The Georgia football team is playing a noon game at home against a little-known team from Louisiana. What could possibly go wrong? Let’s make some predictions:
1. DOES GEORGIA FINALLY WIN EASY?
Convincingly, yes. But maybe not easy. We all know Georgia’s recent history, and Louisiana-Lafayette (4-5) is coming off a win at Georgia Southern. For Georgia, there are also similarities between this game and Nicholls State: In both instances, the Bulldogs were coming off a rousing win over a ranked team. The Vanderbilt loss also came after a win at South Carolina, when it had seemed the Bulldogs had turned a corner. So can you really trust Kirby Smart’s bunch this time? Deep sigh … yes, go ahead. The team, especially the defense, has shown real improvement the past two weeks, and if they haven’t learned their lesson about underestimating these type of opponents yet, then, well, they never will.
2. WILL GEORGIA BE ABLE TO RUN THE BALL?
An average amount. A lot’s been made of Louisiana-Lafayette ranking 20th nationally in rush defense, as measured by yards allowed per game. But the Ragin’ Cajuns are even better when you go by yards per rush attempt: Seventh nationally. It helps to have faced the nation’s worst rushing offense (Texas State)) and three others who rank 100th or worse. When they faced better rushing offenses (Georgia Southern, Tulane, Appalachian State) those teams were able to move the ball on the ground. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and company will.
3. WHAT ABOUT JACOB EASON?
He’ll have a good day. The Rajin Cajuns are only 95th nationally against the pass, a big reason other teams have put up big points on their defense: Boise State scored 45, Tulane 41, New Mexico State 27. Eason won’t beat his season-high (346 against Vanderbilt) but he’ll finish around 250-275 and then give way to Greyson Lambert in the fourth quarter.
4. OK, SO WHO ELSE FOR GEORGIA WILL FINALLY SEE SIGNIFICANT ACTION?
Mecole Hardman, but mainly on special teams. The first freshman defensive back in off the bench may be Tyrique McGhee. Otherwise the defense is already using a bunch of freshman. On offense, Brian Herrien may see a lot of second-half carries, while Ellijah Holyfield, who only has five carries all year, four in the blowout loss at Ole Miss, may equal that in the fourth quarter. And look for little-used receivers like Shakenneth Williams and Tyler Simmons to have some balls thrown their way.
5. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THIS IS WILDLY OPTIMISTIC AND GEORGIA DOESN’T COVER THE SPREAD?
Very good. I mean, refer back to everything we said in the first question. Georgia is favored by 23 as of this writing. Would you put your kid’s college savings on that? Only if you’re nuts. But since we’re just talking here, and not betting anyone’s real money, the guess is Georgia does cover the spread, in the range of a 45-17 win. (While Georgia’s defense is playing well, former LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings will occasionally give Georgia fits through his running.)