ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia has one non-conference game left before diving headlong into its SEC schedule next week against Vanderbilt. Here are five storylines to watch during Saturday night’s matchup between the Bulldogs (2-0) and Florida Atlantic (1-1).
1. Establishing the run
Georgia’s offensive line is still developing and this game provides a good opportunity for the Bulldogs to establish the run before taking on some better SEC defenses. Florida Atlantic surrendered 304 rushing yards last week in losing to Middle Tennessee and ranks 97th nationally against the run. Look for tailbacks Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and Ken Malcome to get lots of touches on Saturday.
2. Getting the starters out
Georgia is a 42-point favorite, so it should obviously have an easy time with the Owls. It would be best for the Bulldogs’ injury-riddled defense to take command early, allowing the starters who are nursing injuries -- key among them, All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones -- to watch from the sidelines with three key SEC East games ahead before their bye week.
3. Mitchell on offense
Georgia’s plan to deploy sophomore Malcolm Mitchell on both offense and defense hit a road block when his sprained ankle kept him from playing in the opener and limited him to cornerback only last week against Missouri. Coach Mark Richt said he would like for Mitchell -- a Freshman All-SEC receiver a season ago -- to get his first taste of offense this week against FAU. Even if it’s only for a few plays.
4. It’s personal for Richt
Located in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic is less than two miles away from the house where Georgia coach Mark Richt lived in college. The man who established the FAU program and was its only coach until this season, Howard Schnellenberger, was Richt’s college coach at Miami.
5. Russ’ coronation
Georgia’s English bulldog mascot, Russ, will shed the interim tag before Saturday’s game and officially assume the title of “Uga IX” during a special ceremony about 11 minutes before kickoff. Russ served as Georgia’s interim mascot in portions of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons before the university announced prior to this season that he would become full-time mascot. Georgia has a 16-9 record in games where Russ has served as mascot.