The Georgia Bulldogs will face Michigan State Spartans in a bowl for the second time in three years. Last time these two teams met was in the 2009 Capital One Bowl. Georgia beat Michigan State 24-12.
Georgia this season started out 0-2, then reeled on 10 consecutive wins. Georgia won the SEC East division, then lost to LSU in the SEC Championship game. Georgia is 10-3 and in No. 16 in the BCS poll. Michigan State is 10-3 and is No. 17 in the poll. Michigan State won the Legends division, then lost to Wisconsin Badgers in the Big 10 Championship game.
The Bulldogs will have running back Richard Samuel back from his ankle injury suffered against Florida right before the game ended. The Bulldogs will also have their their entire receiving corps. I expect Aaron Murray to go to Malcolm Mitchell and let Isaiah Crowell do the running. Michigan State’s defense will have to find a way to slow down Crowell and Samuel in order to beat Georgia. Georgia finished third in the SEC in averaging 413.8 yards of total offense this season.
Murray has had a great season. He has a 58.8 completion percentage, and has thrown for 2,861 yards this year. Murray also has 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He can also run; he has rushed for 124 yards with two touchdowns. Mitchell has 38 receptions with four touchdowns and has 614 receiving yards. Mitchell played 10 games for the Bulldogs this year. Injuries hurt his chances to get at least 700 yards of receiving.
Georgia’s defense has greatly improved under Todd Grantham. The Bulldogs defense allowed 268.5 yards per game. Georgia has to give credit to their secondaries. Safety Baccari Rambo, a first-team All-American, Rambo has seven interceptions on the year with one return for a touchdown. Another player on defense that played well was linebacker Jarvis Jones. Jones is also first-team All-American.
Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins has been a dynamite for their offense this year. Cousins threw a game winning touchdown pass against Wisconsin in October. Cousins is a senior who probably get drafted in the middle rounds next spring. He has thrown for 3,016 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions to go with a 65.0 passing percentage. Another top player in the Michigan State offense is running back Le’Veon Bell. He has rushed for 900 yards this year with 11 touchdowns. He averages 69.2 rushing yards in a game. That’s how hard it will be for the Bulldogs to stop Michigan State.
So the question now is, can the Bulldogs beat Cousins and the Spartans? One can only hope that Michigan State has a bad day and Cousins isn’t accurate in his throws.