When and where: November 23, 2019, Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA, 3:30 PM ET
The Georgia Bulldogs desperately need a win to remain SEC Championship-bound on Saturday when hosting the visiting Texas A&M Aggies. Since losing to South Carolina, the Bulldogs have stormed back into the playoff conversation with a vengeance in marquee wins over Florida and Auburn. They recently held off Auburn in a tough road game where they were forced to overcome some adversity late in the game to come away with a 21-14 win. Meanwhile, the Aggies are coming off a 30-6 win over South Carolina.
Can the Aggies secure a signature win?The Aggies have yet to knock off a top-25 opponent this season. They’ve whiffed on other opportunities against Alabama, Auburn and Clemson, setting the stage for a desperation game on Saturday. It’s ironic that they’ll be facing Georgia a week after knocking off the only team to beat them this season.
South Carolina proved to be no match for Texas A&M’s bullish rushing attack, spearheaded by the ferocious running back combination of Cordarrian Richardson and Isaiah Spiller. Even quarterback Kellen Mond tacked on 47 yards on the ground for a total of 319 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
That’s the kind of effort the Aggies need to pull off an upset against Georgia.
Whether it’s from Mond scrambling around the field or the running backs, the Aggies have to figure out a way to establish balance against the top-ranked Bulldogs defense. Opposing teams are only averaging 267.2 total yards when facing Georgia. Mond will have to come up with some big throws in this game to sustain drives.
More importantly, Texas A&M’s defense needs turnovers, similar to what South Carolina did to Georgia, to increase their odds of an upset. The Bulldogs offense has been sluggish with quarterback Jake Fromm behind center. Granted, the three interceptions he threw against South Carolina are the only three he’s thrown all season, but the Aggies defense is going to have to make plays to force the mistakes they need to win. There is no happy ending with a clean game.
Bulldogs can’t get complacentThe Bulldogs survived a near collapse against Auburn last week. It would be foolish to take anything for granted on Saturday against a motivated and desperate Texas A&M team. Nothing is guaranteed within the confines of Sanford Stadium. We’ve already seen South Carolina kick down the doors as significant underdogs and beat Georgia on their home field.
One way to ensure something similar doesn’t happen to them against Texas A&M is shutting down the run game. They need to force the Aggies offense into being one-dimensional, and then turn up the heat in the pocket by sending pass rushers after Mond. Outside of Notre Dame’s Ian Book, Mond will be the best quarterback the Bulldogs have faced so far this season. It will once again fall on the defense to save the day by shutting things down and keeping the game low-scoring. Georgia’s defense is allowing only 10.5 points per game, which ranks second only to Ohio State in the country.
I’m not holding out much hope for the Bulldogs offense. Fromm hasn’t really shown much outside of being a traditional game manager all season. I’m not expecting him to suddenly change when taking the field against the fifth-best defensive team in the conference.
There are some legitimate concerns for the Bulldogs in the injury department, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Lawrence Cager, the team’s leading receiver, is questionable with a shoulder injury, along with offensive linemen Cade Mays and Justin Shaffer.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Aggies are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Aggies are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- Aggies are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Aggies are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Bulldogs are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.