Missouri to test Georgia defense's fill-ins

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia will be without All-America free safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree for perhaps the game where they can least afford for them to be absent. Saturday night’s visit to Missouri pits the Bulldogs against perhaps the most explosive offense they will face all season -- and they’ll do so without four defensive starters.

Georgia coach Mark Richt announced weeks ago that starting cornerback Sanders Commings and outside linebacker Chase Vasser would be suspended for the first two games and now ESPN.com has confirmed that Rambo and Ogletree will join them on the suspended list as continued punishment for failing offseason drug tests.

All four players started games last season -- Commings started all 14, in fact, and Rambo started 13 after being suspended for the opener against Boise State -- and would have played key roles against Missouri’s passing attack.

Now Georgia will turn to players with far less experience, which certainly must alarm Bulldogs fans after last Saturday’s uneven performance against Buffalo. The Bulls accumulated 70 plays for 347 yards in their 45-23 loss to Georgia, and now the Bulldogs must prepare to face a Missouri team that rolled to a 62-10 win last week against Southeastern Louisiana -- and before an electrified crowd expected to show for the Tigers’ first game as a member of the SEC.

The Bulldogs do expect to get sophomore cornerback Malcolm Mitchell back from a sprained ankle that forced him out of the Buffalo game. But the replacements for the suspended stars -- free safety Connor Norman, cornerbacks Damian Swann and Devin Bowman and inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera -- will be in for the challenge of their young careers against the James Franklin-led Missouri offense that ranked 12th nationally in total offense (475.54 yards per game) last season.