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Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs. Georgia Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Baylor

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Sugar Bowl match up in our Baylor vs. Georgia preview and prediction.

Game Info

January 1st, 2020, 7:45 CST, New Orleans, LA, Mercedes Benz Superdome

TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe)

Radio: Baylor Sports Network/ESPN Central Texas (John Morris, J.J. Joe); Georgia Bulldog Sports Network (Scott Howard, Eric Zeier); ESPN Radio (Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones); Sirius/XM 84

Fun Fact: The 2020 Sugar Bowl is the fifth all-time meeting between Georgia and Baylor. The Bulldogs have won all four meetings by an average of just 6.8 points and all four were played in Athens.

 

Key Players

Georgia Bulldogs

RB D’Andre Swift

Swift is just the latest in a long line of stud running backs in Athens. He was a first-team All-SEC selection after going over 1,000 yards for the season for a second straight year. He is the fifth Bulldog in history to have a pair of 1,000-yard seasons and the first since Nick Chubb did it three times. He’s seventh in Bulldogs history with 2,870 career rushing yards.

DL Tyler Clark

Clark is a veteran three-year starter for the Bulldogs who is also a second-team All-SEC pick. Clark leads the unit with 24 stops, including a team-leading 8.0 tackles for loss. A veteran defensive line led by Clark could cause a lot of issues for the Baylor offense (more on that below).

Baylor Bears

QB Charlie Brewer

While this is the biggest game of Brewer’s life (although some may argue the Big 12 Championship Game was bigger, which is fair), he’s plenty familiar with the big moments. In his time as Baylor’s starting quarterback, Brewer has led the Bears on five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter, including this season’s victories over Iowa State and Oklahoma State, and he led drives to tie games in the fourth quarter that led to overtime wins against Texas Tech and TCU. This season he’s completing 65.2% of his passes for 2,950 passing yards with 20 touchdowns to six interceptions, while also rushing for over 300 yards.

DL James Lynch

Lynch was voted a unanimous All-American, the 10th in BU history and the first since 2015, but now he’s going up against one of the best offensive lines in the SEC. He set the Baylor single-season sack record with 12.5 and is the career leader with 21.0 sacks. Lynch is a big reason that Baylor leads the nation with 23.0 sacks when only rushing three players.

 

Key Storylines

Georgia

Can the Bulldogs get to Charlie Brewer? That’s been the biggest weakness of the Bears this season, as they allowed a Big 12-worst 35 sacks in 13 games. However as good as Georgia was on defense this season, it was not carried by a great pass rush, as the Bulldogs ranked 9th in the SEC with 28 sacks on the season. So if Georgia can get to Charlie Brewer and fluster him early and often, it may not take much on the other side of the ball for Georgia to walk away with a win.

Baylor

Get off to a fast start. What does that mean? Don’t let Georgia get on the board with a quick touchdown strike, build confidence and momentum and try and let it carry you through the rest of the game. There is reason to believe Baylor can do this: The BU defense has allowed only 6 points on 13 opening drives this season (2 FGs, 10 punts and 1 TO on downs). If the Bears can use their pass rush to fluster Georgia QB Jake Fromm early on, and then stack the box to stop Swift and Holyfield in the back field, the Bears can pull off the upset against the Bulldogs.

Prediction

Baylor 24, Georgia 21

This is going to be a defensive showdown between two of the top 10 defenses in the country. And for a second-straight year, Georgia misses out on the College Football Playoff and settles for a Big 12 opponent in the Sugar Bowl. And just like last year vs. Texas, I am not convinced Georgia is overly motivated for this match up, while Baylor’s players have never played in a bowl game close to this magnitude. If you look at the injury report, Georgia also has far more players less likely to play than do the Bears. Baylor has won nine one-possession games this year and it becomes ten on New Year’s night in New Orleans.

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