Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota. The redshirt freshman has never played in a college game. He beat out Bryan Bennett for the starter’s job during fall camp. Most fans had never seen Mariota before the spring game, when he completed 18 of 26 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 99 yards and two scores _ including an 82-yard scoring run _ to lead his team to a 41-14 victory.
FACTS & FIGURES
Malzahn was offensive coordinator for Auburn when the Tigers defeated Oregon 22-19 in the BCS championship game two seasons ago. … The Red Wolves are coming off a 10-3 season during which they went 8-0 in Sun Belt Conference play. … Barner needs 74 all-purpose yards to pass Ahmad Rashad for eighth on the Ducks’ all-time list. … Oregon is the only Pac-12 school to average 40-plus points per game in consecutive seasons. … Oregon coach Chip Kelly is 34-6 as head coach of the Ducks…. It will be the first time that the Red Wolves have played in the state of Oregon, and also the first time the team has faced a Pac-12 school.
Buffalo at No. 6 Georgia, 12:21 p.m., SEC Network.
Line: Georgia by 37 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Georgia, which opens its Southeastern Conference schedule on Sept. 8 at Missouri, needs to build momentum while breaking in three new starting offensive linemen, plus a new rotation at tailback and former walk-on Merritt Hall at fullback. Ken Malcome and freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are expected to share the snaps at tailback. The committee is replacing 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year Isaiah Crowell, who was dismissed following a weapons charge and transferred to Alabama State. Georgia also must play through at least two suspensions on defense.
Due to suspensions, Georgia’s defense will be short-handed against running back Branden Oliver, who set a Buffalo record with 1,395 yards rushing with 13 touchdowns last season. Georgia has announced two-game suspensions for cornerback Sanders Commings and backup linebacker Chase Vasser. Coach Mark Richt hasn’t confirmed if All-America free safety Bacarri Rambo and starting inside linebacker Alec Ogletree also will be suspended.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Buffalo: QB Alex Zordich, the son of former NFL safety Michael Zordich, takes over as the Bulls’ starting quarterback. Zordich threw 12 passes in four games last season but played more as a freshman when he passed for 428 yards and ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia: QB Aaron Murray begins the season only 13 TD passes behind David Greene’s school career record of 72. Murray set a single-season record with 35 TD passes in 2011, 10 more than Matthew Stafford’s old mark set in 2008.
FACTS & FIGURESView Entire Story
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