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Kirby Smart evaluates Michigan’s offense ahead of College Football Playoff

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“They like to bludgeon.”

Arkansas v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) have the No. 2 defense in college football, a unit that ranks 3rd in rushing defense and 3rd in passing yards allowed.

No. 2 Michigan’s (12-1) offense will have their hands full. The Wolverines rank No. 18 in total offense, No. 10 in rushing offense, and No. 67 in passing offense.

Although Georgia’s defense has been stellar this year, they faded down the stretch against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, losing 41-24. The Crimson Tide wore the Bulldogs down in the trenches, and the ‘Bama offensive line ultimately had their way. While Alabama was the best offensive line Georgia’s faced to this point, Michigan isn’t too far behind.

For Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, he knows his Bulldogs defense has a tall task, too. Smart understands Michigan wants to win the game with physicality and brute force if they’re able — he gives UM head coach Jim Harbaugh a lot of credit for instilling that mentality.

“I have a lot of respect for the way that his teams play. They are physical. They like to bludgeon. You can tell they have some form of contact every day in terms of ‘we’re going to run the ball. We are going to run it right here and we don’t care if you know. We are going to move you.’ I have an appreciation for that physicality,” Smart said. “When you play a game when it comes down to that last possession, there are times where you have to be able to run the ball to end the game. They’ve been able to do that really successfully this year.”

While Michigan’s rushing game has been one of the best in the nation statistically, Smart isn’t underestimating what Michigan’s passing attack can do with QB1 Cade McNamara and backup J.J. McCarthy.

“They also are explosive, can throw. They have two quarterbacks that are very effective,” Smart said.

At time of publishing, Michigan is a 8.5 point underdog to Georgia on DraftKings.com.

You can catch Georgia vs. Michigan in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.