ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 11: Jamon Dumas-Johnson #10 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with teammates after an interception return for a touchdown against the UAB Blazers in the second half at Sanford Stadium on September 11, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, FL — The Georgia Bulldogs looked practically unstoppable in the regular season, completing a perfect 12-0 season heading into the SEC Championship. Then the Achilles heel of the Bulldogs, the Alabama Crimson Tide, struck again, this time beating the Dawgs 41-24.

Georgia was still able to prove enough even with the SEC Championship loss that they belonged in the College Football Playoff, with their opponent being  a Michigan team that no one saw making the playoffs.

Now we have to ask ourselves if Georgia can bounce back from being embarrassed the last time they took the field. Saying that the defense has to play good would be an easy statement to make, but one that needs to be said after giving up 421 passing yards to eventual Heisman Trophy-winner Bryce Young.

While Michigan doesn’t have the caliber of quarterback or receivers that Alabama does, the Wolverines have one of the most dynamic players in the nation at running back, Hassan Haskins, who is one of only 3 players in the FBS with 20 or more rushing touchdowns.

The strength of Michigan’s offense has been their rushing attack, averaging 223 yards per game, the second-most by a Power 5 team this season. Luckily for the Georgia’s defense, that’s where they excel at the most on the field, allowing just 81 rushing yards per game and an FBS-best three rushing touchdowns all season.

But the key for the Bulldogs won’t be their rushing defense, rather it will be the area in the box score not looked at often: time of possession.

The Georgia offense must hold on to the football as long as possible in order to pull out a victory against the Wolverines.

It’s simple: if Georgia limits the possessions that Michigan is allowed to have, then that puts extra pressure on Michigan’s offense to produce points and that pressure can lead to them doing two crucial things: throwing the ball more than they would like to and forcing turnovers for the defense.

Being able to control the clock against a run-heavy team is the best way to make that offense uncomfortable and while there are many key factors in this game, if the Bulldogs want to get to their second National Championship appearance in five years, their best chance is to control the clock and force Michigan to get uncomfortable with their gameplan.



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