Dawgs try to get going against Tide

Mark Richt

ATHENS – Television executives decided Sunday that Georgia isn't worthy of the big stage this week.

And who can blame them? The No. 22 Bulldogs proved nothing in beating Western Carolina 45-16 Saturday and still are searching for themselves heading into this week's game against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The game will kick off at 7:45 p.m. and be televised by ESPN after CBS decided Sunday to show LSU-South Carolina in its 3:30 p.m. time slot.

"We all know how important it is to get it going," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We have actually won a tiebreaker with two losses in the league, but that doesn't happen very often."

Alabama got going late Saturday night, upsetting Arkansas 41-38 on a 4-yard touchdown pass from John Parker Wilson to Matt Caddell with eight seconds left. The Crimson Tide (3-0, 2-0 SEC) went from unranked to No. 16 in the country and were listed as a 3.5-point favorite over the Bulldogs on Sunday night.

"Momentum, that's the word, and they've got it right now," Richt said. "It's hard to get it started sometimes, but once you get it rolling, it's really very difficult to slow down so that's going to be our challenge."

Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC) is entering the game not from a complete stop but at a very modest pace. The Bulldogs head into their first road game of the year without a win they can hang their hat on and with their earliest notch in the loss column in six years.

"A lot will be learned for sure because we just haven't played away from home for one," Richt said. "You don't worry about that much with a veteran team, but there are an awful lot of guys who will be playing away from home for the first time."

Georgia has shown positive glimpses, such as Saturday's second quarter, when quarterback Matthew Stafford led three straight touchdown drives while at one point completing consecutive passes of 22, 17, 8, 15, 24, 18 and 23 yards.

"That's a big deal for us, just making the ordinary play, trying to keep drives alive and completing balls," Stafford said. "There are still opportunities for plays to be made and we need to do it."

The Catamounts, who lost 52-6 to Alabama in the first game of the year, gave a slight edge to Georgia after seeing both teams in person.

"I think Georgia is a little more skilled than Alabama," Western Carolina coach Kent Briggs.

"Alabama was great," quarterback Todd Spitzer said, "but Georgia was faster and stronger."

However, both those comments were made before Alabama's Saturday night win.

"When you have a win like that, it gives you a lot of confidence that you can handle adversity," Richt said. "Those kind of game does nothing but give a team confidence they can handle just about any situation."

What he wouldn't give for his own team to have that feeling.

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