College Football News Preview 2020: Georgia Bulldogs Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The Georgia Bulldogs Offense
More big pass plays, more big pass plays, more big pass plays. To be fair to Jake Fromm, the receiving corps had to undergo an overhaul with the top five pass catchers of 2018 gone, and with Lawrence Cager missing a big chunk of the campaign. Even so, the talent in place was strong enough to do a whole lot more.
It’s not that Fromm didn’t throw – the 415 passes as a team were by far the most since 2013 – but there weren’t enough big plays down the field. Fromm averaged 7.4 yards per pass – by comparison, Jalen Hurts averaged over 11, Joe Burrow averaged 10.8, and Justin Fields averaged 9.2 – and the team averaged 7.5. That was the lowest since 2016, after flirting with nine yards per pass over the previous two years.
Backup Stetson Bennett threw an interception in the win over Murray State. Fromm threw three picks against South Carolina, two against LSU, and none against anyone else – those were the team’s two losses, and Fromm averaged under six yards per pass in both of them.
Going back to a loss to Vanderbilt in the middle of 2016, Georgia has won its last 27 games when it averages 7.8 yards or more per pass.
By the way, Jamie Newman averaged 7.9 yards per throw last year for Wake Forest.
Biggest Key To The Georgia Bulldogs Defense
A few more plays behind the line would be nice.
It’s nitpicking time. When a defense finished third in the country and leads the nation in fewest points allowed, it’s hard to complain too much. However, again, a couple of more sacks and tackles for loss wouldn’t be a bad thing.
It’s a bit by design – the defense swallowed up everything – but there just weren’t a whole lot of tackles for loss after coming up with 93 in 2017.
The D generated 65 two years ago and 76 last season, and sacks have never been that big a deal under Kirby Smart, but …
Generating pressure at Alabama, against Florida, and when Auburn comes to town, though, could be important. For what it’s worth, the two games last season without a sack came against South Carolina in the loss, and in the way-close fight against Notre Dame.
Key Georgia Bulldogs Player To A Successful Season
PK Jared Zirkel, Fr.
Or junior Brooks Buce, or sophomore Jack Podlesny, or any one of the ten kickers lists on the Georgia roster as this is being written. Zirkel, though, is the big-legged recruit out of Texas who might just be the difference between a national championship season and another really, really good campaign.
No matter who it is, replacing Rodrigo Blankenship is asking a lot. All he did was hit 80-of-97 field goals and connect on all 200 extra point attempts in his four years.
Only one Bulldog game in the last two seasons was decided by three points or fewer – Blankenship missed two field goals in the 20-17 loss to South Carolina last year.
Key Game To The Georgia Bulldogs Season
Oct. 31 vs. Florida (in Jacksonville)
The argument could be made that the road game at Alabama early on is everything as a tone-setter. Facing Auburn will be tough, and this year, the South Carolina game that was such a problem last season will be in Columbia. But Georgia can lose to the Crimson Tide, or in one game along the way. It can’t afford a loss to Florida.
Even if the Bulldogs lose to Bama and drop one other game along the way, if they can beat the Gators, go 10-2, and get to the SEC Championship, there’s a great chance they can still get into the College Football Playoff as a two-loss SEC champ. But lose to Florida, and just getting to Atlanta in early December probably won’t happen.
– Georgia Bulldogs Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 Georgia Fun Stats
– 2nd Quarter Scoring: Georgia 148 – Opponents 49
– Penalties: Opponents 94 for 713 yards – Georgia 76 for 685 yards
– 4th Down Conversions: Georgia 6-of-10 (60%) – Opponents 6-of-23 (26%)