Published Monday, December 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm / Updated at 11:11 pm
2-minute drill: Nebraska vs. Georgia
Three and out
Bo Pelini is creative with his blitzes, but he doesn't like calling them too often. Somehow, though, the Huskers have to pressure quarterback Aaron Murray. Maybe it's up to Eric Martin. If NU can force an immobile Murray to move, it might just get him out of rhythm, creating mistakes.
— Jon Nyatawa

Ball security for Nebraska might be at more of a premium against Georgia
than at any point this season. Get careless with the football, and the hacking and grabbing Bulldogs will only add to their 36 forced fumbles (16 recovered) against a Husker team already prone to putting it on the turf (34 fumbles, 21 lost).
— Rich Kaipust

Georgia's defense has talent but a lack of chemistry and could be vulnerable to Nebraska's no-huddle option offense. Look for the Huskers to move fast early in hopes of catching the Bulldogs off-guard.
—Sam McKewon

World-Herald staff writer Rich Kaipust breaks down the Nebraska-Georgia matchups in the Capital One Bowl.

* * *

NU rush offense vs. Georgia rush defense: Nebraska got Rex Burkhead back full-time for the Big Ten championship game, then wasn't able to use him the way it planned after falling behind immediately against Wisconsin. If the Huskers can avoid a similar situation, the 1-2 punch of Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah — plus the run threat of quarterback Taylor Martinez — should be a good challenge for Georgia, which allowed 350 rushing yards to Alabama in the SEC championship game (and 306 to Georgia Tech and 302 to Georgia Southern in the two games prior). NU ranks No. 8 in rushing offense, the Bulldogs just No. 77 in rushing defense. Edge: Nebraska

NU pass offense vs. Georgia pass defense: Nebraska made strides this season, but now goes against a Bulldog unit that ranks No. 8 in pass defense (173.5 yards per game), allows opponents to complete just 56.8 percent of their attempts and has as many interceptions as touchdowns allowed (11 of each). Georgia defensive backs will get up and be physical with NU receivers, so Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa and Jamal Turner will have to fight to create separation. Martinez had just one TD pass in the Huskers' three losses, with six interceptions and 12 sacks. Edge: Georgia

Georgia rush offense vs. NU rush defense: All you have to do is look back to Dec. 1 to see the advantage for Georgia here. Freshman tailback Todd Gurley ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama in the SEC title game, while Nebraska was hardly even a speed bump for Wisconsin (539 yards, 10.8 per carry) in the Big Ten matchup. Gurley is complemented by Keith Marshall, and the two freshmen have combined for 1,983 yards and get 6.3 and 6.6 per carry, respectively. NU has no immediate answer for losing tackle Baker Steinkuhler in the heart of its defense, and its issues with tackling and bad angles still pop up. Edge: Georgia

Georgia pass offense vs. NU pass defense: Nebraska might be a good test for Georgia junior Aaron Murray, who has thrown for 3,466 yards and 31 touchdowns. The Huskers still rank No. 1 nationally in pass defense (148.2 yards per game) and No. 2 in pass efficiency defense. Until Wisconsin went 8 for 10 throwing it, Nebraska had held seven straight opponents to sub-50 percent passing. Georgia has eight players with 15 or more receptions, so the Huskers won't be able to focus on somebody like Tavarres King, who has eight TDs and averages 21.7 yards a catch. Edge: Even

Special teams: Can Nebraska go out on a good note here, or will the struggles and miscues dog the Huskers all the way through the season? The Huskers' return games have been nonexistent since midseason, and even kicker/punter Brett Maher has had some ups and downs. Georgia doesn't do any one thing particularly well, but the Bulldogs have blocked five kicks and Malcolm Mitchell at least needs to be respected on returns. Edge: Georgia

Intangibles: The unknown until kickoff might be which team handled its bowl practices better and stayed more businesslike after their Dec. 1 disappointments. Both Georgia and Nebraska have lost back-to-back bowls, but the Bulldogs had won seven of their previous eight and have the more experienced head coach with Mark Richt (eight 10-win seasons, two SEC titles). Georgia will have a crowd edge at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, but its biggest advantage might come in its ability to create turnovers (27). Edge: Georgia

Key matchup: Martinez called Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones “just another football player out there,” but the All-American is anything but ordinary. It won't come down to one Husker's responsibility but rather take a group effort to keep Jones blocked or contained. If the Huskers can't or don't, the junior might only add to his 22 1/2 tackles for loss, 12Ĺ sacks and seven forced fumbles.

Nebraska will win if: It can protect the football, establish its run game from the start and keep the Georgia offense off the field.

Georgia will win if: The Bulldogs come to play and match the intensity and desire that almost carried them to the national championship game.

Our take: Study the rosters and it's not hard to see which one features more future NFL draft picks. That said, bowl games have a way of falling into the hands of the team that wants to be there and prepares better. Who is that? We'll have to wait to find out, but all things equal it will be tough for Nebraska to win this one unless it made some defensive fixes in December, can control the pace with its offense and not help Georgia at all with turnovers or special-teams mistakes. Neither junior starting quarterback has won a bowl game yet, but Murray appears intent on getting his first one against the Huskers' hurting defense.

Prediction: Georgia 35, Nebraska 27
* * *

>> This week's edition of "The Big Red Today Show":

>> NU coach Bo Pelini speaks to the media on Monday, Dec. 31:

>> UGA coach Mark Richt speaks to the media on Monday, Dec. 31:

>> Monday's Husker pep rally in Orlando, Fla.:

Contact the writer: Rich Kaipust    |   402-444-1042    |  

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and some general assignment tasks, including the College World Series and U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.



< >
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.'s Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
< >