Georgia vs. Nebraska: Capital One Bowl Breakdown

Publish date:

No. 6 Georgia (11-2) vs. No. 23 Nebraska (10-3)Jan. 1, 1:00 p.m. ET (ABC)


? Reason to watch: To get a glimpse of what might have been. Both Georgia and Nebraska entered Championship Saturday with a BCS berth on the line; in Georgia's case, an appearance in the national title game was at stake. But after two crushing losses -- an embarrassing 70-31 defeat to Wisconsin, in Nebraska's case -- both land in the Capital One Bowl as a consolation prize. Though a full month has passed since those results, motivation could still play a factor in Orlando. This game also offers one more chance to watch Georgia's Jarvis Jones, arguably the most disruptive linebacker in the nation. Despite missing two games due to injury, the 6-foot-3, 241-pounder racked up 12.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles, totals that rank seventh, second and first in the FBS, respectively. Jones needs just two sacks to break David Pollack's single-season program record, which could spell a long day for Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez. The Huskers rank 85th nationally in sacks allowed.

? Keep an eye on: The coaching battle. Both Georgia's Mark Richt and Nebraska's Bo Pelini have reputations for falling short in big games, and both have struggled in bowls as of late. Richt's Bulldogs lost the 2011 Outback Bowl and 2010 Liberty Bowl, while Pelini's Huskers dropped last year's Capital One Bowl and the 2010 Holiday Bowl. A win for either could generate some positive momentum heading into the offseason. Also, make sure to monitor both teams' rushing attacks. Todd Gurley was Georgia's headliner after finishing the regular season with 1,260 yards and 16 touchdowns (he ran for 122 yards and two scores in the SEC title game), but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that fellow freshman Keith Marshall has recovered from nagging injuries and should see a heavy dose of playing time. Meanwhile, Nebraska's Rex Burkhead will look to wrap up his college career in style. Burkhead missed six games in 2012 with a sprained left knee injury, but he's one of the nation's premier backs when healthy. He rushed for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.

? Did you know: These teams have met only once before, when Nebraska thumped Georgia, 45-6, in the 1969 Sun Bowl. It was the most lopsided loss of legendary Bulldogs coach Vince Dooley's career -- and it sparked a streak of 30 consecutive bowl appearances for the Huskers.

? Final analysis: Georgia's defense will be without star nose guard John Jenkins, who was unable to meet academic requirements and is ineligible for Tuesday's bowl. That should facilitate some big plays for Martinez, Burkhead and all-purpose dynamo Ameer Abdullah. Still, Jones, linebacker Alec Ogletree and safety Bacarri Rambo will eventually make their presence felt, while Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray -- who posted a 172.4 quarterback rating, second nationally -- and the Bulldogs' rushing duo will wear down the Huskers in the second half.

? The pick: Georgia 30, Nebraska 23