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Not only did coach Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines get the monkey off their back (finally beating Ohio Stare and winning the Big Ten title) but they capped the season off with their first berth to the College Football Playoffs. Standing in their way is the Georgia Bulldogs, who are looking to redeem themselves after showing cracks in the armor in the SEC championship game. Both teams have a lot to prove in this game.
The Wolverines will look to continue running the ball effectively with running backs Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum. Quarterback Cade McNamara will need to play mistake free and complete the easy throws. The receiving corps can help with YAC plays and limited drops. They should use misdirection to generate some big plays.
On defense, Michigan wants to limit Georgia’s rushing attack and force them to rely on the passing game. The will allow their pair of star pass rushers, Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo to really impact the game. The focus will be on flying to the ball and gang tackling.
The x-factor will be the offensive line. This is strength on strength. They will face their toughest test against an aggressive Bulldog front seven. But they have been successful all season long at opening up holes and protecting their quarterback. This will be the matchup to keep your eye on.
The Bulldogs’ offense revolves around the running game. They have a good one-two punch with running backs Zamir White and James Cook. Quarterback Stetson Bennett just needs to manage the game, meaning no turnovers. He’ll have an opportunity to make some throws downfield. Getting tight end Brock Bowers involved would be smart.
Georgia’s defense will look to get its swagger back. They will look to stuff Michigan’s running game with mammoth interior linemen, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt. They want to force them to beat them passing the ball. Their ballhawking secondary will be looking for interceptions. Making them one dimensional is good strategy.
The x-factor will be the defensive front seven. The battle with Michigan’s offensive line will be epic. They must control the line of scrimmage by clogging running lanes. The linebackers will need to provide quarterback pressure from the edges.