston Southern and added another 1.5 against LSU. His performance against the Tigers earned him SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors for Week 3. He’s big and vicious, and he’ll make Georgia pay if the line doesn’t keep him under wraps.
3. Mark McLaurin, S — McLaurin is a wildman in the secondary. He looks more like a linebacker than a safety, and tackles like one, too. He’s led State in tackles in each of the last two games, with 10 against Louisiana Tech and 9 against LSU. He also picked off a pass and ran it back 32 yards against Tech. With his versatility, he’s the State defender most likely to make a difference Saturday.
2. Aeris Williams, RB — Last season, Mississippi State’s run game revolved around quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, relegating Williams to the status of bit player. He had just 720 yards as a sophomore. But the bruising back is being much more assertive this season. So far, Williams has 336 yards and a touchdown on 7.1 yards per carry. His best performance so far this year was against LSU, when he rushed for 146 yards. Williams’ emergence gives the State run game another dimension that makes it much more dangerous.
1. Nick Fitzgerald, QB — New Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham hasn’t lived up to his significant hype so far this season, which makes it safe to say Fitzgerald will be the best signal-caller Georgia will face this season. Everyone knows about Fitzgerald’s running ability. He was the SEC’s second-leading rusher in 2016 with 1,375 yards. But because of that stellar ground game, his passing skills are probably overlooked. The sample size for this season is small, but the stats show he’s improved as a passer since last season, going from 6.7 yards per attempt to 7.8, and from 54.3 completion percentage to 61.4.
Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald is such a running threat that he can run a one man play action pass. pic.twitter.com/LLWmrOJK1I
— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) September 18, 2017
Terry Godwin’s block party
Between that outstanding one-handed snag against Notre Dame and 2 touchdowns and nearly 100 yards receiving against Samford, Georgia wide receiver Terry Godwin has come into his own the last two weeks. But he isn’t just putting in work as a receiver. He’s excelling as a blocker, too, as Georgia coach Kirby Smart pointed out. From Jason Butt of The Telegraph:
“As frustrated as I was (last season) with his physicality and lack of practice effort, he has practiced so hard and blocked so well,” Smart said. “He blocks bigger than he is. He’s not afraid to stick his face in there. He’s always been that way. I remember watching him as an eighth-grader, ninth-grader at Callaway High School, and he was hitting people. I didn’t see enough of that last year. Now, you see it, and he’s getting rewarded by catching the ball and making plays.”
I shared the video below on Monday, but I figured I would include it again with the above context. This is the kind of stuff you love to see from a receiver.
Kirby Smart bragged about Terry Godwin's (@TerryGodwin_4) improved blocking.
— Dayne Young (@dayneyoung) September 17, 2017
Your obligatory Jacob Eason injury update
Jacob Eason practiced Monday wearing a brace on his sprained right knee. It remains to be seen if Eason will be ready to play against Mississippi State. Smart said in his pre-practice press conference that he’ll be in a better position to evaluate Eason’s readiness after watching him Monday.
“He’s running. He’s moving around. We’ll see how he goes,” Smart said, according to Seth Emerson of DawgNation. “I haven’t been able to see him in three days, so we’ll find out more today to see where he’s at.”
Senior cornerback Malkom Parrish also practiced Monday. It was his first time back on the field since breaking his foot in the preseason. Smart said in his press conference he hopes to have Parrish back for the showdown with Mississippi State.
Back to the light of day
Georgia’s night game streak will end at four. It was announced Monday the Georgia-Tennessee game Sept. 30 in Knoxville will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET and be broadcast by CBS.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 19, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 17, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 17, 2017
This dude’s a thrill seeker.
I took my son to the fair and he had fun pic.twitter.com/Kk3mGjL1Qq
— Sath (@satherax) September 16, 2017
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