Georgia Bulldogs: CFN College Football Preview 2021

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Bulldogs: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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Georgia Bulldogs: CFN College Football Preview 2021

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Georgia Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season

Georgia Bulldogs Biggest Key: Offense

Georgia, you know that downfield pass thing you discovered with JT Daniels …

Keep doing that.

Since Kirby Smart took over in 2016, Georgia averaged over ten yards per throw 13 times in the first 62 games before JT Daniels stepped in.

By national championship-level comparison, Alabama averaged more than ten yards per throw eight times last season alone, and Ohio State hit the mark four times in the eight games.

Georgia went 17 straight games without averaging ten yards per pass. Daniels stepped in, and boom. The offense averaged well over ten yards per throw in three of the last four games, with the lone outlier a layup win over South Carolina when the ground game rumbled for well over 300 yards.

The running game will be terrific, the defense will be outstanding, and the pieces are there – even with George Pickens hurt – to keep pushing the ball deep.

Open it up and good things will happen.

Georgia Bulldogs Biggest Key: Defense

Come up with a stop on the longer drives. It’s hard to nitpick the 2020 Georgia defense.

It was amazing against the run, it only got roasted by the otherworldly Alabama and Florida offenses that burned everyone, and it consistently got the job done …

Except when teams got inside the 20.

It wasn’t a problem early in the season because Georgia just never let anyone go on a march. Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee combined to get into the red zone just twice, and the Hogs and Tigers each came away with a field goal.

The Bulldog defense held one drive inside the 20 without points, but it was a big one – a missed field goal in Cincinnati’s 24-21 loss in the Chick-fil-A Peach.

22 trips in the red zone, 21 trips that ended in opponent scores, including three Alabama touchdowns and three more from the Gators. Worst of all, out of the 20 times teams got inside the 20 over the final seven games, 14 ended in touchdowns.

Georgia Bulldogs Key Player To A Successful Season

WR Jermaine Burton, Soph.
Kearis Jackson will once again be a go-to target, and freakishly-talented transfer Arik Gilbert will work in a variety of ways, but the Dawgs need to somehow replace the all-around star power and playmaking ability of George Pickens.

Pickens led the team with six touchdown catches after leading the team in catches, yards and scores in 2019, but he suffered a knee injury this offseason and is questionable to return.

That raises the bar for Burton, a 6-0, 200-pound sophomore who was third on the team with 27 catches for 404 yards and three scores. He’s got the speed and the talent, and now he’ll get the opportunity to grow into a bigger role for the Dawg receiving corps.

Georgia Bulldogs Key Game To The 2021 Season

Clemson (in Charlotte), Sept. 4
Of course the showdown with Florida in Jacksonville on October 30th is everything in the battle to win SEC title, but there’s a chance that it might not really matter to Georgia’s playoff chances. On the flip side, lose, and there’s probably no margin for error.

Here’s how this might work.

Clemson has a relatively easy schedule – it should rip through everyone after the Georgia game and should be heavily favored to win the ACC title and possible go to the CFP again.

If Georgia wins the opener against the Tigers, it can afford a loss along the way. Of course the goal is to win the not-called-a-cocktail-party and go on to take the SEC title, but losing to Florida might not be the worst thing in the world.

If the Gators win and end up going off to the SEC Championship, Georgia misses Alabama – or whatever comes out of the West – and is probably in the playoff by going 11-1 with that win over Clemson if Clemson does what we all think it’s going to do, and …

Just beat Clemson. Do that, and the tone is set for the rest of the season and cements the argument that it deserves to be in the CFP over the likely ACC champ – if it comes down to that.

Georgia Bulldogs Schedule Breakdown & Analysis

2020 Georgia Bulldogs Fun Stats

– 4th Quarter Scoring: Georgia 59 – Opponents 16
– Rushing Yards Per Game: Georgia 174.2 – Opponents 72.3
– Red Zone Scoring %: Opponents 21-of-22 (95%) – Georgia 28-of-36 (78%)

NEXT: Georgia Bulldogs College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction

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