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These teams are somewhat evenly matched on paper. Georgia has the edge in the rushing department, but Michigan State is a bit better on defense.
The keys to this game will be balance, special teams, defense, coaching and desire.
Balance: Advantage Georgia
Georgia gets the edge in the area of balance.
The Bulldogs have shown all year that they are able to run and pass in a way that keeps their opponents guessing. This is what gave Michigan State fits against Wisconsin. The Badgers have a similar type of dual approach, and it was effective in both games against the Spartans.
Special Teams: Draw
This is pretty much a draw. Both teams have good punt returners, field goal kickers and effective punters. Both teams have a plus-seven turnover margin and both teams have shown decent discipline over the year on punt and kick coverage.
Defense: Michigan State
Michigan State gets the nod on the defensive side of the ball. However, Georgia is not far behind. The Spartans have gotten to the opposing quarterback 41 times this year, which gave them 279 sack yards.
This will be crucial in controlling the balanced approach that the Bulldogs take.
If Michigan State can get to the quarterback—early and often—the Bulldogs will be forced out of their game plan. If that happens it will be a long day for the Bulldogs.
Michigan State has a fine coach, but Mark Richt is a good man and a great coach. After starting the year 0-2, some Bulldog fans were calling for his head.
He didn't panic, he simply went to work. You have to believe that he will be looking to close out the year with a win.
This will cause him to motivate his players just a bit more, and that doesn't bode well for the Spartans.
Desire: Yet to be determined
These two teams are evenly matched, and it will probably come down to who wants it more.