The Georgia Bulldogs will play the final game of their 2011 campaign on the second day of 2012. The Dawgs face the Spartans of Michigan State in the Outback Bowl on Monday afternoon. Momentum is key for Bulldog Nation as a new year is on the horizon between the hedges. A victory for the Bulldogs will likely mean a top 15 finish and a possible spot in the top ten at the beginning of next season. With all the talent that Georgia has coming back, a strong showing in the Outback Bowl is critical for the Bulldogs to build on their success going into next season.
However, beating Michigan State will be no easy task for Georgia. Both the Dawgs and the Spartans come into the bowl match-up with a 10-3 record, but Michigan State was four points away from representing the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. Sparty is lead by their senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, and everyone involved with the Michigan State football program is well aware that the Spartans have not won a bowl game since 2001.
As for the Bulldogs, Georgia does not need to look any further than New Years Eve 2010 for inspiration. Georgia lost 10-6 to the University of Central Florida Knights in the Liberty Bowl last year. Other than the homecoming loss to Vanderbilt in 2006, last year’s bowl debacle was the low point of Mark Richt’s tenure at UGA. Both Richt as well as Bulldog Nation will have waited over a year for the opportunity to get that terrible taste out of their collective mouths.
Georgia must be balanced on offense to defeat Michigan State. While Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has been spectacular, the Bulldogs must have a complimentary rushing attack to play their best football. SEC freshman of the year Isaiah Crowell must prove that he wants to be a Georgia Bulldog for the duration of his college football career, and he needs to end his first season as a Dawg on a high note. Although, Richard Samuel may very well get the start in the Outback Bowl so it will be interesting to see how the young, highly touted freshman handles a possible back-up role.
Still, throwing the football has rarely been a problem for quarterback Aaron Murray this season. After he filed papers for a draft evaluation by the NFL, the redshirt sophomore quarterback will look to finish his second season under center with a post-season victory. Aaron Murray will have the opportunity for a big afternoon against Michigan State as his supporting cast has had a month to get healthy. Murray is 140 passing yards away from surpassing the 3,000 yard mark on the season. Eclipsing that number could make him an early candidate for the Heisman Trophy in 2012.
Georgia’s defense has been among the best in college football this year, and sticking it to the Spartans would be the icing on the cake for Todd Grantham and company. Linebacker Jarvis Jones has been an absolute force this season, and Bulldog Nation is thrilled that he is staying in Athens. The defensive game plan will be business as usual, as Georgia will look to stuff the run, and then make life miserable for the Michigan State signal caller when he looks to throw the football.
The theme of this blog thus far has been about redemption for a previously underachieving Georgia Bulldog football team. The Dawgs exceeded regular season expectations by winning the SEC East. Now, Georgia must focus on getting to 11 wins which would nearly double their win count from 2010. The new year presents the perfect opportunity for the Georgia Bulldogs to become a championship football team. Georgia’s quest for a BCS Championship begins as the calendar flips to 2012.
- College Football Week 10– Three Dawgs In The Doghouse on Georgia Homecoming– New Mexico State (November 5, 2011)
- Georgia Bulldog Football in 2011 and Beyond
- Dawg Night in Nashville (Georgia – Vanderbilt 2011)
- Maddawg’s Sports Weekend Itinerary- December 3rd 2011 conference championship edition
- Georgia Bulldogs-Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2011