The Orange Bowl was a mismatch, and Georgia’s offensive and defensive execution had an awful lot to do with that. You can say whatever you want, but the hierarchy in college football is Alabama, Georgia and everyone else.
If you take away the Alabama game, Friday night looked about like any other game during the season for the Dawgs.
Here’s how the three keys to a win were met in South Florida.
Don’t let plays get extended
How good is Georgia’s defense? Or how good is Michigan’s run game and offensive line? We’re about to find out. Georgia has not allowed a single run over 20 yards all year long. The Wolverines run game, however, has done so multiple times this year. So, as they say, something has to give.
Key for Georgia is to not to do what happened against Alabama and let Michigan offensive playmakers extend plays. This is one of the most physical teams Georgia has faced, so making tackles on the first hit will be a big key for Georgia, here.
Georgia put on a clinic in playing assignment football. Similar to the Mizzou game, you saw Michigan have some early success on some QB scrambles before Georgia adjusted. The bottom line is that Georgia minimized explosive plays, and the concern of the Wolverines running back breaking tackles never reared its head.
Win up front
The Wolverines toughness does not just reside on offense with its top-rated offensive line. It also applies to the Wolverines defensive front. That obviously starts with Georgia’s center and guards doing enough to free up Zamir White between the tackles and James Cook in space. Certainly, that also means making Aidan Hutchinson a non-factor and finding a way to limit him, since a player of that caliber is not somebody you just neutralize. But if Hutchinson takes over...that means that Georgia is having a long night and probably won’t win.
It’s almost like the Joe Moore Award decided it wanted to make itself more of a joke than the Mackey Award. The Michigan offensive line never overpowered Georgia up front. There was no bruising running game and clock-eating drives. As for Aidan Hutchinson? Somebody send a search party out to South Beach, because he was missing on Friday night.
Don’t lose the SEC Championship again
There are no doubt, some likely questions on this Georgia team that have been hanging over its head...’Has the window closed? Are the national takes of being a fraud true? What if this team was good until it played top teams?’ In truth, Georgia needs to start this game strong and put the Alabama loss behind it. If not, it’ll say a lot about this coaching staff’s ability to get the locker room focused and block the outside noise.
Georgia scored first, and it was off to the races again and Michigan never recovered. I don’t know right now what’ll happen at Lucas Oil Stadium, but I can’t wait. One regret I remember from 2017 was that it seemed like there was no time to even enjoy the win. As agonizing as the wait will be, I hope fans are able to soak all of what this season has been in.