If the Georgia football team wants to repeat as national champions, it may fall on the run game to get the job done.
For the second straight year, Georgia football will have a chance to win a National Championship. Their opponents in the big game this year are the 13-1 TCU Horned Frogs, who stunned the college football world by defeating Michigan 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl to advance to the title game. Head coach Sonny Dykes has had a season to remember in his first year in Fort Worth.
Don’t let their Cinderalla-esque story fool you, however. The Horned Frogs are littered with talent on offense and defense, starting with quarterback Max Duggan, who was a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Duggan has 3,546 passing yards and 32 touchdowns on the season. He has also rushed for 461 yards and eight touchdowns. Needless to say, the Georgia defense will have their work cut out for them on Monday.
The Dawgs’ offense will also be challenged by TCU’s defense. Led by Jim Thorpe Award winner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, they have intercepted 16 passes on the season. Against Michigan, they intercepted two passes that were returned for touchdowns.
Although Georgia will have confidence in their wide receivers and tight ends, the running game might play a big role in the team’s success on Monday. TCU gives up an average of 152 yards per game on the ground, which is ranked 70th in the nation. In their last two games against Michigan and Kansas State, they have given up 186 and 205 rushing yards.
This should bode well for Georgia’s stable of star running backs — Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton, and Daijun Edwards — who combined for 154 yards in the Peach Bowl.
McIntosh is having an incredible senior year, serving as a weapon in both the run and the pass game. He has 1,285 yards from scrimmage with 12 touchdowns. He will be a day-two steal for a team in the NFL Draft. He rushed for 70 yards against Ohio State on Saturday and had a receiving touchdown, although he should have had a rushing touchdown as well had it not been for the “turf monster”.
Injuries have plagued Kendall Milton all season, but he has been heating up over the last five games. In that stretch, he has rushed for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, he has 557 rushing yards and seven touchdowns this year.
Daijun Edwards has been the breakout star of the backfield this year. His carries were increased due to Milton’s injuries, and he has made the most of them with his power running style. The junior from Moultrie, GA has rushed for 741 yards and seven touchdowns.
All three of these men have complemented Stetson Bennett and the Georgia passing game nicely this season. In the National Championship game, however, look for them to have a big day as they try and help Georgia complete a 15-0 season and repeat as National Champions for the first time in school history.