Georgia vs. Michigan: Position-by-position comparison

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The Georgia Bulldogs will play the Michigan Wolverines on December 31 at 7:30 p.m. from the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

The winner of the game will advance to the national championship where it will play the winner of Alabama vs. Cincinnati.

Georgia and Michigan have only played twice in the two programs’ history (1957, 1965), so these are not two schools that are familiar with each other.

UGA fans may not have had many opportunities to watch the Wolverines play this season, which is why provide a breakdown of how the two teams compare from a position-by-position standpoint.

Quarterback

Dec 4, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second half during the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Players:

Georgia: Stetson Bennett

Michigan: Cade McNamara

Analysis: This is actually a pretty even matchup at quarterback. McNamara has played a couple more games than Bennett has this year, but both have similar numbers. Both quarterbacks are completing 64 percent of their passes, both have thrown for roughly the same amount of yardage (2,470 for McNamara, 2,325 for Bennett) and both have that similar ‘game-manager’ feel. Bennett has thrown 24 touchdowns to McNamara’s 15. But Bennett has also thrown 7 interceptions to McNamara’s 4.

Winner: Michigan

Both have cool stories, but I give the very, very slight edge to McNamara. His confidence level is sky-high after guiding Michigan to the College Football Playoff whereas Bennett is under a lot of pressure from Georgia fans after a bad game against Alabama.

Running backs

Michigan running back Hassan Haskins runs against Iowa during the second half of the 42-3 win over Iowa in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Indianapolis. Syndication: Detroit Free Press

Players:

Georgia: Zamir White/James Cook/Kenny McIntosh

Michigan: Hassan Haskins/Blake Corum

Analysis: Georgia is deeper at the position, but Michigan has more star-power. Wolverines running back Hassan Haskins has 1,288 rushing yards and Blake Corum is 61 yards away from reaching the 1,000 yard marker.

Zamir White (718 yards) and James Cook (619 yards) have played well, but there seems to be something missing from an explosiveness standpoint in this Georgia rushing attack.

Michigan’s rushing attack ranks No. 9 in America with 223.8 yards per game on the ground. Georgia’s ranks No. 28 at 195 yards per game.

Winner: Michigan

Michigan is very close to having two 1,000 yard rushers. You have to give it the edge.

Receivers

Dec 4, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers (19) runs the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first half during the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Players:

Georgia: Brock Bowers/Ladd McConkey/George Pickens/Kearis Jackson/Jermaine Burton/AD Mitchell/Darnell Washington

Michigan: Cornelius Johnson/Roman Wilson/Erick All/Mike Sainristil/Daylen Baldwin/Andrel Anthony

Analysis: Georgia has the best receivers out of the bunch in tight end Brock Bowers and wide receiver George Pickens (if healthy enough). And after that, there’s Ladd McConkey who has been stellar this season with 430 receiving yards, right in front of Jermaine Burton who has 412.

Michigan has its share of wideouts, led by Cornelius Johnson. But they don’t have a Bowers or Pickens.

Winner: Georgia

Offense line

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – SEPTEMBER 04: Jamaree Salyer #69 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after their win against the Clemson Tigers in the Duke’s Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium on September 04, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Analysis: Neither teams allow many sacks. Michigan has allowed 10, Georgia has allowed 11. Both of those put each school inside the top-five. So this is a tough one – we have no choice but to look at the average yards per carry.

Michigan: 5.31 YPC

Georgia: 5.28 YPC

Well, that was not very helpful.

Winner: Push

Defensive line

Oct 30, 2021; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) battles against Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle AJ Arcuri (76) during the fourth quarter at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Players:

Georgia: Travon Walker/Jordan Davis/Jalen Carter/Devonte Wyatt

Michigan: Aidan Hutchinson/Christopher Hinton/Mazi Smith/Taylor Upshaw

Analysis: Michigan might have the best overall player in Aidan Hutchinson, who is second in the nation with 14 sacks. Georgia has Jordan Davis, though, who is about as good as it gets on the defensive line. Behind Davis is sophomore Jalen Carter, who might grow into an even better player than Davis. But there’s also Devonte Wyatt and Travon Walker on UGA’s defensive line. Georgia just has too much depth and too many playmakers.

Let’s not let one bad game against Alabama’s offense dismiss everything this defense has done this year. Georgia has the nation’s No. 3 ranked rushing defense compared to Michigan’s No. 21.

Winner: Georgia

Hutchinson is the best player, but Georgia’s depth is too much.

Linebackers

ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 02: Nakobe Dean #17 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts in the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Sanford Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Players:

Georgia: Channing Tindall/Nakobe Dean/Quay Walker/Nolan Smith

Michigan: David Ojabo/Josh Ross/Junior Colson/Nikhai Hill-Green

Analysis: Playmakers everywhere when you look at these two linebacker units. Let’s start with Georgia, which has the Butkus Award winner Nakobe Dean leading the group at inside linebacker. It’s pure speed for the Dawgs.

Michigan, though, has plenty of guys who can make plays as well. Look at Ojabo – the dude has 11 sacks this year. And then there’s Josh Ross who has 95 tackles on the season. These guys are physical and hit hard.

Winner: Georgia

Georgia wins because there’s elite talent at every position, including the backups. And remember that whole “best defense in college football history” thing? It may not feel real after that Alabama game, but let’s not make too many overreactions here.

Defensive backs

Nov 6, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Lewis Cine (16) tries to intercept a deflected pass in front of Missouri Tigers tight end Niko Hea (48) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Players:

Georgia: Kelee Ringo/Derion Kendrick/Lewis Cine/Chris Smith/Latavious Brini/Dan Jackson/Ameer Speed

Michigan: Brad Hawkins/Dax Hill/Vincent Gray/Gemon Green/DJ Turner/RJ Moten

Analysis: Well if we just look at the numbers, it’s Georgia that has the better defensive backs. Georgia ranks No. 3 in pass defense compared to Michigan which ranks No. 22.

But if there was one area where an overreaction is allowed after that Alabama game, it’s the defensive backs for Georgia. The Dawgs were exposed all day on Saturday. It’s an area that’s been a slight concern this season for Georgia, but the defensive front seven has been so dominant that they were never really able to be exposed like they were against Bama.

Winner: Michigan

I give Michigan the slight edge here. Dax Hill ranks as Mel Kiper’s No. 2 safety in the 2022 NFL draft. This is mainly due to how poor Georgia played on Saturday.

Kicking and punting

Nov 23, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs punter Jake Camarda (90) follows through on a punt against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Players:

Georgia: Jack Podlesny (K)/Jake Camarda (P)

Michigan: Jake Moody (K)/Brad Robbins (P)

Analysis: Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny has been pretty solid this season (18/22) despite missing a few earlier in the year. Punter Jake Camarda continues to impress with an average of 47.1 yards per punt. As for Michigan, Moody has been automatic this year, kicking at 91.7 percent while Robbins is averaging 46.4 yards per punt.

Winner: Michigan

Michigan wins because of how reliable kicker Jake Moody has been.

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