A capsulized look at the College Football Playoff national championship game:
No. 3 Georgia (13-1) vs. No. 4 Alabama (12-1)
Monday, 5 p.m. PST, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Georgia’s running game vs. Alabama’s defense. Something has to give with Georgia averaging 267.4 yards per game on the ground — eighth best in the nation — and the top-ranked Alabama unit giving up only 91.8 yards rushing per game. The Bulldogs will keep throwing fresh bodies into the backfield with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel as the principal characters. Alabama’s season-long ability to overcome injuries will be tested again as linebacker Anfernee Jennings is not expected to play. Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick insists he can go Monday night despite injuring a kidney last week.
Georgia (440.3 ypg/36.3 ppg): The Bulldogs ran the ball more than 50% of the time this season. If the offensive line can move some bodies and the ground game finds a rhythm, quarterback Jake Fromm can be effective at managing the offense. A freshman pressed into duty early this season, Fromm has been efficient if not spectacular, passing for 23 touchdowns with five interceptions.
Alabama (449.7 ypg/37.9 ppg): The Crimson Tide offense also relies on the run with Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and quarterback Jalen Hurts carrying most of the load. Hurts is a dual threat under center — when asked to throw the ball, he has looked most often for receiver Calvin Ridley, who had a 12-yard touchdown catch against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.
Georgia (289.5 ypg/15.7 ppg): Roquan Smith is the first Bulldog to win the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker. The junior leads the team with 124 tackles and has 11½ tackles for loss this season. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter is another standout and defensive back Dominick Sanders has 16 career interceptions.
Alabama (252.4 ypg/11.1 ppg): Despite ranking No. 1 in a slew of statistical categories, the defense faced questions about generating only one nonoffensive touchdown during the regular season. The Crimson Tide responded with a smothering performance in the Sugar Bowl, scoring 14 points off turnovers, including a pick-six by linebacker Mack Wilson.
Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship set a Rose Bowl record by making a 55-yard field goal against Oklahoma on Jan. 1. He also had a 38-yard field goal in overtime. … Alabama has relied on kicker Andy Pappanastos, who transferred from Mississippi last season and won the job in the summer camp. The redshirt senior has made 16 of 21 field-goal attempts and had a 24-yard field goal in the Sugar Bowl.
Alabama coach Nick Saban gets another shot at tying the record with six national championships. He has has four titles with the Crimson Tide and one with the 2003 Louisiana State team. A victory Monday night would put him in the company of Bear Bryant, who preceded him in Tuscaloosa by more than three decades.
Each year, the NCAA releases Graduation Success Rate statistics that track student-athlete achievement in the classroom. According to the most recent numbers, Alabama had a success rate of 84%. Georgia had a rate of 53%, which ranked near the bottom among all bowl teams this season.
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