Heading into their respective conference championship games, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Georgia Bulldogs were one win away from a BCS bowl. Both fell short in those games, and will look for consolation on New Year's Day when they meet in Orlando for the Capital One Bowl.
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Georgia playing well entering their bowl game
Seven yards separated the Bulldogs from a date with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the National Championship Game. In one of the most entertaining games of the season, Georgia fell just short against Alabama with a 32-28 loss in the SEC Championship. In the loss, the Bulldogs did easily cover as a 9-point underdog and finished the season off on a 5-1 SU and ATS run. Overall, Georgia finished 11-2 SU and 7-6 ATS on the season.
Aaron Murray quietly put together a strong season, passing for 3,466 yards with 31 touchdowns to just eight interceptions while leading the offense to an average of 37.2 points per game. The rushing game was also strong, averaging 184.2 yards per game.
Defensively, it was a mixed bag for Georgia in 2012. The Bulldogs did enter the SEC Championship allowing just 8.6 points per game over their previous five games including impressive wins over Florida and Ole Miss. On the other hand, the Bulldogs allowed over 300 rushing yards in each of their last three games of the season; a scary stat with Nebraska’s rushing attack on the horizon.
Nebraska’s meltdown leads to Capital One berth
Considering that Wisconsin had been to the Rose Bowl each of the last two years, many considered the Badgers live in the Big Ten Championship as a 3-point underdog against Nebraska. No one, however, could have seen the 70-31 drubbing of the Cornhuskers coming. Now, Nebraska must lick its wounds and try to finish the season on a high note.
Ameer Abdullah (1,089 rushing yards) and quarterback Taylor Martinez (973 rushing yards) lead a Cornhuskers rushing attack that finished eighth in the nation with 254.5 rushing yards per game. Averaging 35.1 points per game during the regular season, Nebraska could have a huge day in the Capital One Bowl if Georgia doesn’t shore up its rushing defense.
Nebraska finished the season allowing 26.2 points per game on defense. The passing defense was strong all season (allowing just 148.23 passing yards per game), but the rushing defense got torched on a few separate occasions, including the Big Ten Championship in which it got gouged for 539 yards. Nebraska also coughed up 371 rushing yards in a 63-38 loss earlier in the season against Ohio State.
The Cornhuskers finished the season 10-3 SU and 6-6-1 ATS.
Nebraska hoping for better results this time around
Nebraska was a 3-point underdog in last year’s Capital One Bowl against the South Carolina Gamecocks and fell 30-13 in that game. The Cornhuskers also lost their bowl game in 2010 when they fell 19-7 as a 13.5-point favorite in the Holiday Bowl to Washington.
Georgia also enters the Capital One Bowl on an 0-2 SU and ATS bowl streak. In 2011, Georgia was a part of one of the year’s most exciting bowl games in a 33-30 loss in triple-OT to the Michigan State Spartans in the Outback Bowl. Before this current two-game bowl losing streak, Georgia was 11-2 SU in its previous 13 bowls including two wins in the Capital One Bowl.
Georgia is currently a 10-point favorite at Bovada. The Bulldogs were 4-5 ATS in games in which they were a double-digit favorite this season. Nebraska went 1-1 SU and ATS as an underdog this season, defeating Michigan State as a 1-point road underdog and losing to Ohio State as a 2.5-point road underdog.
The key to this game will be Georgia’s rushing defense. The Bulldogs should be able to put up points on Nebraska, but the defense will have to do its part and not wear down against the run like it did against Alabama. Both teams should be playing with a serious chip on their shoulders after losing in their championship games and losing two straight bowl games.
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