The college football season ends tonight with a showdown between the Georgia Bulldogs and the TCU Horned Frogs. The teams got to the national championship game by outstanding play on both sides of the ball in big games all season, but this will be the biggest test of all. For the NFL Draft hopefuls playing, tonight will provide some unique challenges.
The battle between Quentin Johnston and Kelee Ringo
The Horned Frogs biggest weapon is wide receiver Quentin Johnston. Not only does he stand tall at 6’4” and over 210 pounds, but he has surprising speed for a big wide receiver. His six catch, 160 yard performance against Michigan last weekend was key in TCU advancing to this point.
Playing across from Johnston will be UGA’s equally big and fast cornerback, Kelee Ringo. Ringo has played at a high level this season and is coming off a battle with Ohio State’s talented receivers.
Johnston and Ringo are both future first rounders. Tonight will be an outstanding showcase of how they both handle a match up with an NFL caliber opponent, and the winner of their match up could determine whose team comes out on top.
Can Jalen Carter bounce back against a talented TCU offense?
Jalen Carter was erased against Ohio State last week. The potential first overall pick turned in an uncharacteristic performance where he failed to make an impact rushing the passer or stopping the run. Ohio State was able to light up the Georgia defense due to the lack of pressure on CJ Stroud.
Carter cannot have that kind of game again this week. Not only for the sake of his team, but it does not look good for a potential top pick to wilt in the two biggest games of the year. TCU’s offense is no slouch. Particularly, Jalen Carter will see a lot of the Horned Frogs top offensive lineman, guard Steve Avila. Avila has played at an elite level all season, keying TCU’s run game and keeping Max Duggan clean in the pocket.
Steve Avila could make himself a lot of money tonight, but Carter can play hard to maintain his image as an elite defensive prospect while keeping his defense in the game.
Can Dee Winters stay hot?
Linebacker Dee Winters has been outstanding all season for TCU. The speedy, physical linebacker is a weapon when used to blitz, but also has the instincts and athleticism to hold up in coverage. Winters is a bit smaller, but he makes up for it with basically everything else.
Winters had a dominant game against Michigan, making several tackles behind the line and picking off a pass for a touchdown. He will need that sort of play against the Bulldogs.
UGA’s offense not only features a big, physical offensive line, but a pair of excellent tight ends. Winters will have a tall task coming downhill against Georgia’s running game, but he might also have to match up with Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington.
Winters can show that his size is not prohibitive for him by matching up with NFL level athletes for four quarters.