UGASports - PFF Matchup: Georgia vs Alabama
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PFF Matchup: Georgia vs Alabama

Georgia (11-1) will take on Alabama (12-0) in the SEC Championship this Saturday. The Bulldogs are coming off five consecutive wins, while Alabama has beaten all 12 opponents this season by 22 points or more.

Analyst Trent Smallwood uses PFF (Pro Football Focus) season grades to compare each unit for the upcoming game at 4:00 on Saturday afternoon.

Georgia's Passing Game vs Alabama Defensive Backs
Georgia Off Grade Alabama Def Grade

WIDE RECEIVER

Riley Ridley

Tyler Simmons

Mecole Hardman

Terry Godwin

Jeremiah Hollomon


75.1

74.4

74.2

70.8

68.1

CORNERBACK

Shyheim Carter

Savion Smith

Patrick Surtain II

Josh Jobe

Kyriq McDonald


86.1

78.5

77.0

74.3

63.4

QB AND TIGHT END

QB- Justin Fields

QB- Jake Fromm

TE- Isaac Nauta

TE- Charlie Woerner


90.2

86.6

78.4

62.6

SAFETY

Deionte Thompson

Xavier McKinney

Jared Mayden

Keaton Anderson


91.5

85.2

66.9

66.9

Will Alabama put freshman defensive back Patrick Surtain II on Georgia receiver Riley Ridley? Surtain is only allowing a 44.4 percent reception rate, while tallying one interception on the season. Ridley has been targeted 44 times this season, hauling in 34 of those receptions (77.3 percent reception rate) for 450 yards and eight touchdowns. That would be a fun match-up to watch.

It doesn't get any easier on the other side of the field. Savion Smith is allowing a higher reception rate at 61.9 percent, but he has brought in three interceptions with four pass breakups. He could draw the match-up with receiver Jeremiah Holloman. Holloman is having a break out year for the Bulldogs, catching 21 of his 32 targets on the season (65.6 percent reception rate) with five touchdowns.

Georgia could have the advantage in the slot where Mecole Hardman is the man. The junior has hauled in 32 of his 49 targets (65.3 percent reception rate), while tallying six touchdowns. Shyheim Carter will be locked up on him in the slot, where he has allowed 19 receptions on 38 targets and two interceptions.

The Bulldogs could have a mismatch at tight end, where Isaac Nauta has caught 25 of his 30 targets (83.3 percent reception rate) for 346 yards and two touchdowns. The Alabama linebackers and safeties will be forced to lock down the junior tight end.

Georgia's Running Game vs Alabama Front 7
Georgia Off Grade Alabama Def Grade

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

LT- Andrew Thomas

RT- Isaiah Wilson

RT- Justin Shaffer


80.0

77.2

63.1

EDGE

OLB- Christian Miller

OLB- Anfernee Jennings

OLB- Jamey Mosley


78.8

77.7

69.3

INTERIOR LINE

OG- Jamaree Salyer

LG- Solomon Kindley

C- Lamont Gaillard

RG- Ben Cleveland

OG- Cade Mays

OC- Trey Hill


78.6

76.9

76.0

74.8

73.5

65.1

INTERIOR LINE

NT- Quinnen Williams

DE- Raekwon Davis

DE- Lebrayn Ray

DE- Isaiah Buggs

NT- Phidarian Mathis

DE- Johnny Dwight


95.4

83.1

78.6

76.9

69.7

64.1

RUNNING BACK

Elijah Holyfield

D'Andre Swift

James Cook

Brian Herrien


86.5

84.2

75.4

68.1

INSIDE LINEBACKER

Mack Wilson

Dylan Moses

Joshua McMillon

Markail Benton


77.1

72.7

65.8

64.8

If Georgia offensive guard Ben Cleveland is able to play this weekend, that would be huge for the Bulldogs. Cleveland has not allowed a quarterback pressure in 99 pass blocking opportunities. If he is unable to go, true freshman Trey Hill will likely earn another start at right guard, where he has allowed three quarterback hurries in 103 pass blocking opportunities.

The match-up to watch here is Georgia senior offensive center Lamont Gaillard against Alabama nose tackle Quinnen Williams. Gaillard has allowed five quarterback pressures and one sack in 282 pass blocking chances. Williams, on the other hand, has 38 quarterback pressures and eight sacks. For the Bulldogs to have success here, Gaillard is going to have to play the game of his life.

The Georgia tackles have been outstanding this season. Sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas has only allowed seven quarterback hurries and two sacks in 229 chances on the season. Redshirt freshman right tackle Isaiah Wilson has allowed 10 quarterback pressures and one sack on the season.

That group will have to contain Isaiah Buggs (31 QB pressures, 12 sacks), Christian Miller (30 QB pressures, 8 sacks), and Anfernee Jennings (25 QB pressures, 6 sacks).

Alabama will have to tackle well in this game, as Elijah Holyfield averages 4.23 yards after contact and D'Andre Swift is at 4.14 yards per carry after the initial hit. The duo has combined for 1,857 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season.

Alabama Passing Game vs Georgia Defensive Backs
Alabama Off Grade Georgia Def Grade

WIDE RECEIVER

Jaylen Waddle

Jerry Jeudy

Henry Ruggs III

Devonta Smith

Derek Kief


87.6

86.3

79.8

73.1

63.8

CORNERBACK

Deandre Baker

Eric Stokes

Mark Webb

Tyrique McGhee

Tyson Campbell


90.5

81.9

75.5

70.6

69.1

QB AND TIGHT END

QB- Tua Tagovailoa

TE- Irv Smith Jr.

