The Georgia Bulldogs run game vs. the Louisville Cardinals run defense.
The 2014 Belk Bowl matchup between the No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs and the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals has an elephant in the room…or is that a Grantham in the room.
The former Georgia defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, has all the nation talking about how well his defense plays against the run, and when you see where they rank nationally in that category, you may just well agree.
It appears to be the irresistible force of the Georgia running game — ranked no. 13 in the nation — vs. the seemingly immovable object of the Louisville rush defense — ranked no. 3 in the country.
In keeping with how the College Football Playoff Committee took into account schedule strength, I thought I’d cross-reference how both teams’ competition did in rushing offense (on the Cardinal’s side) and rushing defense (for the Bulldog’s competition). I’m only going to look at teams in the Power-5 conferences for these purposes.
Here is where the Bulldogs’ opponents ranked vs the run against all their competition
[table id=26 /]
So given those rankings the Bulldogs faced three run defenses in the top 25, and lost to one (Florida), and only faced one run defenses in the bottom 25 in the nation. The Bulldogs were never held below 100 yards, and were able to top the average yards allowed per game in every single contest.
Here is what the Cardinals no. 3 rushing defense has faced this season in Power-5 opponents
[table id=27 /]
The Cardinals only faced one Top 25 rushing offense, and did give up 166 yards to BC. Seven of the Cardinals opponents were ranked in the bottom 50 nationally in rushing, with two in the bottom 25. So although their stats are impressive at first glance, it’s obvious that the competition wasn’t exactly stiff.
Georgia, of course, did much of their work while many of its stable of running backs missed several games for a number of reasons. So it would seem that while the numbers look even going in, that the Bulldogs do have a decided advantage in the rush game vs. the Louisville defense.
Just like when Grantham was here in Athens, a lot of smoke and mirrors.
All statistics via cfbstats.com