Two Heavyweights Collide
Saturday is one of the most exciting days of the year in college football. It starts with an appetizer of Iowa and Kentucky in the Music City Bowl. At the same time, Alabama meets Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl. After that comes the main course, the College Football Playoff. Michigan plays TCU followed by one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Let’s look at Georgia and Ohio State, and give you some of the key players and a prediction with our 2022 Peach Bowl Preview.
Looking To Go Wire To Wire
Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs come into Saturday night with a 13-0 record and the number one seed. They beat LSU in the SEC title game 50-30. Overall they’ve won 15 straight and 27 of the last 28. The only blemish came to Alabama in the 2021 SEC title game.
They are led by Stetson Bennett, who threw for 3,425 yards and 20 touchdowns. As a result of his strong season, he finished fourth in the Heisman balloting. He’s coming off four touchdowns, 274 yard game against LSU. Bennett may not wow you with stats but he’s a proven winner.
For anyone who’s watched the Bulldogs this year you know they like running the ball. In fact, they have three players with over 500 yards. Kenny McIntosh leads the way with 709 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s also the third-leading receiver with 37 catches. Right behind him is Daijun Edwards with 683 yards and Kendall Milton with 531.
All-American tight end Brock Bowers leads the receivers with 52 catches for 726 yards and six touchdowns. Right behind him is Ladd McConkey, who has 51 receptions for 675 yards and five scores. He’s been dealing with a knee injury and is questionable for Saturday.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs rank fourth in the nation giving up 292 yards a game. Furthermore, their 77 yards rushing allowed top college football. Jamon Dumas-Johnson leads the squad with 64 tackles and three sacks. Smael Mondon Jr. also has 64 tackles with an interception. Of course, you can’t forget about defensive lineman Jalen Carter, who’s been nearly unstoppable since coming back from an injury.
As we continue with our 2022 Peach Bowl Preview let’s look at four seeds from Columbus.
Scouting The Buckeyes
Under coach Ryan Day Ohio State comes into Atlanta sporting an 11-1 record. They spent most of the season ranked second behind the Bulldogs. However, a 45-23 loss to Michigan knocked them out of the playoff. When USC lost the Pac-12 title game to Utah it put the Buckeyes back in.
Ohio State has a Heisman finalist of their own in C.J. Stroud, who finished third in the voting. In 2022 he threw for 3,340 yards and 37 touchdowns with only six interceptions. He leads an offense that ranks second in the nation averaging 44.5 points a game and seventh in total yards with 493.
Behind Stroud, the top running back is Miyan Williams, who ran for 815 yards and 13 touchdowns. TreVeyon Henderson and Dallan Hayden both ran for over 500 yards gaining 571 and 510 respectively. Unfortunately, Henderson is out due to foot surgery.
Marvin Harrison Jr. leads the receivers with 72 receptions for 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns. Right behind him is Emeka Egbuka with 66 catches for 1,039 yards and nine scores.
Over on the defense linebacker, Tommy Eichenberg leads the way with 112 tackles. That placed him third in the Big 10. Steele Chambers is second on the squad with 69 stops and an interception.
Now that we’ve introduced you to the major players as we continue our 2022 Peach Bowl Preview let’s look at the school’s history.
Bowl And Series History
Saturday marks Georgia’s 60th bowl game in history. That puts them second all-time behind Alabama. Overall the Bulldogs have a 35-21-3 record. They’ve won four straight and nine of their last 12. This is the seventh time they’ve played in the Peach Bowl. That ties them with LSU and North Carolina State and trailing only Clemson’s eight. In addition, this is Georgia’s third appearance in the College Football Playoff. They lost to Alabama in the 2017 title game and of course, won it all last year.
Ohio State is competing in its 55th bowl game. They are 27-27 all-time and have won four of their last six. This is their first time playing in the Peach Bowl. Ohio State’s making its fifth appearance in the CFP. They won it all in 2014, lost in the semi-finals in 2016 and 2019 then lost to Alabama in 2020.
Remarkably with two traditionally great programs they’ve only met once in history. You have to go back all the way to January 1st, 1993, and the Citrus Bowl. On that day the Bulldogs won 21-14. Georgia was led by Garrison Hearst who ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns winning game MVP. Another running back Robert Smith led Ohio State with 113 yards and a touchdown.
We’ve told you what players to watch and given you some history of both schools. As we continue the 2022 Peach Bowl Preview it’s time for a prediction.
Who Wins On Saturday?
After winning their first national championship since 1980 the Bulldogs are looking for a repeat. If they pull it off they’ll be the first team since the playoff started to do it. Even though it’s a “neutral site” it’s the third time in 2022 that Georgia’s made the 73-mile drive from Athens to Atlanta. They blew out Oregon 49-3 in the season opener and beat LSU in the SEC Championship. Obviously, they’ll have the home-field advantage.
Ohio State’s looking for some redemption following the blowout loss to Michigan. They come into Saturday as the underdog for the first time all year. Playing in front of what should be a hostile crowd they should be loose. Behind Stroud, they have an offense that can beat anyone. However when OSU loses, and it doesn’t happen often, there is an underlying theme. Oregon used physical play to pressure him. Michigan did the same thing in their two victories.
Led by Carter there aren’t many defensive units better than Georgia in the country. Look for them to pressure Stroud at every chance to knock him off his game. This year’s Bulldog squad may not be as good as last year’s team. However, they are number one for a reason and they move one step closer to a repeat.
Thanks for checking out our 2022 Peach Bowl Preview here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back after the game with a complete recap.