Atlanta – No. 1 Georgia And number 4 Ohio State Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will face off with a berth in the College Football Playoff National Championship on the line. Georgia came away with a resounding 50-30 victory over LSU in the SEC Championship Game, while Ohio State’s loss to #2 Michigan State at the end of competition week kept the Buckeyes from winning the Big Ten East and forced them into a wait-to-determination game. Sunday.
This game will feature two of the best quarterbacks in the country. Former Bulldogs star Stetson Bennett IV earned a spot in New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after the season. While there, he made the rounds with two-time Heisman finalist and Buckeyes star CJ Stroud, one of the most talented and athletic signal callers in the nation.
Simply put, it’s going to be a great game Saturday night in Atlanta.
College Football Playoff Situations:| | |
Semi-final keys to the peach bowl
1. A passing bulldog attack
Georgia’s reputation as a run-first, simply play-by-play offense has not been the case in 2022. Bennett and offensive coordinator Todd Monken have designed an extremely versatile unit that features tight end Brock Bowers, wide receiver Ladd McConkey, and running back Kenny McIntosh. His top three receivers. This would be a huge challenge for the Buckeyes who gave up three touchdowns to Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy in the last game
Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day was asked how angry his defense, specifically his high school, was after the 45-23 loss: “They should be. And we should all be. We know what we have to do in this game to win, and it just kind of This month for a lot of us has been in practicing every day. There was an edge. There was friction. There was struggle. There was a lot of that, and that’s a healthy thing. The good thing about this is, we’re going to play. We’re not going to sit there worrying about whether or not Anything like that. Nobody really gives us a chance to win this game anyway. So, we’re going to let’s get everything out. We’re going to play as hard as we can and look up after four quarters and see where we are.”
Were Ohio State’s defensive struggles a peek into its true identity or a distant one? The answer to this pressing question will likely determine the outcome of this game.
2. Battle in the trenches
Ohio State star Trevion Henderson, who rushed for 571 yards and six touchdowns, will not play due to a foot injury, which will put a lot of pressure on Maian Williams. However, Williams led the Buckeyes in rushing with 817 yards and 13 touchdowns. Williams has proven he can handle the pressure when he has a companion, but he will need some help from the big guys up front.
Ohio State includes Second Team All-American Dawand Jones and Paris Johnson Jr. In the trenches, Georgia’s defensive front is anchored by first team All-American defensive lineman Jalen Carter. If you are an old school soccer fan, this game is for you. The winner of that fight will move to Los Angeles and the CFP National Championship.
“It’s a great game,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “You look across the board, there are a lot of great games in this game. This is one interesting matchup because they sure are very talented on the offensive line.” “I’ve got a great group, we have a lot of experience, and our defense will be challenged. [Linebacker] Nolan [Smith] being down. We’re doing it through a committee now out of Galen, and it’s going to be a great competitive match for both groups.”
3. Athletic Bennett
The player averaged 263.5 yards passing per game, but his ability to run the ball is something that is getting the attention of Ohio State players and coaches. Bennett is more than a willing runner. He is the difference maker. Expect Monken to use his legs as part of the game plan. If he can put the Ohio State players into action, it could be a long night in Atlanta for the Buckeyes.
“We have to hurry together,” said Ohio State defensive lineman Zach Harrison. “The four of us rush together. When we field the players, the midfielders do the same. Just nobody tries to be greedy and go in and get one and leave an open gap. Just hurry up together, and we’ll go home.”
4. THE WIDELY PROBLEMS OF OHIO STATE
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is not available to play on Saturday, as he has been for most of the season. Despite this, Marvin Harrison Jr. passed the lead. and Emeka Egbuka’s 1,000-yard mark as Ohio State produced the best passing offense in the Big Ten (294.2 yards per game). Simply put, this is the most dangerous passing attack Georgia has faced all season. Why? Because the Ohio State receiving room is stacked.
“Talent, a lot of talent, well trained,” said Smart. “They come from a room with a pedigree—everyone knows Ohio State puts a great number of receivers. And these guys have followed in the footsteps of some really great players. So, you know, they’ve watched these really talented players work and perform, and they’re just as good as these guys. It’s Good squad as I’ve seen.”
Georgia safety Christopher Smith earned first-team All-American honors from the AP, Kelly Ringo iced the national title game last year with a pick six, and the Bulldogs’ depth at the back end of the defense is comparable to that of the pool used by opposing Divers. It will be force versus force. If Ohio State’s passing offense, specifically Stroud, can force this game into a grass track meet, it will give the Buckeyes their best shot when upset occurs.
5. The crowd factor
This will be the third time in 2022 that Georgia will play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and their first two matches have gone well. The win over LSU was the final end to a resounding 49-3 win Oregon in the opening. The LSU game looked like a real-life rivalry for the Bulldogs as the Tigers were outnumbered by a large, quiet crowd for the entire 60 minutes. Will this be the case again? It seems like Ohio State fans have come in droves based on the mood around town, but it’s not like Georgia fans have to travel far.
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