Jeff Dantzler’s five keys for a Dawg’s victory in Saturday’s Georgia vs. Tech game in Atlanta at Bobby Dodd Stadium; the 112th meeting of the in-state rivalry.
1. MAKE MARSHALL UNCOMFORTABLE:
The Yellow Jackets dynamic junior quarterback TaQuon Marshall is one of the best players in the country. At 5-10, 185-pound, he’s not big, but he’s fast, agile, quick, accurate, dangerous and can hide behind his linemen and be difficult to locate and corral. If Marshall can pick and choose when he keeps and runs, pitches, throws or hands off, the Bulldogs are in big trouble. Georgia’s defense must force him into decisions. He can still make plays under duress, but the defense has to put the pressure on Marshall or it very may well be Tech’s day.
2. WIN THE TRENCHES:
It starts up front. Especially against Tech. In the loss to Auburn, the Bulldogs got whipped along both lines of scrimmage. Georgia’s offensive line must move Ted Roof’s tough defensive front and open holes for the electric backs, and give plenty of time for the passing game. And then on defense, it is so tough for these big defensive linemen, and that Tech cut-blocking, going for the knees. But the Bulldogs have to get a push. It’s how Clemson beat Tech – with help from the rain – and the lethal triple option. The first step to slowing things down is stopping the fullback. The big uglies have to deliver on both sides.
3. SCORE, SCORE, SCORE:
The pressure is on the offense to essentially score every time. That Tech offense is so explosive. The Jackets can score quickly and of course eat up the clock. There may be only eight or nine possessions in the game for Georgia, and cashing in is a must. The Dogs need lots of touchdowns, and if they can’t find the end zone, Georgia has to make the kick. It may take scoring in the 40’s – or more – for Georgia to win. Turnovers must be avoided.
4. BRING THE FIRE:
The Bulldogs have been plagued by penalties this season, most notably in the 20-19 win at Notre Dame and in the loss to Auburn. Georgia has to come out jacked up and full of emotion, which is expected. But also the Bulldogs have to play with poise and composure. Drive real fast, but keep it in the lane. Of course there will be a lot of red in the crowd, and the team and fans must feed off one another.
5. KICKING GAME:
For a vast majority of the season, Georgia’s special teams has been sterling. Avoiding those dreaded Special Teams Disasters is a must. The Bulldogs must be on alert for fakes, pooch kicks and all sorts of trick plays. For the most part this season, Georgia hasn’t just gotten the push in the kicking game, the Bulldogs have been winning it. It’s going to take winning all three phases and the turnover battle to win the state championship – starting from the opening kick.
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