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(National Championship Game) No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 4 Alabama — Jan. 8, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
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College Football National Championship game
Game info: Jan. 18 2018 — 8:45 p.m. ET on ESPN in the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta
Georgia advances to the national championship game after a thrilling, come-from-behind 54-48 victory over No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Georgia’s fortunes turned in that game after a 55-yard field goal from kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, and it’s those kind of plays that Georgia will need in order to claim their first national championship since 1980.
Like Georgia’s games against Auburn this year, this may come down to how the Bulldogs perform in the trenches on the offensive line. Obviously that sounds like any go-to football answer, but the first Auburn game where Georgia only rushed for 46 yards showed that the Bulldogs can be vulnerable on the line, even with Chubb and Michel in the backfield.
The second time around against Auburn, though, Georgia rushed for 238 yards in a 28-7 win. Will that performance prove to be the blueprint for this game?
Key Georgia performers:
RB Nick Chubb: 1,320 rushing yards (6.44 per carry), 15 touchdowns
RB Sony Michel: 1,129 rushing yards (7.95 per carry), 16 touchdowns
LB Roquan Smith: 124 total tackles (11.5 TFL), 5.5 sacks
While favored in the Sugar Bowl, No. 4 Alabama did provide a bit of a shock by absolutely crushing No. 1 Clemson on their way to a 24-6 victory and a berth in the national title game.
The key for the Crimson Tide will be if the defense can hold it together for one more game. Alabama rates as the best defense in the country (allowing 11.1 points per game), but at some point the injuries may take a toll. Alabama’s defense is already without Hootie Jones and Shaun Dion Hamilton, and now they will also be without Anferee Jennings for the title game against Georgia. Jennings had become a solid piece with some injuries to Alabama’s linebacker corps, and it will once again be next man up for the Crimson Tide.
Key Alabama performers:
QB Jalen Hurts: 2060 passing yards, 25 total TDs (17 pass), one interception
RB Damien Harris: 983 rush yards (7.62 per carry), 11 touchdowns
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick: 55 total tackles (7.0 TFL), 1.5 sacks, one interception