1 – Turnovers – This has been the bugaboo for the Bulldogs. Georgia is on the bad end of the turnover battle. The Bulldogs are in the midst of a great season, but to arrive at the ultimate destination, this is a script that must be flipped. There’s nothing that opens the door for an upset opportunity like turnovers and winning special teams. The longer the underdog hangs around, the more the underdog believes. Self-inflicted wounds open the upset door. Winning the turnover battle would set the stage for a state championship victory for Georgia and set the stage for what lies ahead.
2 – Kicking Game – There have been highs, there have been some miscues in the kicking game this season. Most teams in the country can say that. Falling victim to a fake punt, a surprise on-sides kick, losing a turnover in the kicking game or allowing a touchdown return are the types of things that can lift the Jackets upset chances. In 2018, there was a kickoff return for a touchdown In 2019, the Bulldogs fumbled a punt. Georgia would win those games decisively, but those types of mistakes – especially a turnover in the kicking game – can swing the game. If Georgia can win the turnover and special teams battles, the Bulldogs victory chances skyrocket.
3 – Pressure the QB – This is a list topper for every defense every game. Make that opposing quarterback uncomfortable. The Jackets have been hit by injuries at quarterback. Zach Gibson is the likely starter behind center, and the Bulldogs defensive line will aim to set the tone up front against the pass and run. There are play-makers on the perimeter. Dominating in the trenches is a must every week. Kirby Smart’s defense can make the difference Saturday if that front can get to the Yellow Jackets signal caller.
4 – Strike Offensively – Cash in, make the throws and the catches, protect the football and score touchdowns in the red zone. Bulldogs’ head coach Kirby Smart emphasizes finding creative ways to run the football. Making the throws, utilizing the check-downs, and “matriculating the ball down the field” is a recipe for success. Missed opportunities open the door for the underdog. Getting seven – or at least three – is essential for the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon.
5 -Bring the Fire – Dating back to 2008, Georgia and the Yellow Jackets have played six times in Athens. Both teams have won three times. The Yellow Jackets pulled off come from behind upsets in 2008, 2014 and 2016. Since 2017, under Kirby Smart’s watch, Georgia has won four straight over the Jackets, with three of the wins coming at Grant Field. There are championships at stake. Winning the state championship is tops of the list en route to the ultimate goal. The Bulldogs need a raucous throng on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium and a focused and fired up football team to take down the Jackets. Fueling one another, Georgia must take the fight to the Jackets to make this winning Saturday and stymie the Jackets dream-crushing upset bid.