September 21, 2017

Dawgs Meet Spartans in the Outback Bowl

It may not have exactly been the pre-season expectations of the Georgia Bulldogs to land in the Outback Bowl, but the possibility of an 11 win season is a dramatic about face from last year’s dismal performance. That is what’s at stake on January 2nd when the Dawgs tangle with the Spartans of Michigan State.

It will be interesting to see which team is able to recover the quickest from devastating losses in their conference championships.

Michigan State lost to Wisconsin (a re-match of a regular season contest) in the Big 10 championship, which cost them a spot in the Rose Bowl and Georgia (SEC) lost to #1 ranked LSU.

A victory over the Bayou Bengals would have placed the Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl and vaulted them up in the polls. To put it politely, both of these teams are conference “runner-ups.”

The regular season schedule provided for a stunning last second victory for Michigan State over Wisconsin back on October 22nd. The Spartans also earned victories over several other strong opponents including Michigan, Ohio State, and Iowa.

For the Georgia Bulldogs, their rise to the top of the SEC East included defeats of Tennessee, Florida, Auburn and a dominating victory over in-state rival Georgia Tech.

The Outback match-up features two premier college quarterbacks. Kirk Cousins, the 6’3” senior will handle the plays for the Spartans while Aaron Murray the 6’1” sophomore works the controls for the Georgia offense.

Both quarterbacks have provided brilliant performances on a consistent basis. Just how will the opposing defenses handle their potent attacks?

Georgia has relied heavily on their passing game as Murray has accumulated over 2,800 yards and 33 touchdwons.

Isaiah Crowell, the team’s leading rusher with over 800 yards on the ground has seen limited play recently while battling through injuries and a mid-season suspension.

Fans are still hoping to see Crowell provide the excitement that he was accustomed to during his time at Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia.

The upcoming bowl game will provide the final opportunity for Crowell to chase a 1,000 yard season.

*OUTBACK BOWL PREVIEW*[gpslideshow]

UGA (10-3) vs. Michigan St. (10-3)

History:

> The first meeting was in Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl at the end of the 1988 season. Georgia won that game, Vince Dooley’s last as the Bulldogs’ coach, 34-27.

> The other meeting was in the Capital One Bowl at the end of the 2008 season. Georgia won 24-12 in the final college game for quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshon Moreno. Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the second half, the last one to Moreno.

 
Quick Facts:

> Currently the Associated Press ranks Michigan State #12 and Georgia #18.

> The BCS has Michigan State #17 and Georgia #16.

> Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. on January 2nd and is to be aired by ABC.

Michigan St Leaders

Passing: Cousins – 240-369, 3016 yds, 24 tds

Rushing: Bell – 165 car, 900 yds, 11 tds

Receiving: Cunningham – 72 rec, 1240 yds, 12 tds

Georgia Leaders

Passing: Murray – 218-371, 2861 yds, 33 tds

Rushing: Crowell – 182 car, 847 yds, 5 tds

Receiving: Mitchell – 38 rec, 614 yds, 4 tds

My prediction:

I don’t know if Georgia can find all the answers this late in the season. If one of the running backs decides to show up and tote the rock (with authority), it should open up the play-action passing game and Murray could have a record setting day. It all hinges on the run game.

For the Spartans, Cousins has looked superb all season long and has a reputable arm. The question is, “How will their running game stack up against Georgia’s stiff run defense?” If they can exploit Georgia’s front line D, the way LSU did, it could make for a long day for the Dawgs and Sparty’s trip to the Sunshine State a winter vacation.

My pick:

Georgia 34, Michigan State 27

What do you think????
Post a comment and let everyone know.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: