Chubb's return gives UGA jolt for UNC
If North Carolina’s on your schedule, it’s crucial to be operating at maximum strength.Thankfully for the Georgia Bulldogs, they don’t have to consider the alternative.
Armed with a healthy, motivated Nick Chubb, the SEC East stalwarts take on the high-flying Tar Heels tomorrow afternoon. Handicappers at online sports book BetDSI currently list UGA as a 2.5-point favorite at the Georgia Dome. The over/under is 56.5.
Coach Kirby Smart couldn’t have concocted a superior setup for his Peach State debut, really, primarily because the school’s star tailback has been deemed ready for action. Chubb missed the final seven contests of 2015 after tearing his PCL, MCL and LCL in last October’s 38-31 defeat to Tennessee. Prior to that ugly incident, the 5-foot-10, 228-pounder had amassed 747 yards in a mere five-plus weeks on the gridiron.
Chubb, not to mention rock-solid backup Sony Michel, will see plenty of work against a UNC run defense that struggled mightily a year ago. Gene Chizik’s unit surrendered 319 yards on the ground in a 45-37 loss to Clemson in the ACC title tilt and an embarrassing 645 to Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The Chapel Hill faithful can only hope that freshmen like Jonathan Smith and Tomon Fox are prepared to enhance the front seven immediately.
Even if Georgia dominates in the trenches, though, the Tar Heels’ aerial arsenal always bears monitoring. Junior Mitch Trubisky slides in for Marquise Williams at quarterback, but returning vertical threats Mack Hollins, Ryan Switzer and Bug Howard promise to confound Mel Tucker’s secondary. North Carolina’s also underrated in terms of making explosive plays out of the backfield. In fact, it was one of three FBS squads to average at least six yards per rush attempt last season.
Nonetheless, we’re envisioning a fourth-quarter scenario in which Trubisky must convert a succession of third-down throws vs. the nation’s top pass D. That’s just to give Larry Fedora’s troops a chance, mind you, of prevailing on the road. Don’t shy away from the preferred Bulldogs here.
FRIDAY NCAA FREE PICK: GEORGIA -2.5