Five reasons Ohio State can beat Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

The Ohio State football team is putting together the final touches of its preparations for the massive clash in Atlanta. The Buckeyes will take on the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and the winner will get a chance to play for all of the confetti and trophies in the College Football Playoff national championship game a week later in SoCal.

After the second-half meltdown against Michigan on Thanksgiving weekend, few are giving Ohio State much of a chance of knocking off the defending national champions, but we’ve seen this before (Alabama in 2014, Clemson in 2020 and Miami in 2002).

Can the Buckeyes shock the world and pull off the upset in Mercedez-Benz Stadium, or will it be another disappointment to bookend the lackluster effort against Michigan?

Here at Buckeyes Wire, we believe this should be one whale of a game, and give you five reasons Ohio State can take care of business and take home the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl trophy on New Year’s Eve.

So, let’s get to it …

Talent Equality


Big Ten football and big game expert predictions and picks for Week 12
Big Ten football and big game expert predictions and picks for Week 12

Nov. 12, 2022; Columbus; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Kamryn Babb (0) celebrates scoring a touchdown with quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) during the second half of the NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Why It Matters

There are three teams many consider as having the most talent in college football this season. There’s Alabama, which didn’t quite put things together this season, defending champion Georgia and Ohio State. We used to be able to put Clemson in that category, but we’ve seen a bit of a decline in personnel the last couple of years.

Those three teams have recruited among the top more consistently than other programs, and it means they have stockpiled talent to continue to play at a high level and be in the conversation for the College Football Playoff.

That means OSU can go toe-to-toe talent-wise with Georgia, just as it can with anyone else. These two teams have been vying for the same players coming out of high school and bump into each other often in recruiting circles, and now it’ll happen on the field Saturday night.

The talent is there to spring the upset, we’ll just have to see if the execution, motivation and game plan match.

Ohio State's Passing Attack

Nov. 26, 2022; Columbus; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) celebrates a first down in front of Michigan Wolverines defensive back DJ Turner (5) during the first half of the NCAA football game at Ohio Stadium. Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Why It Matters

The last time we saw Georgia play, it was giving up more than 500 passing yards to an LSU team that ranked 37th at slinging it around this year.

Georgia has a very, very good defense — some would say the best in the country — but there are some opportunities throwing the ball and that’s where Ohio State’s bread has been buttered in 2022.

OSU’s offense has sputtered a little down the stretch at times through the air, but anytime you have C.J. Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr., and the rest of the receiving corps (not to mention Cade Stover at tight end), there’s going to be an ability to move the ball and score points.

Ryan Day and staff can’t abandon the run, but you can bet the game plan will center around moving the ball down the field by cashing in air miles on Saturday night. There should be plenty of success in doing so.

Second Life

Relax Ohio State fans, the program is in good hands with Ryan Day
Relax Ohio State fans, the program is in good hands with Ryan Day

Nov. 26, 2022; Columbus; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day waits for the playing of Carmen Ohio after losing 45-23 to Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. USA TODAY Sports

Why It Matters

We’ve seen it before. Just when Ohio State thought its season was dead after losing to Michigan on Nov. 26, it was given life with USC’s loss to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game and the opinion of the College Football Playoff committee.

There’s something about getting a second life after thinking all goals were off the table. We saw the same thing from Georgia last year, and, in some ways, got to see Ohio State do similar things in 2014 when it squeaked into the first college football playoff. The type of scenario we’re looking at for Ohio State can often result in renewed focus, great preparation and an attitude of “us against the world.”

I’ll be really surprised if Ohio State doesn’t show up in this one and produce an entertaining and interesting game with renewed life.

Lessons Learned from the Michigan Game

Odds for Ohio State and Michigan meeting in CFP national championship
Odds for Ohio State and Michigan meeting in CFP national championship

Michigan wide receiver Cornelius Johnson (6) tries to make a catch against Ohio State cornerback JK Johnson and safety Lathan Ransom (12) during the second half Nov. 26, 2022, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus. USA TODAY Sports

Why It Matters

Georgia has a similar makeup as Michigan, just with better talent. The Bulldogs like to lean on the running game and then pick spots through the air. It’s all centered around stout defensive play.

Ohio State spent almost all of its game planning, scheming and efforts toward stopping the run against the Wolverines. The result: Michigan used big plays through the air to put OSU in comeback mode. It all felt like going too far against a team’s strength in return for giving up too much on the back end.

I don’t think you’ll see the same type of deal against Georgia. The scheming and play-calling will be a little more balanced on defense, and there won’t be so many big plays. In some ways, the contest against Michigan was a good primer for this game, and while Ohio State failed that test miserably in the second half, it will have learned from it and made adjustments.

Remember, OSU outplayed Michigan in the first half and just didn’t cash in on opportunities that could have made the flow of the game very, very different.

A Healthier Ohio State

Nov. 12, 2022; Columbus; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Miyan Williams (3) breaks away for a long touchdown run during the second quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Why It Matters

We know Ohio State will be without TreVeyon Henderson because of a season-ending surgery, but Miyan Williams will be back and healthy, despite dealing with a stomach bug. Tackle Matthew Jones has also been practicing and will be close to — if not — 100%. Apparently, tight end Cade Stover was also playing hurt, so he’ll be an important weapon that’s more effective against an aggressive Georgia front.

OSU also had a banged-up secondary throughout the season, and having a healthy Cam Brown, Jordan Hancock, Denzel Burke, etc. can only help put a lid on the passing game that was torched by the colors of maize and blue.

Ohio State is still going to be without Henderson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but it’ll look more like midseason OSU than the M.A.S.H. unit we saw down the stretch.

Time to Prepare

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day reacts to the early signing day
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day reacts to the early signing day

Nov. 19, 2022; College Park, Maryland; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day takes the field before the game against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Why It Matters

Lost in all the disappointment of this year and the two straight losses to Michigan is the fact Ryan Day and his staff have been very, very good when given extra time to prepare for an opponent. Since taking the whistle from Urban Meyer, Day has a 5-1 record when given more than one game week to prepare.

The lone loss was to Clemson in 2019, but you could easily make the case Ohio State was on the raw end of some breaks in that one and outplayed the Tigers with a very good game plan.

So, what are the scores and who did Day and OSU beat during that run? It’s pretty impressive actually:





at Northwestern

Win, 52-3


Clemson (CFP Fiesta Bowl)

Loss, 23-29


Clemson (CFP Sugar Bowl)

Win, 49-28


at Indiana

Win, 54-7


vs. Utah (Rose Bowl)

Win, 48-45


vs. Iowa

Win, 54-10


vs. Georgia (CFP Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl)


Now, that’s enough to be a trend, so you have to like the ability of the OSU staff to put together a plan to be successful and productive. We’ll see how it all plays out on New Year’s Eve.

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