Michigan 11 Georgia 34 – Orange Bowl (CFP SF) Game 14 Recap

GAME 14 PROJECTION vs. RESULTS

Final Score: 34-11, Georgia by 23 over Michigan
SP+ Projection: Georgia by 5.8 (-17.2)
CD Projection: Michigan by 1 (-24)

FIVE FACTORS

GAME 14 RECAP vs. Georgia – Orange Bowl

This turned into the nightmare scenario for how Michigan was approaching the game. The Wolverines won the toss and deferred. Georgia marched 80 yards in 7 plays for an opening touchdown on a well-scouted and perfectly scripted drive. When Michigan turned the ball over on downs at the Georgia 41 on their first possession, it was clear the Wolverines were going to play from behind. That is not where you want to be against a historically good defense.

Offensively, Michigan had their identity snuffed out. The Bulldogs dominated Michigan’s hard-nosed, smash-mouth running attack. With garbage time removed, the Wolverines managed just a 23% Success Rate on called run plays. When the offensive line did create creases for Haskins, Corum, and Edwards the Georgia linebackers were tremendous tacklers and gave up next to nothing after contact.

The Bulldogs also generated more pressure on Cade McNamara than previously seen this season. McNamara was sacked 4 times, and never settled into a rhythm throwing the ball. He also threw 2 interceptions. This was the antithesis of how Michigan’s offense had functioned in 2021. At the end, Jim Harbaugh inserted freshman QB JJ McCarthy because his scrambling ability was a necessity just to survive down-to-down versus Georgia’s front.

On the defensive side, the Bulldogs also ran circles around Michigan. The first 4 Georgia drives were all scoring opportunities, resulting in 2 touchdowns and 2 field goals, yielding 5.0 points per scoring opportunity. On the fifth drive, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett found Jermaine Burton for a 57-yard touchdown strike that felt like the exclamation point.

To Michigan’s credit, they kept battling despite the lopsided score. Josh Ross again led the team with 11 tackles, and sophomore DL added 7 tackles. Dax Hill returned from an unknown injury or illness and threatened a handful of passes on the edge.

But, in the end this was Georgia’s day. Michigan needed to play another near-perfect game to push this game to the brink. The Bulldogs avalanched the Wolverines early, and gave very little chance for Michigan to claw back.

Instead, most fans turned to a New Year’s Eve mentality for most of the evening. We spent a lot of time reflecting and appreciating the great year that was 2021 for Michigan Football. Then, Michigan started making resolutions to build a better 2022.

About Clint Derringer

@clint_derringer on Twitter U-M B.A. Sport Management & Communications ‘05 U-M M.S. Program & Project Management ‘18