We’re introducing a new feature here on MrSEC.com today. On most weeks this fall — when he’s not in California watching his own son play college football, guest analyst Ralph Miranda will provide us with quick Tuesday breakdown of the SEC’s game of the week on CBS.
Ralph knows the game. He was a walk-on linebacker for Notre Dame’s 1977 national championship team and he also served as color analyst for Vanderbilt football games on television in the 1990s.
We think his short breakdowns — focusing on stats that coaches often say are the most important stats in football — will give you a little something extra as we wrap up one week and roll into the next.
And now, I turn it over to Ralph for his breakdown of Georgia’s 51-44 win over Tennessee.
Georgia — 3 (2 fumbles, 1 interception)
Tennessee — 4 (1 fumble, 3 interceptions)
1st & 10 Plays Covering 4+ Yards:
Georgia — 30 1st & 10 plays / 16 of 4+
Tennessee — 36 1st & 10 plays / 13 of 4+
3rd Down Conversions:
Georgia — 6 of 11 (55%)
Tennessee — 8 of 15 (53%)
Explosive Plays Covering 20+ Yards:
Georgia — 8
Tennessee — 5
Three Keys To Victory:
1. Stopping the Run
Georgia ran for 282 yards on 39 attempts for an average of 7.2 yards per rush. In football, nothing demoralizes a defense more than its opponent’s ability to run the ball effectively. Not only does it keep the opposing offense off the field but it also tires out the defensive line thereby minimizing their pass rush effectiveness late in the game. Georgia not only ran the ball effectively but also explosively (long TD runs). Tennessee was therefore unable to put consistent and effective pressure on Murray when he did throw.
2. Poor Defensive Effort
Tennessee did not play defense well at all. While this appears on the surface to be a no-brainer statement looking deeper reveals some keys. Tennessee’s linebackers took poor angles to the hole all afternoon. They did not read offensive line keys well and were out of position when they did get to the point of attack. They also had great difficulty shedding blockers, an essential to good linebacker play. The Tennessee secondary was out of position most of the afternoon and gave Georgia receivers too much cushion when they were locked up in man-to-man coverage on blitzing downs.
3. Pick your Poison
When you play a team like Georgia with a solid quarterback and two good running backs and the ability to run or throw with equal effectiveness you must strive to make them one-dimensional. Commit to taking away one weapon and force them to beat you with the other. Tennessee was unable to accomplish this. Georgia racked up 560 yards of total offense (278 passing and 282 rushing). This is a recipe for disaster and the recipe was served up last Saturday afternoon between the hedges.