Key matchups for Michigan vs. Georgia football

Here’s what to watch for in CFP semifinal

FILE - Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates with the team after the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Indianapolis. Michigan won 42-3. Harbaugh is The Associated Press college football coach of the year after leading the Wolverines to their first Big Ten title in 17 years and a berth in the College Football Playoff. (AP Photo/AJ Mast, File) (AJ Mast, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

On New Year’s Eve, the Michigan Wolverines and the Georgia Bulldogs will square off against one another in a knockdown, drag-out fight inside Hard Rock Stadium at the Capital One Orange Bowl College Football Playoffs (CFP) semifinals.

The winner will advance to the National Championship game where they will face either Alabama or Cincinnati in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 10. 2022.

Rushing offense vs. run defense

The key matchup that has caught everyone’s attention is the Wolverines rushing offense and the Bulldogs rushing defense. On the season, Michigan averaged 223.8 rushing yards per game on 5.3 yards per rush for 39 touchdowns on the ground.

Although in a shared backfield, the leader of the run game for the men in maize is senior Hassan Haskins. Haskins has carried the ball 261 times for 1,288 yards during his 2021 campaign. He has an average of 4.9 yards per carry and a school record for most rushing touchdowns in a single season with 20.

Five of the 20 came in dominating fashion against the hated rival Ohio State Buckeyes as he carried the Wolverines to a 42-27 upset victory.

The Bulldogs are well aware of the Wolverines offensive line and backfield, and their coaching staff is putting together a game plan to stop the run, which the Buckeyes didn’t do. They probably won’t adopt Ohio State’s game plan, but they did adopt the ex-ing out of the letter M throughout the schools’ campus. But hey, like the old saying goes, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

The Bulldogs front seven might have something to say about stopping Michigan’s rushing attack as they’ve been superb up front this season. Georgia is allowing 81.7 rushing yards per game on 2.6 yards per rush while giving up an astonishing three rushing touchdowns the whole season.

Bulldogs O-line vs. Wolverines D-line

On the other side of the ball is where things get more interesting as the Bulldogs offensive line has allowed 11 sacks to their quarterback while also averaging a whopping 5.3 yards per carry to their backfield.

The Wolverines defensive line has recorded 34 sacks this season, thanks to Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, who combined for 25. Hutchinson’s stellar season gave him the title as the first defensive player to be named MVP in the Big Ten Championship game.

QB battle

The real battle will fall on the arms of Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett and “The Marvelous Mr. Maize and Blue QB” Cade McNamara.

Bennett and McNamara are considered by most as “Game Managers.” Often, fans have been calling for their backups to take the reins throughout the season.

The Wolverines Broyles Award-winning Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis has been implementing his two-quarterback scheme with the change of pace freshman J.J. McCarthy.

Bennett has been on a short leash all season as the Bulldogs fanbase has been calling for junior J.T. Daniels to regain his starting role. But according to reports, as of Wednesday, Dec. 22, Daniels has tested positive for COVID.

Meanwhile, with the new CFP policy surrounding the spread of the omicron variant, a team may advance to the National Championship and eventually win it by forfeit.

Read more: No makeups for College Football Playoff semis if team can’t play due to virus

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.