Mother Nature will likely play an important role when Alabama takes on UGA in Athens on Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). Depending on the amount of precipitation and the condition of Georgia’s grass field, the Tide might have no choice but to force the ball between the tackles.
Georgia will have zero qualms about running the football on Saturday. Alabama? We’ll see.
The Crimson Tide certainly have the manpower to succeed on the ground, but ‘Bama has shied away from its running backs since a Week 1 win over Wisconsin.
Against the Badgers, the Tide ran 37 times for 238 yards while passing 29 times for 264 yards. That run-heavy approach has disappeared, as Alabama has thrown the ball at least 32 times — including a 59-attempt game against Ole Miss — in each of its subsequent games.
But a heavy dose of rain on Saturday could mean the thunder-and-lightning combination of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake will get more touches than they’ve received all year. Freshman Bo Scarbrough will also be available after his four-game suspension ran its course.
Coach Nick Saban did not address the weather this week, but UGA coach Mark Richt did.
“It has to be coming down really hard to change the plan,” Richt said. “Or the wind has to be coming down really hard, with or without rain, to change what you’re doing.”
Rain or not: The Bulldogs will lean on Heisman candidate Nick Chubb.
With plenty of help from the Dawgs offensive line, the sophomore has averaged at least 7.5 yards per carry and gone over 100 yards in all four games this season. Meanwhile, the Alabama defense has given up just 1.97 yards per rush, and has not allowed an individual runner to top 39 yards in a game.
It’s a true clash of titans, and inclement weather will likely make Chubb’s success (or lack of it) a deciding factor.
#Bama's yet to allow a 100 yd rusher this season. In 2012 they didn't allow one either, until Gurley in the SEC Championship…Chubb's turn?
— SEC Country (@seccountry) October 1, 2015