CFP National Semifinal: Georgia takes on Michigan tonight at 7:30 in the Orange Bowl

Game & Broadcast Info

  • CFP Semifinal Game Capital One Orange Bowl
  • Kickoff: Friday, December 31 – 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Hard Rock Stadium (64,767) | Miami Gardens, Fla.
  • 2021 Records: Georgia 12-1 (8-0 SEC), Michigan 12-1 (7-1 B10)
  • History: Georgia vs. Michigan All-Time Series Results: Tied 1-1
  • Rankings: Georgia #3, Michigan #2
  • TV: ESPN – Chris Fowler (PxP), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst), Holly Rowe (sideline)
  • Video Stream: ESPN+
  • Radio: WSB AM 750 – Bulldog Network | Affiliates | Scott Howard (PxP), Eric Zeier (Color), DJ Shockley (sideline)
  • Audio Stream: georgiadogs.com
  • Satellite: SiriusXM/Internet: Georgia 84/84/84, National 80/80/80
  • Web Stats: ESPN
  • Twitter: #CapitalOneOrangeBowl
  • ReBroadcast: SEC Network: TBA

OFFENSE

Looking For More Explosive Plays
The Bulldogs are averaging 39.4 points/game and have outscored their opponents 512-124. The Bulldog defense and special teams have combined to score five TDs this year, two safeties and blocked five more potential points (one FG, two PATs). * Georgia has had seven touchdown passes that have covered at least 38 yards: JT Daniels, 38 yds. vs. USC, WR AD Mitchell; 43 yds. vs USC, WR Jermaine BurtonStetson Bennett, 73 yds. vs. UAB, Burton; 61 yds. vs UAB, WR Arian Smith; 89 yds. vs. UAB, TE Brock Bowers; 60 yds. vs. #18 AU, WR Ladd McConkey; 77 yds. @ GT, Bowers.

Bennett 11-2 As A Starter At Georgia
Bennett 12-3 As A Starter at Georgia * Senior Stetson Bennett, a native of Blackshear, Ga., who was a Burlsworth Trophy finalist, began his career with the Bulldogs as a walk-on in 2017 when he was redshirted. Bennett transferred to Jones College (Miss.) where he started in 2018 and then returned to the Bulldogs on scholarship in 2019. He saw action that season in five games including throwing passes in four of them. In 2020, he started five games. * In his Bulldog career, Bennett is 12-3 as a starter and has completed 61.5 percent of his passes (254-for-413, 3,764 yards, 34 TDs, 14 INTs). Also, he has 67 rushing attempts for 282 yards and four scores. * In 2021, Bennett has played in 12 games (9-1 as a starter) and is 148-for- 231 (64.1%) for 2,325 yards with 24 TDs and seven INTs. He has 45 carries for 251 yards. * He ranks fourth nationally in Passing Efficiency (176.8). The school record in that category belongs to Aaron Murray at 174.8 in 2012. * JT Daniels started the season behind center but was sidelined versus UAB due to a lat injury. Bennett stepped in and started that game. Daniels returned against South Carolina and then left the Vanderbilt game after the first quarter with an aggravation of his injury. Bennett played most of the Vanderbilt game and then has served as the starter since the Oct. 2 win over No. 8 Arkansas. * Bennett helped Georgia complete a historic 8-0 SEC regular season and its first undefeated regular season since 1982. * Most recently, Bennett posted career highs in completions (29), yards (340) and attempts (48) and threw for three touchdowns against No. 4 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. * In the 30-13 win over No. 11 Kentucky, Bennett was on the mark in the second half, completing 9 of 10 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He earned a spot on the Davey O’Brien Award’s Great 8 list after finishing with 250 yards passing and three TDs. * Bennett enjoyed a record-setting performance vs. UAB, torching the Blazers for a school record tying five TDs (all in the first half). He finished the day 10-for-12 for 288 yards with his scoring strikes covering 9, 12, 61, 73 and 89 yards. Bennett was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week as well as to the Davey O’Brien Award’s Great 8 list following his performance.

