Who are the Bulldogs to watch for the 2017 College Football Playoff Semifinal Rose Bowl game featuring Georgia versus Oklahoma?
D’ANDRE SWIFT (TB, #7)
What a freshman season this guy has had! The 5-9, 215-pound Swift is third on the Bulldog rushing list behind the senior duo of Nick Chubb (1,175 yards) and Sony Michel (948) with 597 yards and three touchdowns. Swift’s 8.2 yards-per-carry average is tops on the team among running backs and it was his explosive 64-yard touchdown run in the SEC championship game that put the exclamation point on the Dawgs’ 28-7 rout of Auburn. Several big runs from Swift in the Rose would be reminiscent of when another young running back, sophomore Charley Trippi, ran to MVP honors in Georgia’s last trip to Pasadena, on Jan. 1, 1943 when Georgia blanked UCLA 9-0 en route to the national title.
SAM PITTMAN (Offensive Line Coach)
In just his second year in Athens with head coach Kirby Smart, Pittman has quickly shaped the Bulldogs’ offensive line into one of the nation’s best. Georgia is second in the SEC in rushing yards per game with a 263.5 average, just behind Alabama’s 265 figure, and stands 11th in the nation in that category. It’s going to be imperative that the Bulldogs take it to the Oklahoma defense on the ground in the Rose Bowl showdown. A powerful ground game – like Georgia unveiled against Auburn – will not only keep the clock moving but will serve to keep Mayfield and the powerful Sooner offense on the sidelines for a good portion of the contest. Look for Sam Pittman to have his unit highly motivated for this one!
AARON DAVIS (STAR, #35)
Davis, a four-year starter in the Georgia secondary, has sparkled both at the Star and cornerback positions in his UGA career. This season, he is fourth on the team in tackles with 40 and has one interception and one sack to his credit. With his senior leadership, the 6-1, 195-pound Davis must inspire the Bulldog secondary to maybe its finest effort of the season as Georgia goes against 4,000-yard passer Baker Mayfield in the Rose Bowl semifinal playoff battle.
TERRY GODWIN (WR, #5)
Godwin, with a touchdown catch, a two-point PAT catch and another touchdown reception that was erased due to a penalty, came up big in the 28-7 SEC title win over Auburn. And this 5-11, 185-pound junior needs to have another big day in the famous Rose Bowl Stadium, so as to complement the Bulldogs’ powerful run game with a balanced passing attack. Godwin is Georgia’s No. 2 receiver this season behind senior Javon Wims with 29 catches for 540 yards and six touchdowns. You can bet Jake Fromm will be targeting No. 5 once again against the Sooner defense.
LORENZO CARTER (OLB, #7)
The 6-6, 243-pound Carter, who joined Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Davin Bellamy in returning for their senior season at UGA, has helped the Bulldogs win the 2017 SEC championship while ascending to No. 4 in the nation in total defense. Carter enters the Rose Bowl game third on the team in tackles behind Roquan Smith and J.R. Reed, with 47, and also has seven tackles-for-loss along with four sacks. With Georgia set to face Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield in the CFP semifinal game on Jan. 1, it will be crucial for Carter and fellow outside LB Bellamy to bring pressure on Mayfield all afternoon in Pasadena.
DAVIN BELLAMY (OLB, #17)
And, speaking of Bellamy, while Carter brings the heat on Mayfield off one edge, this 6-5, 245-pound senior must apply the pressure on Mayfield on the other edge … just as he did in the SEC championship game when he nailed Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and forced a fumble, which Roquan Smith recovered to help switch the momentum the Bulldogs’ way. If Bellamy, who has 29 tackles, 6 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks, Carter and the rest of the Georgia defensive front can’t constantly get in Mayfield’s face, it will be a tough afternoon for the Dawgs’ defense.
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