I’ve let myself slip into a dangerous mindset of getting more and more confident in a Dawgs win as Saturday approaches. As the week has progressed, I have thought of more and more reasons of why we have a legitimate shot. Will it take our best game and an average game from LSU? Of course, but it’s not out of the question.
I know its been an offensively frustrating year, but don’t forget the position we are in. 3rd consecutive year as SEC East champion with a shot at the playoff and national championship going into this weekend. There has been plenty of years where we sat this game out and were destined for a January Outback bowl. The Dawgs upward trajectory continues, even with a boring, grind you out offense.
Do we have a shot? (Reasons why we may, ignoring why we don’t)
Is this the most talented offense we have faced in an SEC championship game? Maybe not. Tua, Hurts, Juedy, Ruggs, Smith, Waddle, Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris, Irv Smith, Elite Alabama 2018 offensive line. It’s possible that Bama was better at every position last year. And yet, at least early, we gave them significant problems with a less talented defense. LSU’s offense has gotten all the hype going into this one and deservedly so, but this isn’t our first shot at an elite offense on the biggest stage in the SEC.
LSU has had an incredible season and I will not take anything away from them. They have handled every subpar team and beat some other very good teams. Their schedule to start the year looked very strong, but has it held up? Lets review a few games:
· 45-38 vs Texas- 38 points allowed vs a now 5-4 Texas team. Impressive scoring output in an early season away game.
· 66-38 vs Vanderbilt- that a lot of points to give a terrible offense, could have been some garbage time. Again, another crazy offensive output against a bad D
· 42-28 vs Florida- this one was closer than the score shows against a common opponent
· 23-20 vs Auburn- here is where it starts to get interesting. A strong win against a good team but how were the Tigers able to limit LSU to just 23 points. Auburn only gained 287 total yards and yet the game was this close. 2-1 turnover ratio in favor of Auburn. We have a better defense than Auburn. This is encouraging
· 46-41 vs Alabama- by far the best win on the resume. Alabama is still great, but are they as great as years past? Zero ranked wins this year. 0-2 in ranked games. Certainly a very talented team, especially offensively but not sure that win means as much as it would in year’s past
You can’t take anything away from an undefeated team that has looked as impressive as LSU on offense. But there are chinks in the armor that can be exploited. Is their resume as strong as it looked mid or preseason? I do not think it is but whether that translates to a better shot for Georgia is up for debate.
Players that could play a massive role
Tyrique Stevenson- Stevenson could shine in disguised 3rd down pressure. He is a turnover creator and we made need him to bust a fumble loose late in this one
Azeez Ojulari- if Azeez has a sack, the Dawgs get a win. It will be so important to pressure Burrow with only four rushers. If they have to bring pressure to get to Burrow, he will pick us apart. Azeez has to make plays in 1 on 1 blocking situations
Tyson Campbell- a TD hasn’t been scored on Georgia’s #1 corner since 2016. Hopefully Eric Stokes can keep this trend going, which makes Campbells role opposite him even more important. LSU has 3 high draft picks at WR. Campbell will need to keep Justin Jefferson or Terrace Marshall in front of him and prevent explosive plays for the Dawgs to have a chance
Adam Anderson- will be ultra important as a Joe Burrow spy and pressure manufacturer
Dom Blaylock- needs to make 2 1st half catches and create early seperation
How to Beat LSU
· 2-3 plays of 30+ yards- LSU is 89th in the country in giving up explosive plays of 30+ yards. Georgia will need a few chunk plays to avoid 3 and out and change field position advantage
· Limit LSU to 10 possessions- this starts with taking the ball to start the game in hopes that you minimize first half possessions. If you look at a possible best-case scenario breakdown you’d probably have something like:
o 1 3 and out
o 1 turnover
o 4 punts
o 1 FG
o 3 TDs
o 24 total points (best case scenario)
· Force 1 turnover, give up 0- obviously much easier said than done.
· Disguise Pressure- it’s easiest to disguise pressure in 3rd and long so hopefully we have a good bit of those situations. When we aren’t in 3rd and long, we will have to be much more tactical
· Don’t give up a sack- here, I’m less worried about our offensive line and more worried about the QB/WR combo. There have been many games where the offensive line has protected Fromm very well the entire game but we still give up 2-3 coverage sacks as WRs cant separate.
· Force a 33% 3rd down conversion percentage on defense- LSU’s conversion percentage is 50%. That cant happen if the Dawgs hope to pull the upset.
Ok, now that I look at it, that’s a lot that needs to go right.
This game comes down to explosive plays and turnovers. Who ever wins those margins, wins the game. Georgia has played bend don’t break defense all year and they will need to continue to force FGs to have a chance. Offensively, there is a rushing opportunity against LSU’s defense. Creativity, ball security and a few 20+ yard runs will all have to be there. There hasn’t been a single person I’ve seen in the media pick Georgia. Deservedly so, LSU has looked great. But LSU has a very good shot to make the playoff no matter what happens tomorrow. Georgia has one way in and I think our desperation level will be at an all time high. I may have researched all the reasons why Georgia can win, I may be going against my head, but I am going with the Dawgs. Dawgs 27 Tigers 24
A much too important week for Bucky’s Easy Money of the Week. Here’s to hoping MBS is 70% Dawgs