ATHENS, Ga. — On a rugged early-season schedule, this one has romp written it all over it for Georgia.
Nobody will confuse North Texas with the top-10 teams the preceded it on the Bulldogs’ slate (Clemson and South Carolina) or will follow next week (Louisiana State).
The Mean Green is a 32½ point underdog. That’s actually less than the 37 points Michigan was favored to beat Akron by last week.
The Zips nearly upset the Wolverines, who thwarted a pass attempt at the end zone on the game’s last play to avoid a shocker.
Richt brought up that Michigan game to reporters earlier this week.
“I don’t know what their mindset was going into the game, but I know what it was I’m sure when the game was over,” Richt said. “Everybody needs to line up and get ready to play ball.”
That’s the same message he delivered early this week to his players when he used that game as an example.
“I’ll probably mention it to them again before it’s over,” he said after practice Wednesday.
Georgia had last weekend off, so there’s some sentiment just to get back on the field and pick up where it left off after the crucial win against South Carolina that avoided an 0-2 start to the season.
“It’s hard having a bye week when you’re feeling good, so we’re excited to get back out there and play another game right now,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “I could care less who we’re playing. We’re just excited to get out there and play.”
North Texas (2-1) has ventured into SEC stadiums in recent seasons.
The Mean Green were beaten 41-14 by a top-ranked LSU team to open last season and 41-0 at then No. 2 Alabama in 2011.
Kansas State, ranked 14th at the time, was pushed at home by North Texas in 2012, holding just a 14-13 lead in the third quarter before pulling away for a 35-21 win.
“They’ve already played in some big games,” Georgia defensive lineman Garrison Smith said. “This game isn’t going to be nothing to them. We’ve got to be prepared.”
“I feel like we need to concentrate a little bit more than (against) a top-10 team,” said Georgia safety Connor Norman. “These are the dangerous games.”
Georgia is expected to win big. North Texas is expected to get crushed and say thank you for its $975,000 guarantee for playing the game.
“I’m sure they’re licking their chops, man,” Norman said. “They’re ready to go. They’ve got nothing to lose.”
Georgia’s last game against a Conference USA team didn’t go so well.
Central Florida beat the Bulldogs 10-6 in the Liberty Bowl in 2010.
The Mean Green defensive coordinator is John Skladany, who was linebackers coach for UCF when it beat the Bulldogs. Georgia receiver Rantavious Wooten learned that when he did research on this week’s opponent.
North Texas does have a win against a ranked opponent back in 1974 when it beat No. 20 San Diego State. It’s lost its other 43 games against ranked foes.
“Just because they’re not an SEC team,” linebacker Amarlo Herrera said, “doesn’t mean they’re not going to come in here and play hard.”