The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will kickoff at 12pm ET on New Year’s Day and features No.9 Georgia versus No.8 Cincinnati. It is the third meeting between the teams and the first since 1976. We’ll take a look at the teams.
No.9 Georgia Bulldogs (7-2)
Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs had another solid year but once again fell short of the fans’ playoff hopes. Georgia beat the teams they were supposed to bear but struggled against the elite competition of the SEC. Their losses came big to Alabama 41-24 and Florida 44-28.
The Georgia offense was adequate early on but not strong enough to put Georgia on the College Football Playoff map. The ground game has been very good, led by sophomore runningback Zamir White who leads the team with 740 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The passing game was lacking through most of the year. Former walk-on Stetson Bennett was able to keep the wheels rolling until it came to playing stiffer competition. The struggles eventually led to a switch in quarterback to JT Daniels who has helped the passing game explode. In just three games he already has 839 yards and nine touchdowns to go with a nice 66.7% completion percentage.
The Georgia defense has been one of the best in the country. They’re second in the SEC in points allowed per game behind only Alabama. The run defense is their strength where they lead the SEC in a staggering 69.3 yards per game. Some injuries during the season caused the defense to falter at times. But the Bulldogs will be getting key players back for the bowl game including NFL prospects Richard LeCounte and Jordan Davis.
No.8 Cincinnati Bearcats (9-0)
The Bearcats are in search of their first perfect season in program history. They’ve looked dominant all season with just two games decided by less than two possessions. Luke Fickell is hoping to bring Cincinnati it’s third consecutive season of double-digit wins, something only former coach Brian Kelly was able to do.
The Bearcats are very good on both sides of the ball. They rank second in the AAC with 39.3 points per game in large part to their rushing attack. They average 225 yards on the ground per game, best in the AAC and 14th in the country. Quarterback Desmond Ridder is the workhorse offensively, who’s a threat in the passing game and very good with his legs.
Similar to Georgia, the defense is where Cincinnati thrives. The Bearcats held teams to just 16 points per game and only 314.4 total yards per game, both the best in the AAC. Myjai Sanders leads the push up front with seven sacks this year. So far nobody has opted out on the Cincinnati side of the ball as they eagerly prepare for the bowl game.
This game will come down to defensive stops and although Cincinnati’s defense is very good, Georgia’s offense is much stronger behind JT Daniels. Throw in some big name playmakers returning to the Georgia defense and it’s hard to see Cincinnati pulling off the win.
Georgia: 38, Cincinnati:24
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