Sure, you can focus on the running game, if you’d like.
Rocket science is not required for determining the most intriguing aspect to Saturday’s college football showdown between No. 8 Georgia and No. 13 Alabama inside Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs average 257.8 rushing yards a game and 6.87 yards per carry. The Crimson Tide allow 56.8 rushing yards per game and 2.0 yards per carry.
“It all starts up front, and they’ve got some big, strong guys,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “Their defense, as a whole, is a very veteran group. All their down linemen are returning starters, and they do a good job of freeing up the linebackers. They’re just very stout, strong people.”
Adding to the angle of the irresistible force vs. the immovable object is the fact Georgia super sophomore tailback Nick Chubb has 12 consecutive 100-yard rushing games and needs one more to tie the 13 straight Herschel Walker had during the 1980-81 seasons. Chubb rushed for 131 yards on 15 carries in last Saturday’s 48-6 defeat of Southern, including six rushes for 100 yards in the third quarter.
Alabama has allowed just 10 100-yard rushers in its 112 games under coach Nick Saban.
One of those was a freshman Todd Gurley in the SECCG. But I digress.
For my money, though, this game comes down to one big issue – will Georgia be mentally prepared? And on that front, your guess is as good as mine.
But it’s still Alabama, which carries a mystique matched by talent, making this one of the biggest games the Bulldogs have played in some time. It’s one that’s been circled since it was announced in the spring of 2014.
Now that it’s here, however, the Bulldogs are trying to keep an even keel.
“I don’t think we’ve gotta create motivation. I think we’ve gotta temper it,” head coach Mark Richt said on his radio show Monday night. “And when I say temper it, I mean make sure we channel it in the right way.”
Pyke’s comments were the furthest a Georgia player came to acknowledging the magnitude of the game. And even his comments above were a lead-in to discussing the challenge his offensive line has with Alabama’s defensive line.
Three years ago, when Georgia prepared to play South Carolina in a match-up of unbeaten, top-10 teams, players openly admitted it was the biggest game they’d been involved in. This time around more players are downplaying it.
“We’re gonna prepare the same way we prepare for all SEC schools,” senior receiver Malcolm Mitchell said. “I know everyone wants to see it as a big game but all games are big because anytime we lose it’s gonna be bad.”