10 things to know about Ohio State vs. Georgia ahead of their CFP semifinal
It’s almost here … Buckeyes and Bulldogs in the most anticipated game of the 2022 college football season. But before the teams fight it out Saturday night, here are 10 things to know about the schools, squads and seasons.
1) The old Southern, er, Northern song
The history runs deep here, but Georgia’s quasi-official fight song “Glory, Glory” is an old Southern standard that the Bulldogs have been using since 1915. But of course, all but the most tone-deaf will recognize the tune. It didn’t originate as “John Brown’s Body” or “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” but it became famous as the Union anthem in the Civil War. But then “Carmen Ohio” was written after Ohio State lost a football game to Michigan 86-0. So defeat led to songs of identity for both programs.
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2) Deja vu for Herbie
Kirk Herbstreit will be part of ESPN’s crew calling OSU/UGA, and it won’t be his first experience of the kind. Ohio State and Georgia have played only once before, facing off in the 1993 Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Georgia edged OSU 21-14, with UGA’s Eric Zeier outdueling the opposing quarterback, one Kirk Herbstreit. Herbie was 8-for-24 for 110 yards and an interception, although the pick was a failed Hail Mary attempt on the last play of the game.
3) Massive bowl history
There aren’t many teams with lengthy bowl histories like these two. Georgia will be playing in its 60th bowl game, with an all-time 35-21-3 record including a 4-2 mark in prior Peach Bowls. Ohio State has never been in a Peach Bowl, but will be playing in their 53rd all-time bowl game, boasting a 26-27 all-time record. Of course, OSU is 2nd in all-time FBS wins with 954. Georgia is tied for 10th on that list with 866 wins.
4) Home again and a family battle
Four Ohio State players hail from Georgia, including LB Steele Chambers and CB Jordan Hancock. WR Kojo Antwi and TE Bennett Christian are also Buckeyes who hail from the Peach State. No Bulldogs hail from Ohio. Of course, the most famous UGA/OSU connection is QB Justin Fields, who was a Bulldog in 2018, but then transferred to Ohio State where he started in 2019 and 2020. Fields argued for immediate eligibility and won that NCAA battle, although there were rumors about an ugly incident at UGA that might have been part of his case. In any case, Fields starred in Columbus … but the family battle is ongoing. Fields’ sister, Jaiden, is a junior on UGA’s softball team. A part-time starter in 2021 and a regular in 2022, Jaiden has hit .322 at UGA and has 17 homers.
5) Red zone fire
Among the areas where Ohio State and Georgia have been outstanding is red zone offense. Georgia has scored in 69 of 71 red zone trips this season, a 97.2% success rate that leads FBS football. OSU is a mere 3rd, with 55 scores in 58 trips (94.8%). On the other hand, Ohio State converted 75.86% of their red zone trips into touchdowns, which tied for 4th in FBS, while Georgia’s 67.6% was a humble 34th.
6) But a red zone mismatch
On the other hand, Georgia’s red zone defense is the nation’s best, with just 60.7% of opponents’ red zone trips resulting in scores. On the other hand, Ohio State has allowed points in 91.3% of defensive red zone opportunities, which is 121st in FBS. Granted, OSU’s 60.7% touchdown rate allowed is respectable, but this is a big difference in these teams.
7) Heisman history
Both Ohio State and Georgia were disappointed in the 2022 Heisman race, as CJ Stroud and Stetson Bennett came up shy of the trophy (Stroud finishing 3rd and Bennett 4th). Ohio State has had 7 Heisman winners, if you count 2 separate wins for Archie Griffin, the only 2-time winner is Heisman history. The only 21st century nod for the Buckeyes was 2006 winner Troy Smith. Georgia can boast only a pair of Heisman winners, with the most recent being defeated U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who won the award in 1982. OSU has had 3 2nd-place finishers and 5 3r-place finishers, including Stroud in 2022. UGA has a pair of 2nd-place finishes and a pair of 3rd-place results– with Garrison Hearst’s 3rd-place finish in 1992 being UGA’s closest recent call.
8) Coaching continuity
One common feature of the programs is a healthy dose of coaching continuity. Georgia has had 5 head coaches in the last half century, while Ohio State can claim 6 (or 7, if interim coach Luke Fickell counts). Four of OSU’s coaches (Hayes, Bruce, Cooper and Tressel) have been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, while 2 Bulldog leaders can stake the claim (VInce Dooley and Jim Donnan).
9) OSU vs. Numero Uno
Ohio State is 5-10 all-time against No. 1-ranked squads, and will get another chance at an upset over top-ranked Georgia. The last OSU win over No. 1? Why that would be the 2014 CFP semifinal win over Alabama, setting up OSU’s last national title. The last one before that was OSU’s BCS title victory over No. 1 Miami following the 2002 regular season.
10) Cross-conference records
UGA is 11-4 all-time against Big Ten opponents, including a loss to once-Big 10 member Chicago in 1922. The other current Big Ten members who have taken down the Dogs are Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska, although no current Big Ten member has a winning mark against UGA.
Meanwhile, Ohio State is 5-12-1 against SEC members. Aside from the CFP win over Alabama in 2014, OSU has also bested Arkansas, LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. But the Buckeyes are just 2-10 against SEC foes since 1990. The most common enemy has been Alabama, which has gone 4-1 against OSU.