Daniels 7-0 As A Starter At Georgia, 13-6 Overall
JT Daniels, an Irvine, Calif., native, served as UGA’s starting quarterback from game seven of the 2020 campaign through the 2021 opener.

Daniels did not play against UAB due to a lat injury as senior Stetson Bennett got the start in a 56-7 win. Daniels returned against South Carolina and only played in the first quarter against Vanderbilt during those Bulldog wins. He returned in the third quarter versus Missouri on Nov. 6 and was 7-for-11 for 82 yards and a TD with one INT.

Productive Start To Bowers’ Career
Dominating Defense & Offense Delivering Points * Georgia leads the nation in Scoring Defense, giving up just 9.5 points per game. The Bulldogs are averaging 39.4 points per game, which is ranked seventh nationally. * The defense has allowed an FBS low 11 touchdowns while the unit has scored three TDs. The defense did not allow a touchdown until the third game of the season. * Georgia opponents have scored only 124 points in 2021. Clemson’s opponents have the next fewest points in the FBS at 180. Bowers Chasing History in Freshman Season * Freshman TE Brock Bowers has a team-best 47 catches for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns (11 rec., one rush) and was recently named SEC Freshman of the Year. Bowers’ 11 TD catches has tied the UGA record for receiving TDs in a season held by SE Terrence Edwards in 2002. * Bowers has already set school records for most TD catches for a TE in a season with 11 and for yards for a TE in a season with 791. His next conquest will be single-season catches by a TE. Bowers currently has 47 and Shannon Mitchell (1993) owns the record with 49 (539 yds., 2 TDs.) * Some notables from Bowers first season include: three 100-yard games; four touchdown receptions of 25+ yards; his first touchdown catch of his career was an 89-yarder from Stetson Bennett versus UAB, this was the ninth-longest passing TD in school history; had a 12-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry at Vanderbilt, was the leading receiver with four catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns and was named the SEC Freshman of the Week; was the team leader with six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns against No. 11 Kentucky and was named SEC Freshman of the Week yet again as well as Mackey Award Tight End of the Week; had a 77-yard scoring reception from Bennett at Georgia Tech. Sharing The Load At RB * Seniors Zamir White (135 attempts, 718 yards, 10 TDs) and James Cook (101 att., 619 yds., 7 TDs) split a majority of the carries. * White has led the team in rushing in six games while Cook has done it five times. Fellow senior Kenny McIntosh and sophomore Kendall Milton led the Bulldogs in rushing the other two games. White had 14 carries and went for 105 yards (7.5 per carry) and a TD in the win over Florida. His performance featured a 42-yard touchdown run, which is the longest rush for the Bulldogs this season. Milton has missed the last six games with a knee injury. * Cook finished with a career-high 104 rushing yards and three scores (2 rush, 1 rec.) in the victory over UT. Also, he led the team with 87 yards on 12 carries (7.2 avg.) against No. 8 Arkansas. Against Missouri, his one touchdown came out of the “Wild Dawg” formation. * McIntosh got his first start at Georgia Tech and carried the ball twice for 66 yards, including a season-long 59-yard touchdown scamper. * White, McIntosh and sophomore Daijun Edwards all scored rushing touchdowns at Vanderbilt, along with WR Ladd McConkey and TE Brock Bowers. A Look At The Offensive Line * Senior Jamaree Salyer (LT), junior Warren Ericson (LG), redshirt freshman Sedrick Van Pran (C), fifth-year senior Justin Shaffer (RG) and redshirt sophomore Warren McClendon (RT) comprised the starting lineup for a seven-game stretch until the Missouri game on Nov. 6. Then, redshirt freshman Broderick Jones filled in for Salyer for four games after a foot injury. Salyer, who was voted to the Walter Camp All-America Second Team, returned to the lineup against No. 4 Alabama. In the season opener versus No. 3 Clemson, redshirt freshman Tate Ratledge started the opener at LG. A foot injury has kept him out since that game. * The unit was honored as Joe Moore Award semifinalists and helped the team post a season-high 274 rushing yards in the win over Tennessee. * The unit has allowed only 11 sacks this year. That leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally. Michigan is third on that list, giving up only 10 so far this season. * Georgia focused on the rushing game versus No. 8 Arkansas and finished with 56 attempts for 273 yards (4.9 yards/rush) and three touchdowns. This was the most rushing attempts in a game during the Kirby Smart era. * At No. 18 Auburn, the Bulldogs’ rushing attack picked up steam in the second half, gaining 165 yards to finish with 201 in the 34-10 win. Jones also filled in at LT in this game after Salyer went down with an ankle injury. Ton Of Targets * The Bulldogs are creeping closer to getting 100 percent healthy at receiver. George Pickens made his 2021 debut against Georgia Tech following offseason knee surgery and then had a pair of catches for 41 yards in the SEC Championship Game. * The Bulldogs spread the ball around, including 11 different receivers hauling in passes during their last two games (@ GT, vs. #4 UA). * Arian Smith went down with a leg injury following the Missouri win and has missed the last four games. * Dominick Blaylock made his season debut against Charleston Southern in his first action since the 2019 SEC Championship Game. * Before the victory over Missouri, Georgia had relied on junior Kearis Jackson, redshirt freshman Ladd McConkey and true freshman AD Mitchell. * Georgia’s leading receivers have been freshman TE Brock Bowers (47 rec., 791 yds., 11 TDs), McConkey (28-430-5), Mitchell (25-342-2) and Burton (23-412-4). * Jackson accounted for 97 all-purpose yards in the rout over Florida. He had a team-leading three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown while also taking care of return duties with a total of two returns. Jackson’s 36-yard touchdown catch (his first of the year) before halftime put the Bulldogs up 17-0. * During the victory at No. 18 Auburn, McConkey hauled in a career-high five catches for 135 yards and a career-long 60-yard touchdown. He became the third Bulldog this year to have a receiving and rushing touchdown in the same game during the win at Vanderbilt. Both he and Bowers accomplished the feat versus the Commodores while senior RB James Cook did it against South Carolina and at Tennessee. * Cook, who has 21 catches for 157 yards and three touchdowns this year, tallied a team-best 147 all-purpose yards in the win at UT.

