Behind Enemy Bylines is a series in which The Red & Black discusses Georgia’s upcoming game with the sports editor of the student newspaper of Georgia’s opponent for that week. This week, assistant sports editor Michael Hebert talked to assistant sports editor Thomas Johnston of The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.
Michael Hebert: What is head coach Mark Whipple’s message to the team and approach heading into a big game like this against Georgia?
Thomas Johnston: The Minutemen know the challenge they are facing against Georgia, one of the top teams in the country. The message is that everyone needs to play their best game from all three units to be competitive in the game.
Michael Hebert: How big of an impact does sophomore wide receiver Andy Isabella have on the offense?
Thomas Johnston: His impact is astronomical. In all their wins this season, Isabella has had big games. He is UMass’ clear cut best player, and when teams take him out of the game, the Minutemen offense struggles to move the football.
Michael Hebert: What does UMass have do to stay competitive in this game, and where can the Minutemen affect the Georgia defense?
The Minutemen will need someone other than Isabella to step up offensively. Whether that is a guy like freshman Sadiq Palmer, Brennon Dingle or Zak Simon, someone will have to step up as I expect Georgia to try to take Isabella out of the game. They will also need to establish a run game early to keep the Georgia offense off the field.
Michael Hebert: How do you think UMass can attempt to slow down the Georgia offense?
Thomas Johnston: Great question, and I don’t know if they can. The UMass defense has had mislaps all season long where they allow big plays, and I expect the Georgia offense and Jake Fromm to take advantage of that. The Minutemen have also struggled defending the run, which is a main strength of the Bulldog attack especially with Swift back and healthy. They will need to force some turnovers to have a chance.
Michael Hebert: General thoughts on the game and a score prediction?
With Georgia on the cusp of a playoff spot, I don’t see them messing around at all in this game. The Minutemen will put up a fight early, but I don’t see them being able to compete for a full 60 minutes against the Bulldogs. I think Georgia wins the game easily. My score prediction is 48-10 Georgia.