A Christmas list for Georgia ahead of the Peach Bowl

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Georgia has a fairly tough draw with Ohio State, but Michigan laid a blueprint for the Dawgs to take down the Buckeyes in what should be a home game. Michigan and Georgia are similar teams, but Georgia has an edge in a lot of key areas — mostly in terms of size, athleticism, and coaching. Ohio State should still present a big challenge, so what does Georgia need to go right to become back-to-back National Champions?

Good production in the Red Zone

Ohio State ranks 121st nationally in Red Zone defense, and a lot of Georgia’s issues in 2022 came from a lack of production (touchdown wise) in the Red Zone. Some of it is schematic, but personally, I just think Georgia was in control of so many games that Todd Monken didn’t resort to using his best plays when he was down near the goal line. In terms of actual scoring, Georgia was still first in the country with a 97.2% rate of points when they got in the red area. They had nine more scores in the Red Zone than the 2nd ranked team, Michigan. Still, in a game like this, you need touchdowns — not field goals. With a poor Ohio State Red Zone defense and a potent Ohio State passing attack, Georgia will need to grind out some long drives and punch it in for six early and often.

Winning the Turnover Battle

Surprisingly, Georgia has not been a great team when it comes to turnovers. I’d be wiling to wager they’re the only 13-0 team to ever have a -1 turnover margin. Still, they have taken good care of the ball in big games. Stetson Bennett’s only two interceptions against top 25 opponents came on a tipped pass and a lineman snagging a pick in the Mississippi State game. Georgia had some fumbling issues early on, but they have improved in that area as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s 0-0; with this rushing attack, Georgia just needs to make sure they aren’t giving the ball away.

About 7.2 Yards Per Carry

We’ve seen Ohio State’s two biggest losses over the past two seasons — both coming at the hands of Michigan. In 2021, Michigan ran for 297 yards and 7.2 yards per carry. Without Blake Corum in 2022, Michigan ran for 252 yards and… 7.2 yards per carry. Georgia won’t *have* to match or eclipse this number to win, but history has shown if you can control the clock and move the ball in big chunks against Ohio State, you have a great chance to win the game.

Big Game Stetson Bennett

People love to point at Stetson Bennett’s numbers against inferior competition, but in big games since the 2021 SEC Championship — he has been one of the best quarterbacks in football against top competition:

His performances against Michigan and Alabama in the 2021-2022 CFP were nearly flawless, and Georgia will need the same from him again this season.

Cornerbacks Winning Their One-On-Ones

It’s a big help for Georgia that Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be sitting this game out, but Ohio State still has plenty of talent at wide receiver. We saw Georgia sit back in zone coverage against LSU, and they got picked apart. I’m not sure if that is some sort of tactic to prepare the corners, but Georgia is a heavy man-press team and probably always will be under Kirby Smart. They rely on their corners to make plays in one-on-one situations, and they will have to be at their very best against a good combination of receivers and quarterback CJ Stroud.

If Georgia does all of these things consistently, I don’t see any way they don’t win this game. Kirby Smart should have the team ready for the Peach Bowl as he makes a run for another national title.

Photo: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire

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