Run the Ball Strong – Yes, it’s the foundation for almost everything the Bulldogs do every time out. Georgia must be able to dictate offensively on the ground. Matt Luke’s talented offensive line will have an enormous challenge against a stout Wolverines front, headlined by All-American defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. Georgia’s running backs, led by Zamir White, James Cook and Kenny McIntosh must get lathered up, grind out a consistent ground game and pop some big runs. This should also open up some chances in the passing game. The Bulldogs can’t afford any wasted downs against these talented Wolverines.
Win the Turnover Battle – The turnovers have come in bunches for Georgia this season. That includes a negative-two in the lone loss of the campaign. Both Kirby Smart and Jim Harbaugh will be preaching turnovers – causing them and ball security. In a game so evenly matched, turnovers usually make the difference. Some of Georgia’s most electric moments in this incredible season have been generated by turnovers, namely Chris Smith’s “pick six” against Clemson and the flurry of three at the end of the first half against Florida, capped by Naboke Dean’s interception return for a score.
Pressure – Cue the Queen/Bowie, and Billy Joel, the Bulldogs must make Michigan’s talented quarterback Cade McNamara uncomfortable. He has thrown for just four interceptions this season, while tossing 15 touchdown passes. The run defense must be at top form. Running backs Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum are a dynamite duo, combining for over 2,200 yards on the ground. Backup QB J.J. McCarthy is also a threat. The Bulldogs defense must stop the run. Michigan would love to lead with a powerful ground game behind a typical top flight O-Line.
Kicking Game – Openers and bowl games truly show the work put into the kicking game. Georgia has been lights out for the most part on special teams this season, led by star punter Jake Camarda. Amongst the biggest highlights of the season is the blocked punt against Arkansas by Dan Jackson, recovered by Zamir White for a touchdown in the Bulldogs 37-0 victory over the Hogs. Think of the long field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship against Oklahoma and Jack Podlesny against Cincinnati. Can Georgia do something in the return game? Of course, with nearly four weeks to get ready, there could always be a trick play or three to have on the radar.
Seize it – The ultimate goal for this Georgia team is the national title, and the winner of this game plays for it. Michigan is all in, riding high. The Wolverines fan base will flood Miami, anticipating another signature win. For the Bulldogs, rising from the last game like the fiery Phoenix is a must. No fan base travels like the Road Dawgs. This matchup is tremendous. It’s been a long time since these two met. For one of these teams, an incredible year will end in disappointing fashion. Georgia has come too far not to rebound, and write the next chapter on the road to the ultimate dream.