Bee hatch

Georgia No. 2 looks to continue strong start against Samford

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Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) goes on the run in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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Samford (1-0) vs. No. 2 Georgia (1-0), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (SEC Network)

Line: No line according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Georgia leads 1-0.

WHAT IS AT STAKE?

A week before their Southeastern Conference opener against South Carolina, Georgia will be looking to continue to gain ground in their 2021 national championship defense. After last week’s lopsided 49-3 rout of the time. 11 Oregon, the Bulldogs and their fans could be in a celebratory mood for their home opener, so a visit from FCS Samford could be a test of focus, if not skill. Samford entered the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 at No. 25 with a win over Kennesaw State.

KEY MATCH

Georgian defensive backs Kelee Ringo and Christopher Smith against Samford WR Kendall Watson. Ringo and Smith, who had an interception last week, are two of only three returning starters on a defense that has lost eight NFL Draft picks, including five in the first round. The secondary should be busy against Samford’s passing game. Watson had nine receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns against Kennesaw State.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Samford: QB Michael Hiers, a junior college transfer making his first start, completed 18 of 24 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns against Kennesaw State. Yesterdays threw two assists to Chandler Smith in addition to the two touchdowns to Watson.

Georgia: RB Kenny McIntosh was busy as a receiver in the season opener as a starting running back. McIntosh set career highs with nine catches for 117 yards and added five carries for 18 yards and a touchdown against Oregon.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Chris Hatcher, then a Valdosta State coach, hired Georgia coach Kirby Smart for his first coaching job, as defensive backs coach, in 2000. Georgia defensive co-coordinator Will Muschamp was the defensive coordinator for this Valdosta State staff. … Samford was one of the college options for Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett before deciding to walk to Georgia in 2017. … Bennett had a career-high 368 yards with two touchdowns last week and was named Walter National Camp FBS Offensive Player of the Week. … Hatcher, also a former Murray State and Georgia Southern coach, is 41-36 in his eighth season at Samford. His passing offense “Hatch Attack” ranked ninth among FCS schools last season.

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This story was originally published September 8, 2022 9:29 a.m.