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Insider

Five storylines: Missouri Tigers

9/6/2012

1. Will the spread offense hold up against an SEC defense? Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Saturday’s game is the clash of cultures between Missouri’s James Franklin-led offense and Georgia’s prototypical smashmouth defense. Missouri got off to a fast start with a 62-point, 452-yard outburst last week against Southeastern Louisiana, while Georgia’s defense did not have its best day in the opener against Buffalo, allowing 23 points and 347 yards.

2. Can Missouri make something happen in the return game? Marcus Murphy returned two punts for touchdowns last week and Georgia was atrocious at defending kick returns a season ago. The Bulldogs focused heavily on improving in that area during the offseason and did a decent job last week against Buffalo.

3. How will an enthusiastic crowd affect the game? Some Missouri fans say this is the biggest home game in school history and believe the crowd will bring never-before-seen energy to a game in Columbia. Georgia has played in plenty of bigger SEC stadiums during key games, but Tigers fans hope the electricity on an historic evening will help charge up their team on the field.

4. Is Missouri’s defense physical enough to defend Georgia’s running game? Just as the Tigers’ offensive attack is something Georgia hasn’t seen much, the Bulldogs’ physical pro-style offense is also a fairly unusual matchup for Missouri’s defense. The Tigers expect to defend the run well and the Bulldogs’ play-action looks will be a good first test.

5. How healthy are the Tigers? It has been common knowledge for some time that tailback Henry Josey and left guard Travis Ruth would be out, but what about some of the other injured Tigers? Senior right guard Jack Meiners and linebacker Will Ebner -- both key veterans -- are listed as questionable, although Ebner has publicly insisted he will be ready to play.