UGA’s Defense will stop Oklahoma State

As concerned as some Dawg fans may be over Oklahoma State’s “high powered offense”, I believe that our defense will not only play well but also dominate them. Most people will say “Georgia couldn’t even stop Kentucky last year!  Willie Martinez is inept!  OSU will hang half a hundred on the Dogs!”

Most football followers will agree that the keys to a successful defense are stopping the run, putting your opponent in several third and long situations and making them pass when they have to.  The first six games, plus the bowl, Georgia did that last season.  The second six, not so much.

Now, upon first look you could say “Well they played inferior teams the first half and it is skewed.”  But the Dawgs’ defense not only stopped teams’ rushing attacks, it completely shut them down the first six games.  Even the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide only managed 2.9 YPC.  Any Division 1-A/FBS school should manage more than 18, 4 and 1 yard(s)* in sixty minutes of scrimmage.  As the season wore on, injuries and  the lack of depth and experience on the defensive line caused our run defense to be porous.  In the bowl game, albeit against an inferior Big 10 team, UGA not only stopped but completely shut down the run after over a month of rest.

If we were playing the Cowboys in November, it may be a different story.  But it is opening week, and we have a fully healthy and focused defense that is full of fast, strong, angry athletes who have heard all summer how bad they are.  Having Jeff Owens doesn’t hurt either.

2008 Per game rushing stats (p. 35 Phil Steele preview):

Opponent, Total Rush Yards, YPC
Georgia Southern, 102, 2.9
Central Michigan, 59, 2.7
South Carolina*,18, 1.1
Arizona State*, 4, 0.2
Alabama, 129, 2.9
Tennessee* ,1, 0 .1

Gets dicey:

Vanderbilt,144, 4.4
LSU, 188, 4.6
Florida, 185,  4.9
Kentucky, 226, 4.0
Auburn, 124, 3.4
Georgia Tech, 409, 7.3

And it gets back to normal:

Michigan State, 31, 0.9

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