The Bulldogs may have come up short in the SEC Championship Game but the Bulldogs can finish the season on a winning note by taking down Texas in the Sugar bowl. Georgia is a double-digit favorite but nothing should be taken for granted against a Texas team that took down College Football Playoff bound Oklahoma in the regular season.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys:
Cover for Deandre Baker
With the amount of top stars skipping out on bowl games to protect their NFL investment it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Baker will be doing the same. As much as this will be a blow to the Georgia defensive backfield, the Bulldogs will have to come up with a plan to cover for the First-Team All-American who won the Jim Thorpe Award this season as the best defensive back in the country.
One of the big issues here is that Baker initially said he would be playing in this game. Hopefully he recanted that statement quickly to coach Kirby Smart, giving the Georgia brass enough time to come up with a plan to minimize Baker’s loss.
This likely means that the Bulldogs will be starting a pair of freshman on the corners in Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell. This is far from ideal against a prolific Texas passing attack with a pair of receivers in Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey who are just 130 yards away from becoming the leading tandem in the history of the program.
Stay efficient on offense
This will be a new situation in many ways for Jake Fromm and the Georgia offense. While Fromm was never demoted to the position in No. 2 quarterback behind Justin Fields, Fromm always had to think that a string of bad decisions could see him pulled from the game in favor of the freshman sensation. Now, with Fields having announced his intention to transfer, this is Fromm’s team only.
His first task will be to play the bowl game with the same level of heady efficiency that Fromm showed throughout the year. Georgia averages over 13 yards per pass, they hit big plays at the right time, and they are expects at converting third downs into first down. The passing offense is the fifth most efficient in the nation and the Longhorns defense has given up over 240 yards passing in eight of its last nine games.
That defense is particularly bad against quarterbacks like Fromm that can do a little bit of everything right. Expect Fromm to keep on keeping on with the Georgia passing game here.
Does Georgia want to make a statement?
Bowl games are sometimes hard to predict because the motivations for playing in them vary so much. Georgia has a legit beef about not being one of the four teams selected for the College Football playoff as most would probably pick the Bulldogs against both Oklahoma and (certainly) Notre Dame on a