Saturday, December 20, 2014
Georgia offense vs. Michigan State defense
Key injuries have forced Georgia to use five different starting groups on the offensive line this year, but the big men up front have overcome early adversity and steadily developed into a cohesive unit. That doesn't bode well for a Michigan State run defense that's allowing an average of 4.1 yards per carry. Look for the Bulldogs to control the line of scrimmage and regularly get into position at the second level. That means Spartans LBs Eric Gordon and Greg Jones will have to fight though plenty of traffic to get to the ball, and they can't afford to waste time looking for shortcuts, either. Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno has great vision, balance and speed. He is more than capable of cutting back if he sees a linebacker start to run around blockers rather than stacking them up in the hole. Making matters worse for Michigan State is the strong arm of Bulldogs QB Matthew Stafford. His ability to strike deep off play-action makes stacking the line of scrimmage in an effort to slow the run a risky proposition. Stafford has thrown for 3,209 yards and 22 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions and he has perhaps the strongest arm among FBS quarterbacks. He also has a pair of talented receivers in Mohamed Massaquoi and true freshman A.J. Green who are capable of chasing down the deep ball. With that in mind, CB's Ross Weaver and Chris L. Rucker should play off the line in an effort to take away the big play in most situations. The problem with this approach is it that it will only work if they tackle well, and that's easier said than done. Green is a dangerous open-field runner who is a threat to score every time he touches the ball and Massaquoi can pick up yards after contact. Still, the Spartans' pass rush should have some success getting to Stafford and it's important that he not take any chances over the middle when the pass protection starts to break down because SS Otis Wiley is a playmaker who has intercepted four passes this season.
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