DEFENSE

Dominant ‘D’
Dominant ‘D’ * Georgia’s opponents have scored only 124 points. The next fewest allowed by an FBS team is Clemson at 180. * Georgia has held 10 of its opponents to a season low in points with USC (13), UT (17) and UA (41) the only exceptions. * Georgia is the only FBS team to hold opposing offenses out of the end zone in six games this season. * No. 3 Clemson’s three points were the fewest in the Dabo Swinney era and lowest since 2007 against Georgia Tech, a 13-3 loss under Tommy Bowden. * No. 11 Arkansas was shut out for the first time since 2018. * Florida’s seven points were the fewest in the Dan Mullen era and lowest since 2017 versus Georgia, a 42-7 loss under Jim McElwain. georgia football 2021 Georgia Football postseason Media Guide 11 dawg tracks Creating Havoc Again In 2021 * Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, a 2019 and 2021 Broyles Award finalist, is now in his fourth year, and the Bulldogs feature the nation’s top Scoring Defense allowing just 9.5 points/game. Georgia is second nationally in Total Defense (254.4 yards/game) and third in Passing Defense (172.7) and in Rushing Defense (81.7). * Georgia leads the country in Red Zone defense. Opponents have advanced to the Red Zone only 25 times this season and nine times have come away with no points. * The defense has allowed 11 TDs in 2021 while it has scored 3 TDs. * In six games this year, Georgia has not allowed an offensive TD and that leads all of FBS. * Six times this year UGA has carried a shutout to the 4th quarter. * Posted shutouts versus No. 8 ARK and at GT and VANDY. * Florida avoided being shut out when it scored with 2:49 left in the contest in a 34-7 loss to the Bulldogs.

