ATHENS, GA — As we say in the Redcoat Band: It’s game week! The city of Athens is buzzing with excitement as the Dawgs prepare to travel to Clemson.
The general confidence around campus is a mixed bag.
“We’ve got Aaron Murray, Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, and Malcolm Mitchell. They can’t stop us!”
“They’ve got Tahj Boyd. How on earth are we going to stop him?”
I wanted to find out what the “other side” is thinking at the moment, too, so I contacted my old high school classmate Jasmine Eddington, who just so happens to be a senior at Clemson.
From my perspective–and I’ve seen more than my fair share of football–it won’t hinge on either side’s defensive secondary. It will be decided by the defensive front-sevens and the running game.
Whichever side can establish the run will win.
And right now, it’s hard to argue with five returning starters on the Georgia O-line and the two studs called Gurley and Marshall being able to grind out yards and shorten the game.
Since Todd Grantham took over as defensive coordinator at UGA, his teams tend to struggle against quarterbacks who can run and escape pressure. South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw rushed for 89 yards against the Bulldogs last year.
And that came when the defense was at full strength with the likes of Jarvis Jones, Baccari Rambo, and Alec Ogletree.
Even Buffalo (4-8 in 2012) quarterback Alex Zordich managed to scramble for 83 yards on Grantham’s front.