Georgia-Clemson Preview CapsuleBy The Associated Press , Associated Press
Aug. 29, 2013 4:41 PM ET
No. 5 Georgia at No. 8 Clemson, 8 p.m. (ABC)
Line: Georgia by 1 1-2
Series Record: Georgia leads 41-17-4
WHAT'S AT STAKE:
The opener could set a tone for both teams: Victory could propel a national title run; defeat could lead to bigger problems down the line. Georgia went 12-2 last year and came a few yards short of playing in the BCS title game instead of Alabama. Clemson was 11-2 and got its most victories in a season since winning the school's lone national championship in 1981.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray against Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd. The two seniors returned for their final seasons instead of jumping to the NFL because Murray and Boyd wanted a final chance at taking a title. Murray has started 41 straight games for the Bulldogs. Boyd has started the past 27 games for the Tigers. Both are considered Heisman Trophy contenders.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Georgia: RB Todd Gurley has to be effective if the Bulldogs want to control Clemson's fast-paced offense. If Gurley and backfield partner Keith Marshall can keep the first downs coming on the ground for Georgia, Boyd won't get to ignite the Tigers attack.
Clemson: WR Sammy Watkins is seeking a return to his All-American freshman season two years earlier. Injuries, illness and a two-game suspension kept Watkins from getting up to speed last season and he had 25 fewer catches and nine fewer touchdowns than in 2011.
FACTS & FIGURES
Clemson and Georgia are about two hours apart geographically, yet have not played since 2003 when QB David Greene led the Bulldogs to a 30-0 victory at Death Valley. Georgia has won the last five in the series with the Tigers last victory coming in 1990. ... The Tigers are 4-1 against SEC opponents other than South Carolina since Dabo Swinney took over as coach midway through the 2008 season. Clemson is 1-4 against the Gamecocks in Swinney's tenure. ... Georgia has lost two of its past four openers, falling to Oklahoma State in 2009 and Boise State in 2011. .... Clemson has won four straight season openers, including a year ago against Auburn in the Georgia Dome. The last time Clemson opened as a top-10 team in 2008, it lost its first game to Alabama at the Georgia Dome.