Playmakers In The Secondary
Playmakers In The Secondary * While some may refer to Georgia as “RBU,” one could make a case for “DBU” with the recent Bulldogs now in the NFL, including four who were drafted last season (Eric Stokes, 1st Round, Green Bay; Tyson Campbell, 2nd Round, Jacksonville; Richard LeCounte, 5th round, Cleveland; Mark Webb, 7th round, L.A. Chargers). * Junior safety Lewis Cine is tied for the team lead with 61 tackles. Cine had a team-high nine tackles and two pass breakups in the road win over No. 18 Auburn. * Christopher Smith scored the only TD in the win over No. 3 Clemson on a 74-yard interception return (the first pick of his career). He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after that. Smith returned to action versus No. 4 Alabama after missing the previous two games with an injury. * Senior Latavious Brini and redshirt freshman Kelee Ringo are manning the cornerback spots for the Bulldogs this season. * Walk-on redshirt sophomore Dan Jackson got his first start versus No. 11 Kentucky while Smith was out with a shoulder injury. Jackson has been the team’s leading tackler twice this season. During the 37-0 win over No. 8 Arkansas, he blocked a punt in the first quarter that was recovered by Zamir White in the end zone for a touchdown to put Georgia up 21-0. * Rounding out the defensive backfield is former All-ACC First Team selection Derion Kendrick (Clemson). He has started all 13 games with 33 stops and two picks. Making An Impact Up Front * All-American Jordan Davis joins fifth-year Devonte Wyatt and sophomore Jalen Carter as the veterans in the center of the defensive line. Davis won the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award and was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy along with joining teammate Nakobe Dean on the 2021 Waler Camp All-America First Team. This season, the three Bulldogs have tallied 19 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one blocked FG, a blocked PAT and two forced fumbles. Davis scored his first career touchdown on a carry from the 1-yard line against CSU. * The trio is joined by versatile junior Travon Walker who has started all 13 games. Walker has 32 stops, 5.5 TFLs and four sacks. * Wyatt led the charge for the front in the SEC Championship Game with a tackle for loss and a forced fumble while Davis picked up four solo stops. * Davis, Wyatt and Carter burst onto the national scene in the opener versus No. 3 Clemson. The trio combined for eight tackles, including three tackles for loss and two sacks, and a pass breakup. Davis was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week as well as the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after his effort against the Tigers. Bulldog Backers Flying Around * Junior Nakobe Dean is tied for the team lead in tackles with 61 and recently was awarded the 2021 Butkus Award. The 2021 Butkus Award winner became only the third Butkus “double crown” winner after also collecting the 2018 high school honor. In addition, Dean was named the captain of this year’s Allstate AFCA Good Works Team thanks to the fan vote. * Dean is the leader of the 2021 defense. Dean had seven tackles and returned his second career interception 50 yards for a touchdown against Florida. The pick-six capped a flurry of big plays by the Bulldogs who scored 21 points in a span of two minutes and nine seconds to build a 24-0 halftime advantage. Georgia scored three touchdowns off three turnovers and needed just two offensive plays. * Senior ILB Channing Tindall is third on the team in tackles with 58. He earned Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week honors on Nov. 14 after his game at Tennessee (eight tackles, three sacks, forced fumble). * Senior Quay Walker ranks fourth on the team with 53 stops. He posted a career-high 13 stops against the Gators. * Junior Nolan Smith is one of two linebackers on the outside. He has 41 stops and six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks to go along with a blocked punt versus Missouri. * Smith finished with four stops, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and his first career interception during the win over Florida and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

Bulldogs Lead Nation In Scoring Defense
Since the arrival of Kirby Smart in 2016, the Bulldogs have featured talented defenses, and the 2021 edition could be the best one yet. From 2016- 2018, Mel Tucker served as the defensive coordinator before leaving to take the head coaching job at Colorado (now at Michigan St.). Dan Lanning is in his fourth year at UGA (2018, OLB coach), including his third season as the Fain and Billy Slaughter Defensive Coordinator.

