1 – Pressure – Cue the Billy Joel. Georgia must pressure the passer. With Mike Leach’s high octane offense, the Maroons from Mississippi State will throw it all over Sanford Stadium. Georgia’s defensive front must make either K.J. Costello or Will Rogers uncomfortable. In the Bulldogs losses, Georgia has given up a lot of points and yards through the air. There might not be an outbreak of sacks, especially if Leach calls for a bevy of quick passes, but the Bulldogs have to find a way to get the MSU offense out of its comfort zone.
2 – Make Plays in the Air – When the ball is thrown, Georgia’s defensive backs have to make the plays. Not having Richard LeCounte has been a huge blow, and then the injury bug continued to bite. Eric Stokes has a pair of interception returns for touchdowns this season – at Arkansas and against Florida. It might be greedy to ask for a pick six. But, an interception or two. Or three. And some pass deflections are essential to a victory over MSU.
3 – Run it Strong – Georgia’s offensive line, almost completely retooled this year under Matt Luke’s watch, has done an outstanding job. The Bulldogs will need for the big men up front to lean on Mississippi State and get those Georgia running backs in a rhythm. The Bulldogs have first rate talent at running back. These are the standouts who can move the chains and strike paydirt. Georgia could use a lift from the quarterback in the running game, slowing down the pursuit, and opening more opportunities for those backs.
4 – Win the Kicking Game – Georgia has had some shining moments on special teams this season. With the offensive issues, not displaying a lot of explosiveness thus far, there isn’t a lot of margin for error. More on that below. Georgia has made big plays in the return game, and there is talent at both kicker and punter. Field position, hidden yardage and capitalizing on scoring opportunities, the Bulldogs need it all.
5 – Turnovers – Hot take, gotta win the turnover battle. Any coach in the history of football would tell you before a game, this is the most crucial area to win. No team wants to give away possessions. The Bulldogs can’t afford to do it. Getting on the right side of the turnover margin is one of the biggest steps Georgia can take for a strong close to the home stretch of the 2020 campaign. Of course a lot of that comes back to this – throw when you want to, not when you have to.