Led by running backs Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum, Michigan had the No. 10-ranked rushing offense in college football this season. The No. 2-ranked Wolverines literally ran over their competition during the regular season and extended that advantage into the postseason vs. Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game.

On New Year’s Eve, the Wolverines, who have one of their better rushing offenses within the past 20 years, will face a defense that’s been touted as the best the sport has seen at the college level in at least a decade — that of the No. 3-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, who have the No. 2-ranked rushing defense so far in 2021.

Not only will the Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami feature two top teams, it’ll feature a run vs. run D battle that we may always remember. College Football Playoff classic type of stuff.

We already know this will be a premier contest. But do we know everything about UM’s rushing attack vs. UGA’s rush defense? Probably not. Let’s take a look at some numbers before the Wolverines and Bulldogs face off on New Year’s Eve.

UM backs — Here we come

From the onset, it was pretty clear that Michigan had something going on within its backfield. The Haskins-Corum duo is one of the best in Wolverines history, just based on the eye-test. Stat-wise, well, there is still another game or two remaining before we can do a final comparison.

Thus far, Haskins has rushed for 1,288 yards and 20 touchdowns, highlighted by a series-record 5 vs. Ohio State. Corum has 939 yards and 11 total TDs, and he barely played against Ohio State and Iowa.

Overall, Michigan churns out just a fraction under 224 yards per game on the ground. A backfield that can break off huge runs and score touchdowns is always an asset, always tough to defend.

Haskins had 7 games with 2 or more touchdowns, while Corum piled up 3 games with 2 or more touchdowns — including 2 games with 3 scores (Washington, Northern Illinois).

Georgia has yet to face an adversary with such power in the backfield. The closest comp is probably Arkansas (No. 12 in the country in rushing), and the Hogs were held to 75 yards on 2.6 per carry.

UGA run D — Try … if you dare

The Bulldogs have given up just 3 rushing touchdowns this season.

Three! (The next closest team, Texas A&M, has given up twice as many in 1 less game.)

Only Auburn, Florida and Alabama were able to reach the end zone via carry this season against the Dawgs.

On top of that, UGA allows just 81.7 yards per game — crumbs, when you think about it. There wasn’t a team that asserted itself on the ground vs. coordinator George Lanning’s defense.

Do the names Nakobe Dean and Channing Tindall mean anything to you?

Well, they should.

Together, they came up with 119 tackles and 14 sacks. Recognized as two of the nation’s top linebackers, Dean (wearing No. 17 in the feature photo above) and Tindall will certainly have something for Haskins and Corum on game day. The Bulldogs’ duo was a major reason why opponents couldn’t run the ball this past fall.

Michigan has played against solid run defenses, namely Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State. Wisconsin finished first in the country against the run; and Iowa, MSU and OSU are all among the top-20 nationally. Of those four, only the Badgers truly slowed down Michigan, holding them to a season-low 112 rushing yards on 2.5 per carry.

But again, Georgia has an overall defense nearly unparalleled during the past decade, and it starts up front. While no one has keep Michigan under 100 rushing yards this season, Georgia has kept 9 of 13 opponents below triple-digits.

Something’s gotta give, and with only 3 rushing touchdowns having been scored against the Bulldogs, the Wolverines will have their work cut out for them. Georgia ranks No. 2 behind Wisconsin in rushing yards allowed per game and 3rd in yards-per-carry allowed (2.61).

Want a battle of heavyweights? Get ready to rumble when Georgia prepares to stop Michigan’s running prowess. This could be a case where two positives equal a negative — meaning that each unit will basically be neutralized. Due to its offensive line, the advantage might lean toward the Wolverines. Georgia has played against good O-lines, but it hasn’t faced one comparable to that of Michigan.