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Georgia coach Kirby Smart talks with defensive lineman Warren Brinson (97) during the NCAA college football team's G-Day game Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Athens, Ga. (Jason Getz/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Smart, Georgia return to Athens

Georgia v. Samford, or: David v. Goliath.

The defending FBS champions against the 25th-ranked FCS program.

That’s the tale of the tape heading into Saturday’s matchup between Georgia and Samford at Sanford Stadium. Although both teams share the same mascot, a bulldog, the clash promises to be everything but a dogfight.

Mighty Georgia Looks to Continue Dominant Run

Georgia rose to No. 2 in the AP Top-25 poll after overpowering then-No. 11 Oregon, 49-3, on Sept. 3. The statement win moved UGA past Ohio State in the rankings after the Buckeyes struggled during the first half of their opening matchup against Notre Dame.

In Georgia’s opening game, senior quarterback Stetson Bennett had a superb performance with 368 rushing yards and two touchdowns against a solid PAC-12 defense. Junior running back Kendall Milton also had a solid season debut with 50 rushing yards and a touchdown in eight attempts.

Offensively, the Bulldogs totaled 571 total yards — 9.2 per play — to establish themselves as one of the top offensive teams in the nation. Their efficient quarterback, in addition to a solid defensive core, positions Georgia as the favorite in almost every game. Despite the solid performance, head coach Kirby Smart is confident his team will need to continue making adjustments to stay at the top of the standings.

Those high expectations will be put to the test on Saturday as Georgia returns to its home stadium for the first time this season. The Bulldogs opened their season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, 71 miles away from campus, so players are excited to finally play at home, according to Smart.

Inspired Samford has Nothing to Lose

Samford is coming off a 27-17 win over Kennesaw State on Sept. 1. During the game, junior quarterback Michael Hiers had a breakout performance with 289 passing yards and four touchdowns.

His performance, which earned him Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors, led Samford to a come-from-behind win after being down 7-0 in the first quarter. Offensively, the Bulldogs dominated KSU with 402 total yards despite only having 21 minutes of possession. This time, however, Hiers and the Bulldogs will face an elite defense that held Oregon to only three points and 313 yards.

But not all hope is lost for Samford. Last season, the Bulldogs scored six touchdowns in the first half of a 70-52 loss against Florida in The Swamp.

Samford will certainly hope to repeat last year’s performance, but this time, with a different score.

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