Georgia’s Keys to Victory Against Ohio State

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Georgia’s Keys to Victory Against Ohio State

It has been almost two weeks since Selection Sunday. It was announced that the Bulldogs will take on the Buckeyes in a battle of blue bloods. Typically, the number one team in the nation is rewarded with the “easier” playoff matchup. That is not the case this year. Ohio State was many analysts preseason favorite to win it all. They have a Heisman finalist at quarterback for the third time in the last four years, five 5-star receivers, a plethora of talented running backs, and blue chip recruits all over their defense. The Buckeyes come into this game angry and with an extra week of preparation as well, due to not competing in a conference championship game. Regardless, that doesn’t matter to the Georgia Bulldogs. Ohio State stands in their way of a perfect season, and Kirby Smart intends to take conquer the Buckeyes in the Peach State.

Ohio State is a difficult team to figure out. They can hurt you in a myriad of ways. While it seems that they spend most of their offensive snaps airing out deep to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, they actually run the ball more times than they throw it. Ohio State utilizes their three-headed monster at running back of Williams, Henderson, and Hayden to force play in the box. Then, once they have gashed teams running the ball, they wisely take advantage of single coverage and take their shots to their talented receivers. They look to create explosive plays and they have great success in doing so.

So, how does Georgia beat the Buckeyes? Offensively, the first thing Georgia has to do is establish the run game. The Dawgs pride themselves on being able to run the football. Ohio State’s interior defensive lineman have been susceptible to giving up chunks of yards through the middle, so look for Georgia to take advantage there. Secondly, control the clock. Play Georgia Bulldog football. Ohio State is always a play away from changing the game offensively. The Bulldogs need to sustain drives, utilize the tight ends, and keep the defense rested. Finally, Georgia needs to take shots. It’s the playoffs. Last year against Michigan, the Dawgs were wise about throwing deep balls, and they connected on most of them. This year, Michigan gashed Ohio State on explosive plays. Five of their six touchdowns came on plays of 45 or more yards. Ohio State has had numerous instances proving that they are susceptible to the big play, so take advantage of that. Georgia will have AD Mitchell back and healthy for the first time since Oregon. If Ladd McConkey is healthy, which most people think he will be, then Georgia will have all of their weapons playing together, opening up the playbook to whatever Todd Monken would like to utilize. That is a scary sight for opposing defenses.

On the defensive side of the ball, Georgia is facing their toughest challenge to date. Despite multiple injuries that will sideline Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Treyevon Henderson, The Buckeyes still have plenty of weapons to utilize. Stopping the Buckeyes is going to come down to limiting their run game, establishing a pass rush, and holding up in man coverage. As mentioned previously, Ohio State runs the ball more than they throw. The Dawgs play great against the run, but controlling the line of scrimmage and forcing the Buckeyes to be one dimensional is an absolute must. Furthermore, the Bulldogs’ defensive front needs to pressure Stroud. Stroud has struggled this season against the blitz, and he rarely runs the football. If he has time to sit back in a clean pocket, he and his five star receivers will make you regret it. Lastly, Georgia’s secondary needs to prove a point. Despite a terrific team display against LSU, the Bulldog’s secondary allowed almost 500 yards through the air. Keele Ringo will be targeted a significant amount against dangerous wideouts. Winning the one on one battles on the outside will determine who wins or loses this game.

The bottom line is Georgia is the best team in the nation. Simply put, they are better than Ohio State. They are complete on both sides of the ball and have conquered every challenger in their way so far. However, Ohio State is a team that may seem down and out due to a bad loss at home against Michigan, but they have recruited at such a high level and are so explosive that they can beat any given team on any given day. If Georgia is smart with the football, stays on the plus side of the turnover margin, and does not commit stupid penalties that put them behind the chains, they have a fantastic shot to move on.

As a fan, this is what we live for. Georgia has earned the number one ranking and if they look to retain their crown, they have to go through one of the premier powerhouse programs in the sport. It’s the north vs the south in our home state. BIG 10 against SEC. The Buckeye faithful will travel, but Dawg Nation will be rocking. See y’all December 31st.

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