Georgia Versus Nebraska – 2014 Gator Bowl

georgia_nebraska_2014
Not Exactly the Rematch Bulldog Nation Hoped for
The Georgia Bulldogs started off 2013 with a bang, beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers by a final score of 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl.  Unfortunately for both sides, these two teams will meet again on New Year’s Day in 2014.

As for a more interesting subplot, the 2014 Gator Bowl marks only the third football game between the two schools.  Nebraska defeated Georgia 45-6 in the 1969 Sun Bowl.

No disrespect to Nebraska, but this is a bowl rematch nobody in their right mind wanted to see when the season began.  Time did not do much to build anticipation.  According to the Kansas City Star, Husker fans are not wild about playing the Dawgs, either.

No Aaron Murray Or Taylor Martinez in 2014
The Hutson Mason era is in full effect in Athens.  Georgia’s new starting quarterback led a triumphant comeback against Georgia Tech at the conclusion of the regular season.  It would have been nice for Aaron Murray to start four postseason games in four years, but his torn ACL turned the page on Georgia’s quarterback situation two games ahead of schedule.

On the plus side, Hutson Mason gets another start under his belt before the long offseason begins.

Taylor Martinez’s father does not expect his son to play college football again.  Martinez has dealt with a number of injuries during his senior campaign, the worst of which involved significant damage to his foot.  The Nebraska QB started a school-record 39 games, and ends his Nebraska Cornhusker career as their all-time leader in total offense.

Georgia Defense Trying to Finish in the top Eighty
The Dawgs are currently ranked 82nd in the country in terms of points given up per game.  As long as Taylor Martinez is not calling signals for Nebraska on January 1, Georgia will have a chance to finish in the top eighty for that category.

The young Georgia defense must use the time before the Gator Bowl wisely.  UGA needs to force the opposition to punt more often if Bulldog Nation is to be a factor in the national picture moving forward.

Georgia and Nebraska: Similar Paths to Redemption
At the start of the 2013 campaign, both the Dawgs as well as Big Red had aspirations of winning a conference title. The dreaded combination of injuries and bad luck derailed those hopes, leaving the two universities hobbled and battling to go bowling.  At present, each team is focused on the future while trying to finish the year with nine wins.

UGA 41 GT 34 – Dawgs Survive Jackets in Overtime

uga_gtGutsy Performance From Hutson Mason
A determined Hutson Mason led the Bulldogs to victory in Atlanta.  The redshirt junior engineered a 20 point comeback against the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech, culminating in an overtime win.  Making his first career start for the University of Georgia, Mason completed 22 out of 36 passes for 299 yards. The unfamiliar quarterback seemed far more comfortable in a hurry-up offense where the Bulldogs dictated the pace.

When Bulldog Nation found themselves in a 17-0 hole at the end of the first quarter, UGA seemed resigned to end the regular season on a low note.  Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson threw the Dawgs a curve ball with an aerial assault.

Dawgs Hunker Down Again
The Georgia defense hunkered down in the second half, leaving the door open for Bulldog Nation to make a comeback.  After allowing four scoring drives in the first half, UGA surrendered just one touchdown during the remainder of regulation.  Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense went to the passing well a little too often, as GT quarterback Vad Lee threw a costly interception that swung the momentum in Georgia’s favor.

The Final Frame/Overtime
Georgia seized victory on the power and determination of Todd Gurley.  The Bulldogs’ leading tailback scored on consecutive possessions in OT, allowing Bulldog Nation to crush the hopes of Georgia Tech once again. TGII wrapped up the afternoon with 122 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

Dawgs Finish 8-4. Gators Sink in Swamp.
Their win in week 14 means UGA finishes the regular season at 8-4.  Due to the adversity and injuries the team had to overcome, eight wins is a number to be proud of.  Dawg alum Will Muschamp can attest to that.  The 4-8 Gators will not go bowling.  Although this matter is off topic, I cannot taking a shot at Florida.

Where Will Georgia Go Bowling?
According to CBS Sports, Georgia is likely headed to the Music City Bowl in Nashville on December 30. If this prediction comes to fruition, the Dawgs will play Boston College before closing the book on 2013. On paper, one may think this paring favors Georgia. To quote the immortal Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend!

The Eagles are led by the nation’s top rusher, Andre Williams.  Utilizing his dangerous combination of speed and power, Williams has become a legitimate Heisman candidate.  UGA gave up nearly 600 yards rushing in their final two games of the regular season.  Sounds like a recipe for a highlight reel.

Below is a preview of what may await Bulldog Nation.  I hope the Dawgs do face Boston College. It would be interesting to see how the defense matches up with Andre Williams.



Upon Further Review…
UGA’s post season destination is uncertain. The Red and Black reports Georgia is likely going to the Gator Bowl against Michigan. If this occurs, Bulldog Nation should expect a recurring theme of a ton of points without much defense.