I’m getting ready to head out shortly, but thought I’d get the obligatory game day bloviation out of the way first.
Quite simply, Marcus Spears has this exactly right:
“That’s the key to the game,” Spears said. “The front seven for Florida is probably the most important unit in this entire game because if you don’t stop Georgia from running, they’re going to beat you. It doesn’t matter what you do.”
Teams haven’t figured out how to stop Georgia’s smashmouth run game.
The Bulldogs rank 10th nationally and second in the SEC in rushing offense, averaging 282.9 yards and 3 touchdowns per game on the ground. Over the last three games — wins over Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Missouri — Georgia has averaged 362.3 rushing yards per game and had 4 rushing touchdowns in each.
Seniors Chubb and Michel are the only running backs from the same school ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in rushing yards per game. Chubb ranks third (98.29 yards/game), while Michel is eighth (82 yards/game).
“When you think about how you stop this team, you stop the run and you put it in Jake Fromm’s hands,” Spears said. “And with this [Florida] secondary, you’d probably like your chances.”
If the Gators can’t run and can’t stop the run, barring some really bad turnover luck on Georgia’s part, it’s hard to see a path to victory for them.
That being said, that’s been the easier said than done approach for every team that’s faced the Dawgs so far, with little success.
Today is about paper — what the teams bring to the table in terms of 2017 performance — versus history. I don’t minimize the latter; as I posted earlier, that’s Kirby’s big test today.
I think Georgia gets ‘er done today. What say you?