Assuming Georgia doesn’t let the turnover margin battle get away from it, I have a hard time seeing how South Carolina pulls off the win tomorrow.
As I posted yesterday, though, I have to be convinced about whether the home team can cover a rather sizeable 24.5-point spread. Smart’s impose your will approach combined with Muschamp’s get the opponent to play down to your level approach (I don’t mean that disrespectfully; instead, it’s a reference to how well his team has done so far without having a talent advantage over most of its opposition this season) makes me think points will be somewhat hard to come by on the day.
That being said, if the Dawgs do break through and cover — keep in mind they’ve won every game since Notre Dame by 25 or more points — it’ll be because of one advantage they have over the Gamecocks, explosive plays.
Georgia is third in the nation in runs of 20 or more yards with 28. That trails only Arizona and Notre Dame, according to cfbstats.com.
The Bulldogs had just 15 runs of 20 or more yards In 2016, tied for 86th.
“It’s great,” Chubb said this week. “Those guys are doing a great job up front of just opening it up for us. After that, you’ve just got to make the guys miss.”
Chubb has 11 runs of 20 or more yards in only eight games after having seven all of last season…
Smart earlier this season spoke of explosive runs, saying Georgia tries “to get as many 12-yard runs as we can.”
Georgia produced seven of those against the Gators Saturday including touchdown runs of 74 and 45 yards from Michel and 39 from Holyfield that the sophomore earned.
Head to head, consider that:
- Georgia is fourth in the SEC in offensive plays of ten yards or more. South Carolina is eleventh.
- Georgia is the conference leader in offensive plays of twenty yards or more. South Carolina is ninth.
- Georgia’s defense has allowed the fewest number of opponent plays of ten yards or more in the conference, while South Carolina ranks eleventh.
- The closest the two teams rank is in opponent plays of twenty yards or more. Georgia is second, with 25. South Carolina is third, with 26. (Notice that the spread between the two increases in conference play.)
Part of the secret to generating explosive runs is taking advantage of the numbers game when teams load the box, leaving the second level relatively short of defenders when a running back breaks through the line of scrimmage. Can the South Carolina defense keep Georgia’s backs in check?