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December 27, 2012

Georgia vs. Nebraska: First Thoughts

With the CapitalOne Bowl coming up, I guess I have to start thinking about this thing. I don't recall another game that might mean as much as this one does that I have been less excited about. I'm happy we are in the SEC's top non-BCS bowl. I'm happy we have an opponent that we match up well against. I guess it is post-SECCG malaise.

Either way, here are my general first thoughts on the game:

  • Nebraska's schedule. After looking over their OOC, I don't every want to hear another B1.5G apologist bring up the SEC's OOC schedules. Nebraska faced Southern Miss (0-12), UCLA (9-4 and Pac-12 South Champ), Arkansas State (9-3), and Idaho State (1-10 in DI-AA). They lost to UCLA. The did play Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State from the other division, so they did face a decent B1.5G schedule. Overall, they didn't face any harder (on paper) regular season schedule than Georgia, and as bad as their conference was this year, they had an easier schedule. When you factor in their championship game opponent, they faced a way easier schedule.
  • Nebraska's offense. The Huskers have been pretty solid, averaging 462 ypg. Their best game was a  632 yard effort against Southern Miss. Their worst was an embarrassing 263 against an Iowa team that gave up 381 yards per game. 
    • Rushing: This is their strong point. They are 8th in the country, averaging 254 ypg rushing. This causes me the most concern, considering what happened in Atlanta. Taylor Martinez and a group of running backs have been effective at moving the ball on the ground. 
    • Passing: Nebraska ranks 91st in passing. They are particularly not good on traditional passing downs (52% completion on 3rd down). Martinez gained over 1000 yards in his three best games. In his other 10 games, he averaged 160 ypg. He also threw for 10 of his 21 TDs in those games.
  • Nebraska's defense. Pelini made a point of wanting to get the famous Black Shirts back in Lincoln. So far, they haven't arrived. Still, they are in the top 30 in total defense allowed at 343 ypg (8ypg fewer than Georgia is allowing). However, looking at scoring defense, they are a middling 56th. For comparison sake, Georgia is 16th. They gave up over 60+ points twice this year. 
    • Rushing: They are a woeful 95th in the nation in rush defense, giving up 194 ypg. They have given up over 300 yards per game three times (all losses) and in the B1.5G championship game gave up a staggering 539 to a Wisconsin team they held to 56 yards earlier in the season. 
    • Passing: Number one in the nation, allowing just 148 ypg. UCLA's Brett Hundley is the only QBs to do anything on them this year (22/38/4/0). While they didn't face but two other competent passing QBs (Ryan Alpin for Arkansas State and Matt McGloin for Penn State), holding teams to under 50% for a season is impressive.
So, Georgia needs to play strong rush defense on early downs, force Nebraska into throwing situations, and be able to run the ball themselves. No problem, right?



JJBA said...

Georgia's players don't care just like a majority of the fan base. Nebraska got embarrassed last time out and probably will have that lingering in preperation which will help them. Georgia could've been playing in Miami and now that we aren't, it doesn't matter who or where we are playing. Having said that, I hope we win by 50.

Mike Thomas said...

I think as has been the norm in Big 10 last few years, Nebraska has not played anyone remotely comparable to Georgia. If Georgia shows up motivated to play, which is a big if, they should be able to stay balanced and throw and run with effectiveness. I will agree with you and say biggest concern will be GA defense ability to stop Nebraska's run game. If they can slow it down they should win easily. Go Dawgs!

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