Georgia ‘bigger, more athletic’ than Michigan, Desmond Howard says.. Second-ranked Michigan looked overmatched during Friday’s loss to Georgia in the Orange Bowl, the second of two blowouts in the College Football Playoff semifinals this season.
College GameDay analyst and former Michigan star Desmond Howard reacted to the Wolverines’ performance during Saturday’s show.
“(Georgia) set the tone right out the gate,” Howard said. “Moved the ball right down the field and Stetson Bennett was very accurate. They attacked the outside edges of Michigan’s defense. They had a brilliant game plan offensively. Standing on the field and watching these guys, they’re big and athletic. Much bigger than Michigan. Like (Jim) Harbaugh said, they were the better team.”
Michigan turned it over twice, failed to maintain their season-long control in the trenches and didn’t have an answer for Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who threw three touchdown passes and eclipsed the 300-yard passing mark early in the second half.
By the first minutes of the second quarter, Georgia had built a 17-point lead and the rout was on.
“Yeah, they did a very good job early in the game, first half especially, of extending drives,” Harbaugh said after the game. “They were able to bleed out yards on the perimeter with some of the bubbles and swing routes. Then hit the big play. They got the swing route early to Bowers, that was big, and we lost the ball on the lights on the deep throw. They were able to bleed out the yards and pick up the 1st downs. I thought they were really effective, and on 1st down, they must have had eight or nine 3rd-and-shorts. They were able to get the ball to 3rd-and-1, 3rd-and-2 and convert those 1st downs and keep the chains moving and couldn’t get them out of that rhythm early.
“Offensively we were able to make just about every drive we had had a 1st down in the first four drives. We had one three-and-out, and then weren’t able to convert, make the big play, get the ball into scoring territory. Had some 4th downs, didn’t convert those, and then unfortunately we turned the ball over a few times, and then we lost the ball in the lights one time on an offensive throw and they got an interception in the end zone. Got to give them credit. They executed well. Game plan was good, and we weren’t able to keep pace.”
Harbaugh believes Michigan took the next step this season and is heading into the right direction.
“Keep building and attacking. I think our ballclub was in position to do it and weren’t able to get it done tonight, but always building and attacking at the same time,” Harbaugh said.
Georgia moves on to play Alabama in the national championship game next month in search of the program’s first title since 1980.