Tough and rugged, the University of Georgia Bulldogs won’t win any beauty contests for their style of play. It’s not the pass happy, shotgun, aerial assault of a lot of other schools. It’s the hand off, ram it down your throat and make you regurgitate dirt kind of offense. Their defense is ferocious in their pursuit of the ball no matter who’s hand it’s in. Their matchup versus the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl should push them to the limit.
The Bulldogs do not want to fall behind in this game. They average 263.5 rushing yards per game and they will need every inch of those yards in order to beat the Sooners. Feeding Nick Chubb and the hobbled Sony Michel will keep the time of possession in their favor. They have combined for 2,143 yards and 26 touchdowns. The Georgia offense should keep the game slow and methodical, giving their defense as much rest as possible to combat the high flying Sooner attack. What they want to avoid is getting into a shootout. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has performed well, but him having a ton of passes probably spells trouble for UGA.
The UGA defense can make you look foolish at times. They are a stingy bunch, especially against the pass, allowing only 158.3 yards per game (second in the nation). This bodes well for them in this matchup. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield can flat out sling it with quick strike capability. Georgia needs to keep the plays in front and make the tackle. Coach Kirby Smart will no doubt pull out some new and intricate looks to confuse Mayfield, so it will come down to execution. There’s isn’t a quarterback alive that enjoys pressure in the pocket. With a physical defensive line, the Bulldogs should be able to bottle up the run game and keep Oklahoma one dimensional on offense. The only problem: that one dimension is the Heisman Trophy winner.
Matchup to watch:
Linebacker Roquan Smith is a terror, racking up 113 total tackles and 5.5 sacks this season to lead Georgia. He should be matched up against Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews on more than a few occasions. Andrews leads the Sooners in receptions with 58 and receiving touchdowns with eight.
Coach Kirby Smart had high praise for Baker Mayfield. “He’s like Brett Favre, except obviously a better athlete. But he’s got that gunslinger mentality. The pageantry and passion that he plays with, that’s really what college football’s all about.”
Running back Sony Michel (7.2 yards per carry) has a knee injury but is expected to play on Monday.
Senior cornerback Malkom Parrish is expected to play in the Rose Bowl. He battling a lower body injury that kept him out of the SEC title game.