Tennessee-Martin (1-0) at Georgia (0-0), Saturday, 6 p.m. ET (SEC Network+)
Line: No line, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Georgia begins its quest for an unprecedented third straight national title, though they’ll have to win this one without QB Stetson Bennett. He finally left for the NFL after winning offensive MVP honors in every Georgia playoff game over the last two seasons. The Bulldogs still feature one of the nation’s most dynamic offensive players in TE Brock Bowers, and the defense should remain one of the nation’s best despite losing two more first-rounders in the draft. Football Championship Subdivision member Tennessee-Martin has not much chance in this one, but the Skyhawks will collect a nice payday before returning to opponents more their speed in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Bowers vs. UT-Martin’s linebackers and secondary. Southeastern Conference defenses have struggled to contend with the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Bowers, who has strong hands, the speed of a wide receiver and the moves of a tailback. The Skyhawks will really have their hands full trying to contend with one of four Georgia players to make the Associated Press preseason All-American first team. Bowers had 63 receptions for 942 yards and seven touchdowns a season ago, including a seven-catch, 152-yard performance in the 65-7 demolition of TCU in the national championship game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
UT-Martin: DE Daylan Dotson led the OVC is both sacks (9.5) and tackles for loss (14.5) last season. The native of Savannah, Georgia, will be looking to make a good impression against his home-state team.
Georgia: QB Carson Beck takes over for Bennett after beating out Brock Vandagriff and Gunner Stockton for the starting job. Beck has been in Athens since the 2020 season, but this will be his first significant playing time. He played in six games a season ago, all in mop-up roles, and completed 26 of 35 passes for 310 yards, with four TDs and no interceptions. Beck doesn’t have Bennett’s mobility, but the Bulldogs are confident he can efficiently handle the role.
FACTS & FIGURES
Georgia has a 17-game winning streak. Its only loss over the last two seasons was a 41-24 setback to Alabama in the 2021 SEC championship game. … The Bulldogs play their first four games at Sanford Stadium. … In addition to Bowers, C Sedrick Van Pran, LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson and S Malaki Starks made the AP’s preseason All-America team. … The Bulldogs are mourning the death of Sonny Seiler, who owned the school’s famed line of Uga mascots. Seiler died Monday at age 90 after a brief illness. His son Charles Seiler will be on the sidelines for the season opener with Uga XI. … UT-Martin is the OVC’s two-time reigning champions. … The Skyhawks went 7-4 a year ago, including a 5-0 mark in conference play. … UT-Martin has played 27 games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, with its lone win coming against Memphis in 2012.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll
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