August 31, 2017

Appalachian State (10-3 in 2016) at No. 15 Georgia (8-5), Saturday 6:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Georgia by 14+.

Series record: Georgia leads 1-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Coming off a so-so debut season under coach Kirby Smart, Georgia opens against a dangerous Appalachian State team that has won 21 games the last two years, including bowl wins each season. The Mountaineers lost in overtime against the Southeastern Conference's Tennessee in 2016. The Bulldogs need a strong showing to build confidence for sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason, heading into next week's trip to Notre Dame.

KEY MATCHUP

Georgia TBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel vs. Appalachian State's defense. Chubb had a strong preseason in his second year after a severe knee injury in 2015. The two seniors have combined for three 1,000-yard seasons. App State allowed only 17.8 points per game last season. Smart says the Bulldogs won't face a defense with more speed this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Appalachian State: Junior RB Jalin Moore was the 2016 Sun Belt offensive player of the year even though he began the season as a backup. Moore led the conference with 1,402 yards rushing, topping 100 yards in eight of the final 10 games. He ran for 10 touchdowns.

Georgia: Eason's teammates say the sophomore is more confident this season. He threw for under 170 yards in each of the Bulldogs' last three games in 2016, and better production from the passing game would help to clear running room for Chubb and Michel. Smart said there is no plan to create playing time for freshman quarterback Jake Fromm.

FACTS & FIGURES

Appalachian State QB Taylor Lamb's 27 career wins rank second among active quarterbacks, trailing only Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield. ... In the teams' only previous meeting, Georgia won 45-6 in 2013. ... Chubb and Michel combined for 1,970 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns last season. ... Chubb ranks fifth among career active rushers with 3,424 yards. It is the second-highest total in school history, behind 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker. ... Georgia lost three starting offensive linemen from 2016. Freshman Andrew Thomas is expected to start at right tackle.

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

You May Like