Bulldawg Illustrated intern Savannah Richardson, a senior in the Grady College of Journalism at UGA, takes a look 2017 College Football Playoff Semifinal game between Georgia and Oklahoma. Who gets ‘The Bone’ for having the edge in the Rose Bowl semifinal?
OFFENSE DAWG BONE: OKLAHOMA
Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield has produced one fantastic career at Oklahoma. The Sooners average 367.4 passing yards a game and 215.9 rushing yards. Mayfield must continue what he’s done all season, and that is pass the ball well. He completes 71% of his passes, and don’t expect anything less in Pasadena. Oklahoma leads the nation in total offense and ranks third nationally in scoring and passing offense. Look for Mayfield to throw to his two favorite targets, Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown, who are both yards away from having 1,000 receiving yards apiece. If Mayfield gets into a rhythm, it will be a long day for the Bulldogs.
DEFENSE DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia’s defense ranks as one of the best in the country. The Bulldogs have the nation’s No. 2 pass defense, No. 4 total defense, and No. 3 scoring defense. Georgia allows opponents to score just 13.2 points per game, and give up 158.3 in the air and 270.9 total. Mayfield hasn’t faced a defense of this caliber this season with the toughest defense being TCU that ranks No. 19 nationally in total defense.
Oklahoma average 44.9 points a game, but don’t expect to them to put up that many against Georgia. With weapons like Roquan Smith, the Butkus award winner, there will be plenty of Georgia jerseys in the Sooners backfield. The Bulldogs must force turnovers and put pressure on Mayfield to keep themselves in the game. If Georgia stops them, the team will be on its way to a national championship.
SPECIAL TEAMS DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Georgia receives the special team’s Dawg Bone because of Rodrigo Blankenship and Mecole Hardman. Blankenship has kicked 60 touchbacks this season, which forces teams to start deep in its territory. His ability to keep opponents offenses on its side of the field allows Georgia’s defense to create havoc. Hardman’s hungry for a touchdown return, and it’s only a matter of time before he runs for one. Oklahoma opponents average 15.7 per punt, so expect Hardman to take advantage of it. He will put Georgia in excellent field position, which could be a deciding factor in this game.
COACHING DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
Kirby Smart in his second season has led Georgia to the Playoff and to win the SEC title for the first time since 2005. His coaching helped his team to beat every opponent that it lost to last season, and conquered the only team that defeated them this season. If any coach knows how to win a championship, it’s Kirby Smart. As someone who’s coached under one of the best college football coaches ever (Nick Saban), Kirby knows how to prepare for the big game. Smart’s been in this situation before and will have Georgia ready to face the Sooners.
OVERALL DAWG BONE: GEORGIA
The Bulldogs receive the overall Dawg Bone because they have nothing to lose. It’s the team’s first appearance in the College Football Playoff, and it will be one intense game. Georgia is peaking at the right time, and has the perfect opportunity to head to its first national title game since 1982. Thirty plus years has been a long slog for the Bulldogs, and it feels like this team has a purpose to end the drought. Like the old saying goes, ‘defense wins championships’ but in this case, defense wins the semi-finals.
out mad and ready to eat some Tiger meat.
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