QB- Jalen Hurts

TE- Hale Hentges


92.2

83.1

82.7

58.6

SAFETY

JR Reed

Richard LeCounte

Otis Reese

Chris Smith


81.5

79.9

69.3

67.4

Georgia senior cornerback Deandre Baker has been absolutely lock-down the past two seasons. He hasn't allowed a touchdown pass since the bowl game of the 2016 season. Baker has been targeted 38 times, only allowing 18 receptions (47.4% reception rate) for 145 yards. He also has two interceptions.

He will likely draw the match-up with Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy, who has hauled in 56 of his 82 targets (68.3 percent reception rate) for 1,077 yards and 11 touchdowns. This is a match-up for the ages right here.

Where Alabama could have the mismatch is in the slot. Henry Ruggs III has hauled in 39 of his 54 targets (72.2 percent) with nine touchdowns. Jaylen Waddle has 37 receptions on 48 targets (77.1 percent) and six touchdowns. Senior defensive back Tyrique McGhee will be lined up as the nickel corner, where he has been targeted 25 times, allowing 16 receptions (64 percent), no touchdowns, and has an interception.

Eric Stokes has taken over as the cornerback opposite Baker and had some success. Stokes has only allowed six receptions on 17 targets (35.3%) with four pass breakups.

It will be interesting to see if Georgia turns to freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell to play in the slot at times. Campbell entered last weeks game as a safety against Georgia Tech.

Georgia safeties and linebackers will have to match-up with tight end Irvin Smith Jr. He has hauled in 35 of his 45 targets (77.8%) for 610 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

Alabama Running Game vs Georgia Front 7
Alabama Off Grade Georgia Def Grade

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

LT- Jonah Williams

RT- Jedrick Willis

OT- Scott Lashley


87.7

70.9

59.2

EDGE

OLB- D'Andre Walker

OLB- Brenton Cox

OLB- Walter Grant


79.3

73.1

67.7

INTERIOR LINE

OG- Josh Cashier

RG- Alex Leatherwood

OC- Chris Owens

OC- Ross Pierschbacher

LG- Lester Cotton Sr.

LG- Deonte Brown


74.3

69.7

68.6

65.9

65.7

57.9

INTERIOR LINE

DE- Malik Herring

DT- Tyler Clark

DE- Jonathan Ledbetter

NG- Jordan Davis

NG- Devonte Wyatt

DT- Julian Rochester


84.6

82.7

82.4

77.3

72.0

67.2

RUNNING BACK

Najee Harris

Damien Harris

Josh Jacobs


90.5

83.0

76.7

INSIDE LINEBACKER

ILB- Tae Crowder

ILB- Juwan Taylor

ILB- Natrez Patrick


79.6

73.5

59.7

Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams and right tackle Jedrick Willis Jr. will have to account for Georgia edge rusher D'Andre Walker. Walker has 30 quarterback pressures on the season with seven sacks. Williams has only allowed nine quarterback pressures and no sacks, while Willis Jr. has allowed 18 quarterback pressures and zero sacks. Bulldogs defensive end Malik Herring also has 16 quarterback pressures and a sack on the season.

Georgia could find some success in the interior of Alabama's line. Jonathan Ledbetter and Tyler Clark have 26 combined quarterback pressures and two sacks. True freshman nose tackle Jordan Davis has two sacks, with one coming last week against Georgia Tech.

Alabama right guard Alex Leatherwood has allowed two sacks and 12 quarterback hurries on the season. Left guard Deonte Brown has been outstanding in pass protection, only allowing five quarterback hurries since entering the starting lineup. Brown does struggle some in run blocking, though, only holding a 52.8 grade in that area.

In the running game, Najee Harris is averaging 4.61 yards per carry after contact. Damien Harris is at 3.16 yards per carry after initial contact. Josh Jacobs is the third running back for the Tide, averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the season with 417 yards and nine touchdowns. The Crimson Tide trio has 1,795 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season.

Head to Head Grades
Georgia Grade (Natl Rank) Alabama Grade (Natl Rank)

TOTAL OFFENSE

93.2 (3rd)

TOTAL DEFENSE

96.4 (1st)

PASS OFFENSE

88.2 (11th)

COVERAGE

93.7 (4th)

RUSH OFFENSE

89.3 (6th)

RUSH DEFENSE

97.2 (2nd)

PASS BLOCKING

90.5 (7th)

PASS RUSH

89.2 (2nd)

RUN BLOCKING

81.8 (3rd)

TACKLING

93.7 (2nd)

TOTAL DEFENSE

94.8 (4th)

TOTAL OFFENSE

95.4 (2nd)

COVERAGE

93.5 (6th)

PASS OFFENSE

92.9 (2nd)

RUSH DEFENSE

94.2 (18th)

RUSH OFFENSE

89.0 (8th)

PASS RUSH

73.6 (27th)

PASS BLOCKING

83.8 (33rd)

TACKLING

94.6 (1st)

RUN BLOCKING

73.4 (17th)

SPECIAL TEAMS

73.9 (54th)

SPECIAL TEAMS

77.0 (32nd)