This is the first real test for John Parker Wilson after winning against three non-conference opponents and a banged up SEC Arkansas team.
If Alabama can establish the running game, look for Wilson to be able to throw down the field with more confidence.
After coming off of a 7-6 record in 2007, Wilson has shown more poise staying in the pocket, and has made better decisions when throwing down field. In 2007, Wilson threw for 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Through the first four games this year, Wilson has thrown for five touchdowns with only one interception. In last year’s 26-23 loss to Georgia, Wilson was 17-35 for 185 yards, and no touchdowns.
Wilson will face a strong Georgia defense that comes into the game giving up 13.75 points a game.
Alabama’s Glenn Coffee and Mark Ingram have helped the Tide return to an offense that runs first, and passes later.
Ingram has rushed for an average of 6.1 yards per carry, and has four touchdowns. Coffee has rushed for 8.6 yards per carry, including an average of 16.2 yards per SEC opponents. Coffee has scored two touchdowns, and has Alabama’s longest run this year with a carry of 82 yards.
If the Tide can’t establish the running game, Wilson will likely have problems with the stout Georgia defense.
Against Tulane, with Andre Smith and Marlon Davis on the sidelines with injuries, the Tide could not establish dominance on the offensive line. Wilson was 11-23 for only 73 yards and was sacked four times.
Stafford has had some success over the Crimson Tide. In last year’s win, Stafford was 19-35 for 224 yards. Stafford threw two touchdowns and was also intercepted twice.
Georgia comes into the game running an offense very similar to that of Alabama. Knowshon Moreno is averaging 6.6 yards a carry and has already scored nine touchdowns on the season through four games.
Overall Stafford has looked more effective than Wilson. He has thrown for five touchdowns and no interceptions and 919 yards, while Wilson has thrown for 542.
Stafford also has a QB passer rating of 152.64 compared to Wilson’s 123.42.
Stafford is up against one of the top defenses in the country in Alabama. The Tide has only allowed an average of 9.25 points a game, and has outscored their opponent 64-0 in the first quarter of those games.
This game will play a large factor in whether or not these quarterbacks get their first chance to play in an SEC Championship game, and possibly the National Championship.
Stafford lead Georgia to a 10 win season in 2007, but did not play in the SEC Championship game despite having a higher BCS ranking because of a loss to Tennessee early in the season.
Under Wilson’s tenure, Alabama has not been close to playing in the SEC Championship game. A win over Georgia would make Alabama a strong contender to represent the SEC West, but Wilson still has to play LSU and Tennessee on the road, as well as Auburn, a team he has yet to defeat.
Stay tuned for this one Saturday, September 27, with the Tide visiting the Dawgs 'between the hedges' in Athens. Georgia will wear the alternate black jerseys for just the third time ever in the regular season.
Kick off is set for 6:45 p.m. (CDT) and will televise nationally by ESPN, with Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline reporter).