As the doctor of the SEC, I have watched every SEC football game this season and many multiple times. I have watched the University of Georgia as much as any team in college football. As a result, I decided to write an article on things that Spartan fans should know about the Bulldogs.
This is not meant to be a final thesis, but instead a short summary.
The first thing that Spartan fans should know about Georgia is that they are one of the best defensive units in college football. They currently rank third in the nation in total defense.
Their defensive line is big and physical. They run a 3-4 style defense (which is the same formation Alabama ran last season against MSU) and have some solid players. The defensive line is led by rotating 350-pound nose tackles "Big" John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers.
The defensive ends are solid as well. Both starting defensive ends are over 306 pounds which makes it difficult to run against this Bulldog front.
Their linebackers are used in a variety of ways. Their best linebacker is All-American Jarvis Jones who led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss. He is the complete package at linebacker and the Spartans must be aware of where he is at all-times.
While all the linebackers are good, Alec Ogletree must be the next linebacker they must focus on. Ogletree does not have great stats because he missed over a month with a broken foot, but since his return, he has been dominant.
The secondary is very good for Georgia, as well. They are led by All-American Bacarri Rambo who led the SEC in interceptions. Brandon Boykin is also a playmaker in the secondary, but wide receivers must be aware of Shawn Williams. He is one of the most physical safety’s in college football—sometimes to a fault.
If you have watched the Bulldogs play this season you know that their offense is a tale of two teams. Sometimes they come out and look like world-beaters and sometimes they look anemic.
The key to stopping this offense is getting to quarterback Aaron Murray early. Murray has 35 total touchdowns this season to 12 interceptions. However, he is very streaky.
If the Spartans are able to get to him early his footwork will alter and he will start missing his receivers by five yards. If not, he will pick the Spartans apart.
The running game is hard to gauge for the Bulldogs. Mostly because injuries and suspensions have hindered this team all season in the backfield. Isaiah Crowell is their most recognizable back and won the SEC Freshman of the Year award. However, it is not certain if he will even play.
The Bulldogs offensive line is the biggest in all of college football. However, they have been hit-and-miss as well. The Spartan defensive line will need to get pressure in the backfield to win this game, but this is certainly in the realm of possibility.
This Georgia offense can also become turnover prone. A large portion of the points scored on Georgia this season were the result of turnovers, but it all starts with pressuring Murray.
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There is no greater area of confusion for the Bulldogs this season than special teams. Coming into the season their punter and placekicker were both All-American favorites. The punter, Drew Butler, has been solid, but placekicker Blair Walsh has been horrific and the punt return/kick return teams have been even worse.
This was supposed to be the area of strength for the Bulldogs coming into the season, but is clearly their weakness now.
Georgia does have very good return men, but neither have reached their potential this season. Boykin has returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in his career and three for 100 yards. However, he has zero this season.
This Georgia team can play with anyone in the nation when they are playing with confidence. This was evident in the SEC championship when they dominated LSU in the first half holding them to nine total yards.
However, they are also young and don't know how to react when they get hit in the mouth yet as was seen in the second half of the SEC championship game.
There is no doubt that the Spartans can win this game, but they must come out strong.