Sanford Stadium is the on-campus playing venue for football at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, home of the Georgia Bulldogs.
The 2017 NCAA football season has rolled into the final week of the season as Championship Monday approaches. For all but two college football programs the offseason has begun for the players as well as the coaching staffs. The two teams who won’t start their offseason is the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
These two SEC schools found a way to knock off two talented (Oklahoma Sooners & Clemson Tigers) football programs in the first round of the NCAA Football Playoffs. The Bulldogs behind a big time rushing attack knocked off the Sooners in double overtime 54-48 in the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile the Tide behind a strong defensive performance rolled to a 24-6 win in the AllState Sugar Bowl in a rematch of last year’s Championship matchup.
As these two teams get set to face off next Monday Night in the CFP National Championship Game, each team will have a tough task to game plan. On one side the Bulldogs offense is as good as any teams in the country while their defense has had their ups and downs. On the other side the Crimson Tide may have the best defense in the country and it showed up against the Tigers forcing two defensive touchdowns to help move on to another NCAA Championship game.
Here is a look at the keys for both the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide as they get to face off for the College Football Championship.
Georgia Bulldogs – 3 Keys to the Game
- Nick Chubb & Sony Michel – The biggest weapon the Bulldogs had this season was their running game led by Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. That weapon was too much for the Sooners on New Year’s Day as the two combined for 326 yards and five total touchdowns. For the Bulldogs, they will need these two guys as well as D’Andre Swift to make plays out of the backfield.
- Make the Passes Count – We don’t expect the Bulldogs to come out throwing but they will need Jake Fromm to make some big plays if they want to open up the running game against a very good Crimson Tide defense. That said when the Bulldogs dial up the pass they will need Fromm to stay as accurate as possible while hitting guys like Javon Wims and Terry Godwin.
- Disrupt Jalen Hurts – On the defensive side of the ball the Bulldogs will need to be aggressive while getting to Jalen Hurts early. While Hurts may not have the passing numbers that Baker Mayfield had, his ability to make plays with his feet could be a difference maker in this contest. Good news for the Bulldogs is that Hurts has shown the ability to turn the ball over when he is being forced to do too much.
Alabama Crimson Tide – 3 Keys to the Game
- Big Time Performance Up Front – For the Tides offensive and defensive lines they will have a difficult task on Monday Night but one that Nick Saban will need to perform at a high level if he wants to add another National Championship to his resume. On the defensive side of the ball they will need guys like Raekwon Davis to get into the backfield to stop the potential of the Bulldogs rushing attack. On the offensive side of the ball the offense line will not only need to help open up the rushing attack they will need to give Hurts time to make plays while taking the pressure off of him early.
- All about Calvin – The one key mismatch in this game that the Crimson Tide has will be at the wide receiver position as Calvin Ridley has the ability to be a game changer much like we saw from Amari Cooper just a few seasons ago in the National Championship Game. While Ridley didn’t top the 1,000 yard mark or post double digit touchdowns much of that is due to the type of offense the Tide runs. The Tide will need Ridley to put together a big game to help set up the rest of their offense.
- Nick Saban – While Saban might not be on the field his ability to win the big game will give the Tide the advantage early. Despite losing late to the Tigers last season, the Tide have been strong under Saban in each of their National Championship Games and are very disciplined from the first play to the final play. Look for Saban to get creative on both sides of the ball including up front to slow down the Bulldogs running attack.