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Georgia makes statement but its got a lot of work ahead

September, 21, 2008
9/21/08
2:51
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

TEMPE, Ariz. -- I watched USC brutalize Ohio State. And I've now watched Georgia manhandle Arizona State.

 
  AP Photo/Paul Connors
 Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno showed once again he is one of the best in the nation Saturday night.

The obvious question is: Who's better?

Heck if I know.

But if I had to guess, I'd take USC.

That seemed to be the consensus opinion among a couple of other reporters I talked to who had covered both games.

Say what you want about Ohio State, but it's laden with NFL players and few folks would pick the Sun Devils to beat the Buckeyes.

That said: If the Bulldogs go undefeated against a schedule that includes Alabama (next Saturday), LSU, Florida and Auburn, the sight test won't matter because they will have passed the "do test."

That's a big if, which is probably why Georgia coach Mark Richt didn't want to start lobbying for respect just yet, even though his team, ranked No. 1 in the preseason, has dropped two spot in the polls while watching everyone fall in love with the Trojans.

"I wasn't really worried about making a statement," Richt said. "I just wanted to win the game."

Georgia has one of the slickest running backs in the nation in Knowshon Moreno. QB Matt Stafford owns the best arm I've seen since Carson Palmer. Freshman wide receiver A.J. Green looks ready for his close-up, too.

And the defense? Its linebackers are fast and its front four is physical. The secondary is above-average.

The defense is great against the run. It entered the game surrendering 59.7 yards rushing per game and held the Sun Devils to an embarrassing four yards on the ground.

The Bulldogs struggled to pressure opposing QBs, but the one-dimensional Sun Devils made things predictable and Georgia had four sacks.

However, be forewarned Dawgs fans: It's unlikely Georgia will face any more offensive lines with as many issues as ASU, at least not in its marquee games ahead.

Of course, Georgia isn't exactly dominant on its offensive line, and that youth -- two freshmen and two sophomores started -- that played fairly well against ASU, probably will find the going rougher against SEC front-sevens.

Or USC's front seven, should those teams hook in a some sort of game, you know, down the line.

While this game made a statement -- Georgia took care of business a long way from home against a quality opponent -- the Bulldogs don't need to fret about what sort of message they're sending.

Against this schedule, just winning makes a statement.

"We obviously know the prettier it is, the more people are going to look at it," Stafford said. "But we don't look at it like that... We definitely haven't arrived."

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