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PREVIEW: UGA prepares for another showdown with Top-10 team

UGA to play third Top-10 team of season

Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray warms up in front of head coach Mark Richt prior to a recent game. Murray needs 23 passing yards to pass Eric Zeier for second on Georgia’s all-time list. He is 397 yards behind career leader David Greene, who also holds the SEC record. (Reuters)

Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray warms up in front of head coach Mark Richt prior to a recent game. Murray needs 23 passing yards to pass Eric Zeier for second on Georgia’s all-time list. He is 397 yards behind career leader David Greene, who also holds the SEC record. (Reuters)

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LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers are 4-0 this season, but they haven’t seen a team the caliber of Georgia yet. (Reuters)

ATHENS — Another week means another huge showdown for Georgia.

The Bulldogs (2-1, 1-0 SEC) will face their third top-10 ranked opponent of the season when they play No. 6 LSU today at Sanford Stadium.

“It’s got to be some type of record to start off with three top-10 teams in the first four games,” Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. “But it’s been fun to play this type of game, in these atmospheres, against these teams.”

Georgia lost 38-35 in their season opener at No. 3 Clemson, then bounced back to beat No. 12 South Carolina 42-30 in its SEC opener (the Gamecocks were ranked sixth at the time the two schools played).

LSU presents another big test to Georgia’s young defense. The Tigers, under first-year offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, rank third in the SEC in scoring offense (43.2 points per game), fifth in pass offense (259.2 ypg) and sixth in total offense (480.2 ypg). Cameron is a former long-time NFL offensive coordinator who even served a year as an NFL head coach with the Miami Dolphins.

“We have an awful lot of respect for LSU, even more respect after watching them (beat Auburn 35-21) on TV last Saturday night,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “They look as good as ever.”

Another interesting storyline involves the return of LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger to Georgia. Mettenberger had enrolled at Georgia in 2009, but lost out in the starting quarterback competition to Murray and was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. After a year in junior college, Mettenberger enrolled at LSU in 2011.

Mettenberger has thrived this season, ranking second in the SEC in pass efficiency (behind Murray) with 10 TDs and just one interception.

Murray recalled the quarterback competition between himself and Mettenberger in the spring of 2010.

“Every day it was really back and forth in practice,” Murray said. “It was fun to watch … it was fireworks every day at practice. He’d go out there and make a throw, and I’d make a throw. It was back and forth.”

Richt said that Murray was a little more polished than Mettenberger coming out of high school.

“Zach, I think maybe every year of his life he was in a different system, at least from high school to college, and even this year, I don’t know if he’s gone two years in a row with the same offensive coordinator,” Richt said. “Zach had some catching up to do in some of those finer points. But his talent was obviously very evident. So both of those guys we felt like we could win with at Georgia.”