2021 Orange Bowl Preview: Final Predictions

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30Dec 2021
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2021 Orange Bowl Preview: Final Predictions

Jordan Davis (#99, image via AJC)

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In case you missed it, I have broken the preview down into several parts this week. Feel free to check them out if you want:

  • Roster Notes (LINK)
  • Last Time They Played (LINK)
  • Run O vs. Georgia Run D (LINK)
  • Pass O vs. Georgia Pass D (LINK)
  • Run D vs. Georgia Run O (LINK)
  • Pass D vs. Georgia Pass O (LINK)

The game airs at 7:30 p.m. EST on December 31, 2021. You can watch it on ESPN, listen to it on one of those old radio thingies, or go see the game in Coral Gables, FL.

Hit the jump for the predictions.

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28Dec 2021
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2021 Orange Bowl Preview: Pass Defense vs. Georgia Pass Offense

Stetson Bennett (image via AJC)

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MICHIGAN
Michigan is #22 in pass defense (194.7 yards allowed/game) and #11 in passer rating defense. They have allowed just 6.0 yards per attempt, which ties them for #6 nationally. Only four teams have topped even 200 yards passing against them.

The primary reason for Michigan’s good pass defense is the edge rushers. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson set a school record with 14 sacks, and outside linebacker David Ojabo wasn’t far behind with 11. They often line up wide and come tearing off the edge with reckless abandon, but they’re athletic and disruptive enough to make quarterbacks do things they don’t want to do, such as step up in the pocket and make quick decisions.

On the back end, cornerback Vincent Gray has had a bounce-back season after an abysmal 2020, and counterpart Christian Turner has turned into Michigan’s best cover guy with 2 interceptions and 7 pass breakups. Safety/nickel corner Daxton Hill (2 INT, 8 PBUs) has been taken advantage of by some slot fades against quick slot guys, but overall, he has also been very good.

Hit the jump for more.

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25Dec 2021
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2021 Orange Bowl Preview: Pass Offense vs. Georgia Pass Defense

Kelee Ringo (image via SI)

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MICHIGAN
The Wolverines are smack dab in the middle of the pack at #67 in passing offense (226 yards/game) and they’re #40 in passing efficiency. Meanwhile, they’re #86 in passing attempts with just 359 on the season. Starting quarterback Cade McNamara has completed 199/308 (64.6%) of his throws for 2,470 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. McNamara does not have a particularly strong arm, but he has done a good job of deciphering defenses and keeping the ball out of harm’s way.

The offensive line has allowed just 0.77 sacks per game. Just like in the run game, they don’t have a ton of great players up front, but they play well together. Some stunts and games inside confused the group early in the year, but they seem to have righted the ship as the season went along.

On the receiving end, ten different players have caught touchdowns . . . and no one has caught more than 3. It’s hard to predict from week to week who might step up and make a big play, but the two primary targets have been wide receiver Cornelius Johnson (37 catches, 620 yards, 3 TD) and tight end Erick All (34 catches, 374 yards, 2 TD). However, the two biggest yardage games have come from true freshman running back Donovan Edwards (10 catches, 170 yards, 1 TD vs. Maryland) and freshman wide receiver Andrel Anthony (3 catches, 155 yards, 2 TD vs. Michigan State).

Hit the jump for more.

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23Dec 2021
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2021 Orange Bowl Preview: Rush Offense vs. Georgia Rush Defense

Nakobe Dean (image via UGA Wire)

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MICHIGAN
Michigan has been one of the top rushing teams in the country for the entire season. They currently rank #9 (223.9 yards/game) and are tied for 11th in yards per carry (5.31). They’re also #3 in rushing touchdowns with 39 total, topped only by Army, who have 210 more attempts, and Air Force, who have 233 more. Michigan has also allowed the fewest tackles for loss in the country with 2.08 per game; the two closest teams are Air Force and Wisconsin, who are allowed 3.42 per game. It has truly been a remarkable season for the rushing attack.

Redshirt junior running back Hassan Haskins is #7 in the country in rushing attempts (261), #13 with 1,288 rushing yards, and tied for #3 in rushing touchdowns (20). At 6’1″ and 225 lbs. with the ability to twist, contort, get skinny, and hurdle defensive backs, he’s difficult for one man to bring down. Sophomore Blake Corum is second on the team and still an impressive #54 in rushing yards this season with 939 and tied for #45 in rushing touchdowns with 11. His 6.66 yards per carry are #22 in the country. It’s also important to note backup quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who has 23 carries for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns this year. He has factored more and more into the running game as the season has gone along; over the last three games, he has 8 carries for 54 yards and 1 touchdown. While he won’t put up gaudy numbers, he’s a nice changeup for starting quarterback Cade McNamara, who’s not much of a run threat.

Michigan’s offensive line won the Joe Moore Award after being voted the top offensive line in the country. There are no real individual standouts, but they play very well as a unit. Andrew Stueber has been the top player on the line at right tackle, and center Andrew Vastardis has done a very good job this year as a sixth year walk-on.

Hit the jump for more.

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21Dec 2021
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2021 Michigan vs. Georgia Preview: Roster Notes

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (image via UGA Wire)

As two nationally prominent schools, Michigan and Georgia unsurprisingly have quite a few battles on the recruiting front. Perhaps there aren’t many true head-to-head battles, but plenty of players get offered by both schools. Michigan tries to dip into Georgia way more than Georgia tries to dip into the state of Michigan, so Michigan loses plenty of those battles, too.

Here is a list of Georgia players that Michigan pursued out of high school:

  • OLB Robert Beal, Jr.
  • WR Dominick Blaylock
  • TE Brock Bowers
  • RB Lovasea Carroll
  • S Lewis Cine
  • QB J.T. Daniels
  • DT Jordan Davis
  • TE Arik Gilbert
  • TE Ryland Goede
  • DT Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins
  • WR Kearis Jackson
  • WR Jaylen Johnson
  • CB Kamari Lassiter
  • OL Warren McClendon
  • RB Kenny McIntosh
  • RB Kendall Milton
  • OL Micah Morris
  • WR George Pickens
  • CB William Poole
  • OL Tate Ratledge
  • CB Kelee Ringo
  • WR Justin Robinson
  • WR Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint
  • OL Jamaree Salyer
  • OL Justin Shaffer
  • CB Christopher Smith
  • LB Nolan Smith
  • S Ameer Speed
  • OL Xavier Truss
  • QB Brock Vandagriff
  • LB Quay Walker
  • TE Darnell Washington

The Bulldogs have zero players on their roster from the state of Michigan, but freshman safety Matthew Helow is the younger brother of Michigan linebackers coach George Helow.

On the flip side, Michigan has several players from the state of Georgia, including . . .

  • Michael Barrett – LB – Valdosta (GA) Lowndes
  • Chris Hinton, Jr. – DT – Johns Creek (GA) Greater Atlanta Christian
  • Trente Jones – OT – Loganville (GA) Grayson
  • Alexander Lidback – LB – Alpharetta (GA) Alpharetta
  • Jalen Perry – CB – Dacula (GA) Dacula
  • D.J. Turner II – CB – Suwanee (GA) and transferred to IMG Academy
  • William Wagner – LS – Alpharetta (GA) Alpharetta