Sugar Bowl – #15 Texas Longhorns v #5 Georgia Bulldogs

Bowl

Texas:

Offense

Passing: Texas has been a different team since they made the swap from Buechele to Ehlinger. Part of their renewed success comes from Ehlinger’s ability to be a threat in the ground game as well as the passing game. Texas has great road numbers a drop of about 5% in completion percentage. They are averaging about 2.3 passing touchdowns per road game, as opposed to 2 at home. The yards per attempt and rating are definitely better at home because of the increased propensity to throw interceptions on the road. Don’t make assumptions through, they are still averaging almost 3 touchdowns per interception.

Rushing: Texas has been quite a bit better on the road than at home. They actually score more touchdowns on 8 less attempts per game. While the average yards per attempt is down a little bit, they’ve been able to get to the end zone which is what really matters. Georgia is a different team defending the run away from home so this could be a key battle for the offensive line.

Defense

Passing: The Longhorns have really struggled against the passing game on the road. They allow a 10% higher completion rate, 2 additional yards per attempt and almost triple the touchdowns. Just to make matters worse they have only managed one-third of the interceptions. This is a serious concern for me with the Bulldogs passing game.

Rushing: The Texas run defense has been good as well, despite allowing a couple more touchdowns. The yards per carry are almost exactly the same; the defense just faces almost 9 more rush attempts. They also have played one more hame on the road, so the touchdown numbers aren’t of real importance.

Georgia:

Offense

Passing: The bulldogs have been ridiculous at home in the passing game with 19 touchdowns and only 1 interception. While they “take a step back” (if you can even call it that) on the road, they still put up 12 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. They do decrease about 2 yards per attempt, but still are above 8 with 3 more pass attempts per game on the road.

Rushing: Georgia’s rushing game has been great at home and only marginally less so away from home. They drop 2 yards per carry from 7 to 5 by leaving the confines of home. However they still average well over 200 yards per game on the road on basically the same attempts as home (where they are getting about 290). The only possible area for consideration is the sheer touchdown differential, which admittedly is sizable. They’ve scored 21 touchdowns at home compared to only 9 on the road. This effectively half the rate of conversion for touchdowns than what they’ve experienced at home.

Defense

Passing: The Bulldogs pass defense has been pretty decent. They allow 60 more yards away from home, but they also face 9 more passing attempts per game. They allow a 4.5% lower completion percentage on the road than at home. And although they allow touchdowns at the same rate, they triple their number of interceptions.

Rushing: The bulldogs haven’t been as prolific defending the running game. Although there’s only about a 0.6 yard per game increase away from home, they have done so on couple more attempts per game. Much like the rushing offense, my big concern is the touchdown differential, they’ve allowed only 3 rushing touchdowns at home, compared to 12 on the road.

The Game

The game is played at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana with kickoff at 5:45p PST/ 8:45p EST. The neutrals are expecting about 60 points to be scored, and Georgia to be almost two touchdown favorites.

Keys to a win for each side

Texas: 

  • Run for it. Texas has a good rushing game that has been better away from home. Sam Ehlinger adds quite a bit of mobility from the QB position. Georgia has been giving up a lot more touchdowns on the road and Texas has been taking advantage of their opportunities. This could be an opportunity for Texas to shift the game in their favor. It also has the added benefit of allowing them to control the clock.
  • Press here. Defensive pressure might make or break this game for Texas. They’ve been very poor against the pass where Georgia has been good. Texas needs to balance trying to get to Georgia’s QB and stopping the run. The Bulldogs have a large drop off for touchdowns scored on the road, and if Texas can stand tall and slow them down they are much more likely to stay in this game.
  • Dual Threat. They’ve become a whole different team because of the QB transition. I think this has the potential to add a whole lot of flexibility and unexpectedness to this team. By using the full compliment of Ehlinger’s talents, they have a great chance of putting Georgia on their defensive heels.

Georgia:

  • Exploit the air. Texas doesn’t bring fear to anyones passing game, and I think Georgia is in a great position to take advantage of this. Georgia has been great in the passing game this year, and should be able to take advantage of Texas’ Achilles heel. Georgia has been able to keep similar statistics regardless of venue and Texas allows a much higher completion percentage and a lot more touchdowns.
  • Punch it in. Georgia’s rushing offense has been fine, but they need to get it into the end zone this time around. They are big favorites over Texas and although the passing game will go a long way; there will still be opportunity for the rushing game to hit pay dirt.
  • Stay focused. The Bulldogs are sizable favorites over Texas, but that will change very quickly if Georgi isn’t focused. Georgia’s run defense hasn’t been great and might be a focal point for Texas. Georgia’s defense needs to stay focused for the whole game; they can’t afford plays off.

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