A Look At The 2021 Bulldog Defense
One reason the Bulldogs have been the top-ranked team in the country for much of the 2021 season is their defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS

One Of Country’s Top Punting Units Returns
Senior punter Jake Camarda earned All-SEC First Team honors this year and was the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2020. He posted an SEC-best 46.6 average that ranked fourth in the country and was named a FWAA Second-Team All-American. Camarda was a preseason All-American at his position in 2021. * This year, Camarda is averaging 47.1 yards/punt, placing 15 inside in the 20 and 15 have been 50+. Camarda’s career average of 45.8 is on pace for a school record. Drew Butler, the 2009 Ray Guy Award winner, owns the Bulldog record with a 45.4 mark. * Camarda is also handling most of the UGA kickoffs this year and for the third straight year is also the Bulldogs’ holder on placement kicks.

Camarda is also handling most of the UGA kickoffs this year.Jack-Pod
For his career, junior PK Jack Podlesny is 31-for-38 on field goals and 102-for-103 on PATs. This year, he is 18-for-22 on FGs and 64-for-65 on PATs. Podlesny capped his first year by earning Offensive MVP honors at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. In the 24-21 win over #8 Cincinnati, Podlesny accounted for 10 points, including the game-winning 53-yard FG with three seconds remaining. * Georgia entered the 2021 season with the NCAA record for Consecutive PATs Made. The streak ended with a miss versus No. 11 Kentucky at 363 and involved six kickers (Marshall Morgan, Patrick Beless, William Ham, David Marvin, Rodrigo Blankenship and Podlesny). The streak began in 2014. * Georgia’s snappers this year include returning starters junior Payne Walker and redshirt sophomore William Mote. Walker snaps on field goals and PATs, while Mote handles the snaps for punts.Five Special Teams TDs In The Smart Era
2016: 12 points in two games (KOR, PR)
2017: none
2018: 12 points in two games (PR, Blocked Punt Ret.)
2019: none
2020: none
2021: 6 points in one game (Blocked Punt Ret.)

Longest PR For a TD: 82 yards by Isaiah McKenzie vs. Louisiana, 2016
Longest Blocked PR For a TD: 8 yards by Eric Stokes @ Missouri, 2018
Longest KOR For a TD: 43 yards by Terry Godwin @ South Carolina, 2016

OTHER GAME NOTES

First-Time Starters
Georgia had seven first-time starters in the 2021 season opener against No. 3 Clemson in Charlotte. The Bulldogs had 19 first-time starters in 2020, including seven in the opener. vs. #3 CU: Bowers, McConkey, Ratledge, Van Pran, Kendrick (1st at UGA), Speed, T. Walker

vs. #3 CU: Bowers, McConkey, Ratledge, Van Pran, Kendrick (1st at UGA), Speed, T. Walker
vs. UAB: none
vs. SC: Mitchell
@ VU: Ringo
vs. #8 ARK: none
@ #18 AU: Anderson
vs. #11 UK: Jackson
vs. UF: none
vs. UM: Jones
@ UT: None
vs. CSU: Beal
@ GT: McIntosh
vs. UA: NoneThe True Freshman Experience
During the 2021 season opener, six true freshmen saw action against the Tigers in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium.

In 2020, a total of 10 true freshmen played for the Bulldogs.Bulldog Captains
vs. #3 CU:James CookJT Daniels & Nakobe Dean
vs. UAB: Jamaree Sayler, Zamir WhiteChristopher Smith
vs. SC:Channing TindallJordan DavisKearis Jackson
@ VU:Jake CamardaJohn FitzPatrickNolan Smith
vs. 8 ARK: Cook, Salyer, Smith
@ #18 AU:Quay WalkerWarren EricsonDevonte Wyatt
vs. #11 UK: White, Travon Walker, Dean
vs. UF:Adam Anderson, Cook, Salyer, Q. Walker
vs. UM:Justin Shaffer, Jackson, T. Walker
@ UT: Cook, Q, Walker, Dean
vs. CSU: Tindall, Wyatt, White
@ GT: Salyer, Shaffer, Lewis Cine
vs. #4 UA: Q. Walker, Cook, White, Dean

Hard Rock Stadium, August 2017 Home football field for Miami Dolphins (NFL), Miami Hurricanes (NCAA), By A.J. Lipp – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

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