Gator Bowl Preview: Greg Sharpe on Nebraska Cornhuskers Game With Georgia
It will be a sort of 'Groundhog Day' experience for college football fans New Year's Day, with the same two teams (Nebraska and Georgia) playing on the same day (January 1st), in the same state (Florida), exactly one year to the day, when the Cornhuskers (8-4) and Bulldogs (8-4) play in the Gator Bowl Wednesday morning.
The host city is different, Jacksonville instead of Orlando, but there are a lot of similarities with last year's match-up, which the 'Voice of the Cornhuskers' Greg Sharpe told me, could make motivation an issue in this one:
One thing missing for Nebraska is quarterback Taylor Martinez, whose senior season and career were curt short because of injury. Martinez missed the last five games, and eight of the final nine, taking him out of game shape to possibly return for the bowl game:
That puts the focus of the Gator Bowl squarely on the shoulders of two talented running backs.
Ameer Abdullah led the Big Ten in rushing with 1,568 yards, running for more than 100 yards in all bu the last two games of the season.
Carrying the ball for Georgia will be Todd Gurley, who missed three games with an ankle injury, but still managed to gain more than 900 yards, while scoring 10 touchdowns as Georgia won 4-of-5 down the stretch.
They have similar results, but very different running styles:
One of the keys in this game will be the play of Nebraska's defense, which saw tremendous improvement in Big Ten play, but is still lacking in one key area:
The Blackshirts won't have to go against Georgia's talented quarterback Aaron Murray. He's missing the game with a knee injury.
In his place will be redshirt junior Hutson Matson, who has only started one game this season:
Last year's Nebraska - Georgia match-up came in the Capital One Bowl, which the Bulldogs won 45-31. The Huskers will be looking to reverse that score, and snap a four-game losing streak against the SEC Wednesday in Jacksonville:
So far this bowl season has not been good to Big Ten teams. Michigan was beaten by Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Minnesota fell to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl.
Greg sums up Big Ten play in one word: