College News & Analysis

College Football National Championship: Georgia's path to victory

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) hands off to running back Kendall Milton (2) during the first half of the Peach Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch Ncaa Football Peach Bowl Ohio State At Georgia

• Dominate up front: Georgia’s offensive line has a clear advantage over the TCU front seven, which the Bulldogs should use to their advantage.

• Slow down Quentin Johnston: The TCU receiver should be Georgia’s focal point on defense.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins

There have only been two repeat college football national champions since 1980: Nebraska in 1994-1995 and Alabama in 2011-2012.

On Monday, top-ranked Georgia will try to join that exclusive club when it takes on No. 3 TCU in the 2022-23 College Football Playoff National Championship. Here’s what the Bulldogs need to do both on offense and defense to accomplish that feat.

Offensive path to success: Dominate in the trenches

Georgia’s offensive line is one of the very best in college football. Among FBS teams, the Bulldogs have the highest pass-blocking efficiency score (93.5), the lowest knockdown rate allowed (1.8%) and the second-lowest pressure rate allowed (12.7%). In the run game, Georgia has averaged 2.6 yards before contact, which ranks sixth in the Power Five.

Meanwhile, TCU has the eighth-lowest pass-rushing grade (63.5) among Power Five teams this season. The Horned Frogs have pressured opposing quarterbacks on only 23.8% of their pass-rushing snaps, the third-lowest mark in that same group. TCU’s average depth of tackle in the run game is tied for 74th in the nation, at 4.6 yards downfield.

Suffice to say, the Bulldogs should dominate the Horned Frogs at the line of scrimmage. That will make things much easier for quarterback Stetson Bennett and the skill position players to excel.

Defensive path to success: Don’t let Quentin Johnston beat you

Georgia’s defense was exposed by Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and the prolific Buckeyes offense to the tune of 41 points, the most the Bulldogs allowed all season.

The main culprit was the secondary. All five defensive backs who played at least 25 snaps graded below 70.0 in that game, and three graded around 50.0 or lower.

Georgia’s defensive backs and how they graded against Ohio State
Name Position Grade
Christopher Smith Safety 67.5
Kelee Ringo Cornerback 61.2
Kamari Lassiter Cornerback 50.2
Javon Bullard Cornerback 47.5
Malaki Starks Safety 46.2

TCU’s receiving corps isn’t as complete as Ohio State’s, but the Horned Frogs do have Quentin Johnston, who’s currently a top-10 prospect and the best wide receiver on PFF’s 2023 NFL Draft Big Board. Against Michigan in the semifinal, Johnston caught six of his nine targets for 163 yards and a touchdown, averaging an absurd 5.82 yards per route run. His 163 yards accounted for 72.4% of TCU’s passing total in that game.

TCU quarterback and Heisman runner-up Max Duggan gets most of the love on that offense, and deservedly so, but neutralizing Johnston would take away most of the Horned Frogs’ passing game altogether.

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