1 – Turnovers – Georgia has been up and down with turnovers this season. Like any team, when the Bulldogs have won the turnover battle, the nation’s top-ranked team has been tough to beat. When the Dogs have struggled with turnovers, they have been vulnerable. The Missouri game certainly comes to mind. If a team goes plus-two, it figures to make the difference in who wins. In the Bulldogs previous two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season, Georgia won the turnover battle against Oregon in the season-opening 49-3 victory over the Duck, and in the 50-30 SEC Championship Game triumph over LSU.
2 – Pressure Stroud – The Buckeyes strong-armed quarterback CJ Stroud has all the talent and accolades. Much like Bryce Young of Alabama a season ago, this will be one of the best quarterbacks the Bulldogs have ever faced. The Buckeyes team captain leads the nation in touchdown passes and passing efficiency. He has a fleet corps of receivers who make teams pay for their miscues. Georgia must make him uncomfortable, and force the issue with Stroud. If he has a lot of time to throw, then Georgia, as any team could be, is in big trouble.
3 – Don’t Get Beat Deep – You know the names of the quarterbacks, receivers and connections that have dealt the Bulldogs heartbreak through the years in games of this magnitude. For so many, it started with Dan Mario and Pittsburgh. In the heartbreakers of heartbreakers, too often through the years, Georgia has given up the critical big scoring pass. That was not the case in the National Championship Game last season against Alabama, as the Bulldogs Kelee Ringo returned an interception for a touchdown in Georgia’s famed 33-18 victory over the Crimson Tide. Keep those Buckeyes in front. Georgia has been very good at making it difficult for teams to put up points this year.
4 – Maximize Possessions – Ohio State can run it and throw it. The Buckeyes score, and they have athletes who make the game-changing plays on defense and teams. They score. Georgia is going to have to put up points. Likely 28 at a minimum, even with the Bulldogs’ great defense. Getting the ball to the top and most feared players, with excellent play up front, is where it all begins. In the SEC Championship Game, Stetson Bennett was finding Brock Bowers, Darnell Washington and Ladd McConkey. Then the run game truly shined. Move those chains, and capitalize. It’s going to take touchdowns, but if they aren’t there, it’s a must to get three points.
5 – Counterpunch – Just as the Bulldogs did while running the gauntlet of the Southeastern Conference, when Ohio State makes big plays and gets on the scoreboard, it’s vital to answer back and turn the tables. Georgia did a tremendous job of striking back in the SEC Championship Game, most notably with a first half scoring drive after LSU had tied the game at 7-7, and in Jacksonville after Florida had drawn within 28-20. Emotions will be running high and the Mercedes Benz Stadium will be rocking. The Bulldogs are going to take a lot of big shots from the Buckeyes. Answer, call-and-raise, capitalize.