The location might be different, but The 2014 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl seems familiar. Not just because it is one of the three bowl experiences that Nebraska fans have taken part in over the last six years. The Georgia Bulldogs will be on opposing sideline for the second straight year.
(You can find Gator Bowl tickets here.)
While it might be disappointing to some fans, it is an opportunity to see what progress has been made since their last meeting. Obviously the makeup of both teams are much different than they were a year ago. Most of the Dawgs defense is playing on Sundays, and they are missing one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Aaron Murray. Nebraska is also without four year starter Taylor Martinez. Both teams still have NFL caliber running backs in Todd Gurley and Ameer Abdullah. Injuries to both teams throughout the 2013 season stunted what could have been conference championship squads. These teams are a lot alike, and both have a lot to play for.
This game has the feel of an old school NFC North kind of game. I expect to see a lot of tough, gritty run action from Nebraska and Georgia. With backups Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Hudson Mason taking snaps each team will likely run the ball frequently. While both of them are more than capable passers, it will come down to a bread and butter, smash mouth style that might not be appealing to the casual fan. I believe it will make for a competitive game.
Nebraska and Georgia have strong defenders that will make plenty of plays tomorrow. I see The Blackshirts continuing to make progress against The Bulldogs. The Huskers have playmakers at every level with Randy Gregory on the line, Michael Rose III at linebacker, and both Ciante Evans and Stanley-Jean Baptiste in the defensive backfield. If they can keep Todd Gurley in check, I think the defense will be able to contain the Dawgs offense.
This one is tough. Both struggle with punt returns and are average in all other areas. It comes down to a battle of the kickers. The Bulldogs have a strong and accurate foot with Marshall Morgan. The guy hit a 56 yard field goal against Tennessee this year, and is as dependable as they come.
Taking advantage of opportunities, holding on to the football, coaching, and not shooting yourself in the foot with penalties are key to winning any football game. With the struggles that Nebraska has had in all of the above mentioned categories it will be interesting to see if they have corrected the costly errors that have plagued them for the past few seasons. With only history to go by, it doesn’t look good for The Big Red.
I don’t think Georgia is going to cover the point spread, but I do see them outscoring Nebraska. Georgia Bulldogs 27 Nebraska Cornhuskers 23.