Georgia Three Keys: Middle Tennessee


Georgia was better than anyone could have expected as they blitzed South Carolina for a 21-0 run in the middle of a game that was supposed to show that the Gamecocks were the Bulldogs equal. Middle Tennessee is up next for Georgia.

By Steve Wright

Here are the three keys:

Develop a pass rush

One of the few aspects of Georgia’s game that has been lacking through the first two weeks is the pass rush. The pass defense has been exceptional on the back end, with the Georgia corners and safeties locking down receivers and making plays on the ball to break up passes.

The front seven, hoever, has not entirely played its part. That the Bulldogs managed to crush the projected second best team in the division without really pressuring Jake Bentley says everything about the ability of the back half of the defense.

A pass rush won’t matter against a Middle Tennessee offense that was stopped by Vanderbilt in Week 1. It will matter further down the road though, so it is an issue Kirby Smart needs to fix quickly.

Avoid injuries

The easiest way to derail a hot team is to see a star player or two go down with an injury in a game that is already well in hand. That is what Georgia will have to avoid against the Blue Raiders.

This is Jake Fromm’s team – that much is clear from the way that Fromm is playing ball – so the Bulldogs need to build up a big lead early and get him out of the game. The same is true for some of the other players the get less press too, with the Bulldogs offensive line in particular having played lights out football so far in 2018.

Get the rythym going early, get the score rolling quickly, then get the starters out of the game by the beginning of the second half.

Make Middle Tennessee work for scores

Middle Tennessee has an effective passing game. It didn’t show up against Vandy, but last week against UT Martin the Blue Raiders looked more like the team we have come to expect under quarterback Brent Stockstill.

Stockstill is hitting over 70-percent of his passes and he has piled up nearly 600 yards and thrown six touchdowns so far in 2018. The key for Georgia will be to make sure their tackling is sound, making Stockstill work for every touchdown by going on long drives to score rather than breaking a big play or two.

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