This isn’t the greatest Gator Bowl in recent history, featuring two teams that have basically fallen out of touch as the season went on. Nebraska, who has fallen off a bit more, is the underdog. Georgia can be seen as large as -9 point favorites at 5dimes.com in the bowl presented by TaxSlayer.com.
In a similar matchup last year in the Capitol One Bowl (Bulldogs -9.5 favorites), Georgia showed its muscle by going for 589 total yards in a 45-31 win. This Game could look a little different considering both opening day starting quarterbacks won’t be available. Taylor Martinez has been labeled out due to various injuries throughout the year while Aaron Murray tore his ACL on Nov. 23 against Kentucky.
The Bulldogs weren’t having a great season before that anyway, as injuries decimated both sides of the ball early on. They ended up with an 8-4 record after being in conversations as a Top 5 team in the preseason. Early wins over South Carolina and LSU highlight their Schedule, but also a nice comeback win at Georgia Tech to close the year without Murray. Of course, their 43-38 loss at Auburn can’t be forgotten, losing in improbable fashion by way of a 73-yard prayer.
Playing in the Big Ten, Nebraska doesn’t have the same quality of wins even with an identical record. The Cornhuskers gave up 38 straight points to lose to UCLA early in the year and that ended up being their downfall. They finished with one win against a bowl team and that was against Michigan, a team that also fell apart. The Cornhuskers closed the season by losing two home Games against Michigan State and Iowa, and winning at Penn State in overtime.
At this point, it looks like the Bulldogs have a bit more pride to play for the way they closed out the season. It’s going to take a revamp from the Cornhuskers to revert back to a team that once had hope.
The Cornhuskers will likely be led by Ron Kellogg III at quarterback who finished out the last two Games of the season and actually led the team with 919 passing yards, although with the least amount of TDs (six). Kenny Bell is a target to watch out for, but Quincy Enunwa has suddenly become a hot red zone target this year with 10 touchdowns. Nebraska is going to run the ball as much as possible behind Ameer Abdullah (1,568 yards eight TDs). He hasn’t really been stopped yet, going for at least 85 yards in every Game this year.
It’s not like Georgia’s defense has played great this year, so there’s no reason why Abdullah can’t get at least 100 yards in this one. The problem for Nebraska is that its defense will have tons of problems. If they allowed a combined 79 points to Michigan State and Iowa at home, what will it look like in the bowl Game?
The Bulldogs will take a similar approach to their Game, led by Todd Gurley, who is a complete beast at running back. He carried the team to a win in the finale with 122 yards and three touchdowns. Finally healthy, Gurley has a chance to finish his season with a nice Game against a porous defense. Hutson Mason hasn’t looked terrible at quarterback and against this defense, there’s no reason he can’t succeed. The Bulldogs have an array of targets in the passing Game with five players having between Four and five touchdowns, and Four of them with at least 30 receptions.
The Cornhuskers have not covered in Four straight neutral site Games and were 3-1 ATS on the road this year. The Bulldogs were terrible ATS this year at 3-8-1 ATS overall and 1-5 ATS on the road. The Bulldogs are also 5-2 ATS in their last seven bowl Games and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 non-Conference Games.
Considering the QB situations with both teams this Bowl gme is probably best left untouched from a betting perspective………