ESPN gives their X-Factors for Georgia vs. TCU

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Georgia is back in a familiar place, preparing for a Monday contest with all the chips on the line. For the third time since 2017 and the second time in the last two years, the Bulldogs will be competing for a National Championship. Up next, the TCU Horned Frogs, who are the definition of a Cinderella story.

According to some books, TCU opened the season at 200/1 to win this year’s National Championship. Nobody expected Sonny Dykes, the Horned Frogs’ first-year head coach, to lead his team to this point. And very few expect him to finish the job against the heavily favored Bulldogs; however, TCU has relished in the underdog role all season, so this is just another day at the office for them as well.

If the College Football Semifinal round was any indication, this should be a thriller, even if the Bulldogs are coming in favored by nearly two touchdowns. Here’s what ESPN had to say about TCU’s X-Factor: 

TCU WR Quentin Johnston. At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Johnston has created matchup problems for defenses and emerged as Duggan’s top target with the ability to rack up yards after the catch. With another 163 receiving yards against Michigan, Johnston enters the national title game with a team-best 1,066 yards, 59 catches and six touchdown receptions — impressive numbers despite missing two games with a high-ankle injury. He has allowed the Frogs to stretch the field, and some of his best performances came against the toughest competition. His clutch touchdown catch at Kansas gave the Frogs the lead with just under four minutes to play. The following week, he did it again in a double-overtime win against Oklahoma State. Johnston is a first-round NFL draft prospect who could be the first receiver off the board.

Johnston is one of the best receivers in football and arguably the best player on the Horned Frogs. If TCU wants any chance to win, their stars will have to play like superstars. If there is a weakness on this Georgia defense, it lies in the secondary. LSU threw for over 500 yards against them in the SEC Championship, and Ohio State could not be stopped for most of the game in the CFP Semifinal. If TCU’s offensive line can hold up, that should create a lot of opportunities for Johnston, who will be a mismatch for anybody in Georgia’s secondary.

ESPN’s selection for Georgia’s X-Factor should come as no surprise: 

Georgia: DT Jalen Carter: There’s a photo from the SEC championship game that sums up the havoc Carter can wreak on a quarterback — not that LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels will need it to remember. In the picture, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle is holding Daniels effortlessly in his left arm like a toy, while holding up his right hand, signaling No. 1. That’s exactly where he might be drafted, as Mel Kiper Jr. has Carter projected as the No. 1 overall pick. In the six games leading up to Saturday night’s semifinal, Carter accounted for 24 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.

Carter might be the best all-around player in football and has a chance to go #1 overall in a few months. He’s a game-wrecker and something this TCU offensive line hasn’t seen all season. I think TCU has a chance to keep this game close if everything goes right. They got to this point for a reason, even if they didn’t always look like world-beaters doing so. However, in order to win, they must put up a lot of points, which means this offensive line has to establish the run and give Max Duggan time to throw. That won’t be easy against Jalen Carter and company.

Photo: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire

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