Georgia tries to avoid Arkansas-like upset vs FAU

Associated Press Modified: September 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm •  Published: September 14, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — If Georgia was planning to take the week off, coach Mark Richt merely had to throw out two words to get his players' attention.

Louisiana-Monroe.

Yes, the No. 7 Bulldogs are a huge favorite for Saturday night's game against Florida Atlantic, but Arkansas was in essentially the same position a week ago. Look what happened there — Louisiana-Monroe pulled off a shocking 34-31 upset, knocking the Razorbacks, who had been ranked right behind Georgia, all the way out of the Associated Press poll.

"We know where we want to be, and we know what we have to do to get there," said John Jenkins, the Bulldogs' massive nose guard. "That means not taking any team lightly."

Georgia's resolve will be tested this week. Florida Atlantic (1-1) has just two victories in the last 22 months, and one of those was an ugly 7-3 win over lower-division Wagner in the season opener.

The Bulldogs (2-0) opened as a 44½-point favorite.

Florida Atlantic is essentially playing this game for the money. The Owls will receive $1 million from Georgia, and another $1 million payout next week to get beaten by ... uh, to play top-ranked Alabama.

"I don't think it's good for college football, but I understand the reality of why schools have to play those games," said Carl Pelini, Florida Atlantic's first-year coach. "What I think was irresponsible of this scheduling was ... that Georgia is not in any way shape or form similar to any of our opponents in the Sun Belt. What happens is you end up preparing for that game and there is not any carry-over into your conference play."

Georgia is coming off an impressive 41-20 win at Missouri, dominating the second half to ruin the Tigers' Southeastern Conference debut.

The Bulldogs showed off a four-receiver set that gave quarterback Aaron Murray plenty of options. Bouncing back from a tough start, he wound up completing 22 of 35 for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Marlon Brown had eight catches for 106 yards and a pair of TDs. Michael Bennett also had eight receptions, while Tavarres King hauled in the other score.

"I think the best position on our team is receiver," Murray said. "They create such huge mismatches. When you have four guys out there, there's not a lot of teams that have that many DBs that can cover our guys. We legitimately have four, five, six guys who could start anywhere in the country. And they're playing at all times for us."

On the other side of the line, the Bulldogs are led by outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who demolished Missouri with perhaps the best game of his college career. He had nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception (which he nearly brought back for a touchdown), and pressured the quarterback five times.

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