Coming off a largely successful campaign, the Georgia Bulldogs kick off the 2018 season between the hedges on September 1 at 3:30. The Dawgs will be facing the Austin Peay Governors who went 8-4 in the FCS Ohio Valley conference. The Bulldogs are favored by 43 points with the over/under set at 56.5.
Keys to the Game:
Establishing the run game
Although Georgia loses perhaps the best running back duo ever in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, breakout star D’andre Swift returns for his sophomore year. Along with Elijah Holyfield, Brian Herrien, and newcomer James Cook, the Dawgs possess one of the best, though inexperienced running back corps in the nation. It is vitally important for the Bulldogs to get all these guys reps, not just to secure the win this week, but also for the young backs to gain confidence. The talented Georgia offensive line should have no problem opening up running lanes against the inferior Governors. Expect huge gains all afternoon on the ground, and for the running game to carry the Dawgs to an easy win.
Let Fromm play his game
With the arrival of five star quarterback Justin Fields, a lot of pressure will be placed on Jake Fromm. However, he should have nothing to worry about if he just sticks to his strengths. Fromm posted one of the most efficient seasons by a passer last season, with a 62.2 completion percentage, a 160.1 passer rating and averaging 9.0 yards per completion. What makes Fromm a great quarterback is not his raw arm strength, but his ability to make the correct decision. He should be able to shred Austin Peay’s secondary, but do not expect too many passes, as the Dawgs should be able to get whatever they want on the ground. 10-15 throws should be the target range for the signal caller. Fields potentially could get fourth quarter reps, especially in a blowout.
Allow the defense to settle in
The Dawg’s defense is in a similar situation to the running backs, overflowing with talent, but a bit lacking on experience. They may give up some points early in the game, but that should not discourage. The offense should be more than capable enough to take over this game by themselves, and the defense will be able to focus on figuring out their game. Even if the defense does start out a little slow, Dawgs fans have no reason to worry with defensive masterminds Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker at the helm. The goal for week one should be to find the right guys to play and get them some game time.
This game should not be remotely close, and it is hard to imagine a scenario where the Dawgs do not emerge victorious. Georgia will coast to an easy win to open the 2018 season.
Prediction: 45-10 Georgia
Harry Hughen | @Doublehh3rd