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The Friday Five, SEC championship edition
On Friday, we highlight the five players who are going to make a difference and lead Georgia to a win on Saturday. So without further ado, these are the five players who are going to lead Georgia to an SEC title:
Jake Fromm, sophomore quarterback
Fromm is going to need to have the best game of his career. He’s done that a few times this season, as he was great against Florida and nearly perfect against Georgia Tech. But the Alabama defense is a much tougher test.
In last year’s national championship game against Alabama, Fromm really struggled in the second half after a hot start, yet Georgia was still in position to win the game in overtime. He threw for 232 yards and one touchdown, along with two interceptions. Entering this year’s game, Fromm has regained a lot of momentum and confidence.He’ll have to play his best game of his career for Georgia to take down the Crimson Tide.
Isaac Nauta, junior tight end
Alabama leads the SEC in sacks. It’s second in total defense. Georgia’s going to need to be able to run the ball on early down and pick up key third downs when called upon. Nauta is going to help in both of those departments. He’ll be asked to open holes for Georgia running backs D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield. Fromm has also looked to the big tight end quite often this year, as Nauta is third on the team in receptions.
Last year we saw Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman both have big games for Georgia. Some pass catcher is going to have to step up for the Bulldogs to win on Saturday. We think Nauta is going to be that guy that helps give Georgia the edge over the Crimson Tide.
D’Andre Walker, senior linebacker
Georgia doesn’t sack the quarterback often this year, as its 20 sacks are tied for second worst in the SEC. Walker has been the lone, consistent pass-rushing threat, as he leads the team with 6.5 sacks. And the few times that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has struggled this year, it has been because of pressure.
Walker and the rest of the Georgia defense have to rattle Tagovailoa on Saturday. That means multiple sacks, and we think that Walker is going to get at least one of those sacks.
Tyson Campbell, freshman cornerback
Campbell has had a rough go of it in his freshman season. He has been constantly targeted by opposing teams, due to the fact that he’s on the other side of the field from All-America candidate Deandre Baker. The senior cornerback is up for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the country’s top defensive back. Baker will likely see most of Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy on Saturday.
But the reason why Campbell is on this list is because Alabama doesn’t just have one wide receiver who can beat you. The all-star cast features Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith. It was Smith who famously caught the game-ending touchdown pass in last year’s national championship game. Campbell is going to have to hold his own against those Alabama wide receivers on Saturday. We think he’ll be able to do that.
Rodrigo Blankenship, junior kicker
Special teams is the one aspect where Georgia should have a clear advantage over Alabama. And it’s largely because of Blankenship. While Alabama leads the country in missed extra points this season, Blankenship has made every single one of his this season. He also connected on a 51-yard field goal in last year’s national title game.
Field goals aren’t going to win Georgia this game, but UGA fans should feel confident when Blankenship steps on the field. If he can boom touchbacks on kickoffs as well, that’ll really help Georgia upset the Crimson Tide.
Week 14 College Football Picks
We went 3-3 last week on our picks, as West Virginia came up just short of the winning side. As always, don’t put money down on these picks.
No. 4 Georgia vs. No. 1 Alabama, 4 p.m. ET, CBS, WSB Radio 95.5 FM/750 AM
It’s the game of the weekend and most likely the game of the season. I believe that Alabama is in the college football Playoff regardless of the result this weekend, but I’m not sure if that will lead Alabama to an uninspired performance. The best team in football doesn’t always win. Sometimes a team can put together a great 60-minute performance and overcome a superior team. I think Georgia is going to do that on Saturday, as Kirby Smart throw everything he has into this game. Georgia 34 (+13.5), Alabama 26
No. 11 Washington vs. No. 17 Utah, 8 p.m. ET, FOX, Friday
A rematch from a very ugly game earlier in this season. We really like this Washington team, which should’ve had a better season than it did. But a PAC 12 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl is a nice consolation prize for this Washington team. Washington 24 (-5.5) , Utah 13
No. 14 Texas vs. No. 5 Oklahoma, Noon ET, FOX
If you’re a Georgia fan, you want Texas to win this game. For one, a Georgia-Texas Sugar Bowl matchup would be much more exciting than a Georgia-Oklahoma game. Second, an Oklahoma loss opens the door for Georgia to sneak into the College Football Playoff as two-loss team, in the event that it loses to Alabama. Oklahoma’s defense can’t stop a soul, so we like the Longhorns to pull off another upset over Oklahoma. Texas 45 (+8.5), Oklahoma 41
Stanford at Cal, 3 p.m. ET, PAC 12 Network
This game was moved due to the wildfires in California. Stanford has dominated this rivalry in recent memory, and while it has been a down year for the Cardinal, we like them to end the season with a win over their hated rivals. Stanford 27 (-3) , Cal 17
No. 2 Clemson vs. Pitt, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
The last time these two teams met back in 2016, Pitt pulled off the upset of the season as it took the Tigers on the road. This game will be played in Charlotte, N.C., and we think Clemson will have no problem putting up a ton of points on this Pittsburgh team. Clemson 55 (-27.5), Pitt 14
No. 21 Northwestern vs. No. 6 Ohio State, 8 p.m. ET, FOX
The Buckeyes finally looked like Ohio State last week against Michigan. While they’ve played up and down to the competition all season, I think we’re going to see a really motivated Ohio State team on Saturday. They’ve put up some big numbers in this game in the past, and we think they’ll have no problem against the Wildcats. Ohio State 42 (-14.5), Northwestern 20
Record on the season (Against the Spread): 43-32-2
Best stories from around DawgNation
- Why Georgia fans should and shouldn’t worry about who Georgia Tech hires
- Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart once again tries to make history vs. Nick Saban
- Bulldogs more inspired than intimidated by Alabama’s distinction as ‘greatest team ever’
- WATCH Georgia football LB Juwan Taylor: Bulldogs becoming SEC Championship Game regulars
- Georgia football Cover 4: How do the Bulldogs beat Alabama?
- WATCH Georgia football tight end Isaac Nauta: ‘We don’t forget’
- Rodrigo Blankenship is a ‘confidence booster’ for the entire team explains former UGA punter Cam Nizialek
- ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit: ‘Georgia will have success moving the ball against Bama’
Dawgs on Twitter
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) November 30, 2018
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 30, 2018
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) November 29, 2018
Top 6 coming tomorrow!!!!
— Bryan Bresee (@bryan_bresee) November 29, 2018
Good Dawg of the Day
This is Franklin. He took his baths in the sink as a puppy. Refuses to ever pupgrade to the tub. Thinks he fits just fine. 13/10 good boy Franklin pic.twitter.com/dR4VQ3gZJF
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) November 29, 2018