TAXSLAYER.COM GATOR BOWL STORYLINES
1. Georgia and Nebraska have been mirror images of each other, making it appropriate the two schools meet for the second time in a year Jan.1 at the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The Bulldogs downed the Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl last season, but both teams will be without the record-setting quarterbacks who appeared in that game. Georgia’s Aaron Murray tore his ACL in late November while Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez missed most of the season with a foot injury.
2. With the replacement quarterbacks’ roles likely to be somewhat minimized (Hutson Mason for Georgia and either Ron Kellogg III or Tommy Armstrong Jr. for Nebraska), the Bulldogs’ Todd Gurley and the Cornhuskers’ Ameer Abdullah figure to show their wares as two of the nation's top running backs. Gurley closed the season by gouging Georgia Tech for 122 yards on the ground and four total touchdowns while Abdullah ranks seventh in the country in rushing.
3. Nebraska and Georgia are among the most frequent visitors to the postseason in college football history. The Cornhuskers will celebrate their 50th bowl-game appearance (only Alabama and Texas have more) against the Bulldogs, who will appear in their 49th bowl game.
TV: Noon ET, ESPN2. LINE: Georgia -9.
ABOUT NEBRASKA (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten): Most of the offensive line that got wrecked by injuries during the season is expected to be back in place by the bowl game – including tackle Jeremiah Sirles, guard Jake Cotton and guard/center Cole Pensick. The Cornhuskers finished last in the Big Ten and in a tie for 118th in the country in turnover margin (minus-12). Buoyed by the emergence of defensive end Randy Gregory (Big Ten-high 8.5 sacks), Nebraska yielded an average of 306 yards after it gave up 410.4 over its first seven contests.
ABOUT GEORGIA (8-4, 5-3 SEC): Injuries also derailed the Bulldogs from the outset, ending the season for key players such as defensive end Malcolm Mitchell, wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley and running back Keith Marshall. Gurley also missed three games due to an ankle injury, but the offense averaged 41.2 points once Gurley returned. Georgia gave up at least 30 points to eight opponents and finished last in the SEC in passing yards allowed per attempt (7.6).
PREDICTION: Georgia 38, Nebraska 34