Preview: Mizzou vs. Georgia

Following its first bye week of the season, Mizzou Football (4-1 overall, 1-0 in SEC play) returns to action this Saturday to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in The ZOU in its 2014 SEC home opener. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT and will be broadcast nationally on CBS.

Mizzou vs. Georgia in History

Saturday’s Mizzou-Georgia game will be just the fourth meeting between the two schools on the gridiron, with UGA leading the series 2-1 heading into Saturday’s SEC East matchup.

The Tigers and Bulldogs first met in the 1960 Orange Bowl, the first of three trips to Miami, Fla., made by legendary coach Dan Devine’s Mizzou squads. It was Mizzou’s second appearance in the prestigious New Year’s Day bowl and the first of two consecutive Orange Bowl appearances. Georgia came out on top 14-0 on Jan. 1, 1960, but Mizzou brought the bowl of oranges back to Columbia, Mo., a year later by edging Navy 21-14 in the 1961 Sunshine State showdown.

Mizzou and Georgia didn’t face off for the next 51 years, but that hiatus was broken on Sept. 8, 2012, when the Bulldogs traveled to The Zou for the Tigers’ first-ever league game as members of the Southeastern Conference. Georgia pulled away late in the schools’ inaugural bout as SEC foes, and then in 2013, Mizzou handled the Bulldogs in a 41-26 defeat in Athens. Maty Mauk saw his first significant playing time as a Tiger when he entered the game late in the third quarter for an injured James Franklin, and Bud Sasser threw a 40-yard touchdown on the redshirt freshman’s first possession to recapture the momentum for Mizzou and propel the Tigers to victory.

Difference Makers

Sasser is having a career year, as his 30 receptions, 442 yards, and four touchdowns all rank third in the SEC.

Russell Hansbrough‘s six rushing TDs on the season are the second-highest total in the conference.

On the defensive side of the ball, the pass rush has been ferocious. Mizzou has 18 sacks through just five games and leads the SEC in total yards lost on sacks. Shane Ray’s eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss lead the nation, and he’s registered at least one sack in all five of Mizzou’s contests this season.

“Georgia is a very good football team,” Pinkel said at Media Day on Monday. “I have great respect for head coach Mark Richt and the job he has done there. It’s a lot about playing our best football Saturday and playing against a really good football team. We’re excited about being back at Mizzou at 11 o’clock on Saturday. Everybody wear gold out there and crank it up.”

Kickoff for the Mizzou-Georgia game is set for 11 a.m. CT on CBS. Mizzou Football will post live updates on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook throughout the game, and fans can also listen in via Tiger Network radio affiliates.