UGA vs. Michigan State in Outback Bowl; homecoming for Murray, Charles

Georgia and Michigan State, both with 10-3 records and losses in their conference championship games, will meet Jan. 2 in the Outback Bowl in Tampa.

The matchup was set Sunday, one day after Georgia lost 42-10 to No. 1 LSU in the SEC Championship game and Michigan State fell 42-39 to Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten title game.

Georgia was among three SEC teams, along with South Carolina and Arkansas, that were in the running for the Capital One, Outback and Cotton bowls.

Orlando’s Capital One Bowl, which had the next choice of SEC teams after LSU and Alabama were tabbed for the BCS national title game, selected South Carolina. The Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2 SEC) finished second to Georgia in the SEC East, but defeated the Bulldogs 45-42 in Athens on Sept. 10.

The Outback and Cotton bowls, equals in the SEC’s bowl pecking order, were next in line to make selections from the league. The Outback preferred the East team (Georgia) and the Cotton the West team (Arkansas).

The Outback, which will kick off at 1 p.m. and be televised on ABC, will be a homecoming for two of Georgia’s top players, quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles, who were teammates at Tampa’s Plant High School.

“Heading home for the Outback Bowl!” Murray said Sunday night via Twitter.

“It’s a great destination for our student-athletes and our fans –- warm weather, wonderful attractions, a first-class stadium -– and we look forward to competing against a great Michigan State team,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “Our fans have been a big part of our success this season, and I’m confident they will support the team with attendance in this bowl game.”

Michigan State is ranked ahead of Georgia in the latest polls, released Sunday. The Spartans are No. 12 in the Associated Press poll and No. 13 in the USA Today coaches’ poll, while the Bulldogs are No. 18 in both.

While Georgia won the SEC East, Michigan State won the Big Ten’s Legends division. Both teams were 7-1 in regular-season league play.

This is the 15th consecutive season that Georgia has reached a bowl. The Outback is a step up in the bowl landscape from the Bulldogs’ destinations the past two seasons, the Independence Bowl in 2009 and the Liberty Bowl last year.

Georgia and Michigan State have met twice previously in football, with Georgia winning both times.

The first meeting was in Jacksonville’s Gator Bowl at the end of the 1988 season. Georgia won that game, Vince Dooley’s last as the Bulldogs’ coach, 34-27.

The other meeting was in the Capital One Bowl at the end of the 2008 season. Georgia won 24-12 in the final college game for quarterback Matthew Stafford and tailback Knowshon Moreno. Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the second half, the last one to Moreno.

“This promises to be a great match-up,” Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis said in a statement. “The last time these two teams met … the outcome wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter, so we anticipate another competitive game.”

Georgia has played in the Outback Bowl three times previously, winning all three, while this will be Michigan State’s first trip to the Tampa game.

Michigan State seemed on the cusp of a potential game-winning touchdown in Saturday’s Big Ten title game when the Spartans returned a Wisconsin punt inside the 5-yard line with less than two minutes to play. But a running-into-the-punter penalty negated the return and gave Wisconsin a first down, ensuring its victory and a Rose Bowl berth.

Georgia coach Mark Richt and Michigan State coach Coach Mark Dantonio will discuss the Outback matchup in a joint media teleconference Monday.  In a news release from the bowl Sunday night, Richt was quoted: “… Playing a top quality opponent like Michigan State will be a challenge we’ll look forward to.”

Both teams rank in the nation’s top five in total defense. Georgia is No. 3, allowing 268.5 yards per game, and Michigan State is No. 5, giving up 272.7 yards per game.

– Tim Tucker

522 comments Add your comment

HABDAWG

December 4th, 2011
8:23 pm

Go Dawgs!!!!!!!

JDawg1785

December 4th, 2011
8:27 pm

Beat ‘em again, Dawgs!

Rod

December 4th, 2011
8:27 pm

Will be a good match-up!

Disco Stu

December 4th, 2011
8:27 pm

First?!?…. GO DAWGS!!

frank

December 4th, 2011
8:27 pm

boringgggggg

Army Strong

December 4th, 2011
8:29 pm

2nd. Great bowl, we’ll take it

KOOL

December 4th, 2011
8:29 pm

Tampa is great!!! Playing sparty again sucks… I was hoping for nebraska!!

Army Strong

December 4th, 2011
8:30 pm

You can see I’m not used to replying this early…I was about as slow as Georgia in the 2nd half. Regardless, Go Dawgs!

ARdawg

December 4th, 2011
8:31 pm

GO DAWGS!!!

Tough luck for Okie St. They’ve been violated

rhino23

December 4th, 2011
8:31 pm

Wow, tough draw…Michigan State has been solid all year with only road losses against Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Wisconsin…The Dawgs need to refocus and play smash-mouth SEC football…30 days to GATA!!!!!

OleDawg

December 4th, 2011
8:32 pm

Let’s hope Crowell doesn’t make the trip

TampaGator

December 4th, 2011
8:32 pm

Dawg fans……

Come on down to Tampa…..you are going to like it in January here…..shorts on the beach….be sure to check out the sand carving on the beach on team beach day….and the skydivers…..but the water will be a little chilly by then. But it is a long way from Sugar falling from the sky. You needed a closer score to go to Orlando, I guess.

I would say…….see you on the beach…….but I guess I will be in JAX that day.

Sambo 4 Rambo

December 4th, 2011
8:33 pm

JDawg1785

December 4th, 2011
8:34 pm

Beat them Buckeyes, TampaGator!

Soccer Dawg

December 4th, 2011
8:35 pm

Okalhoma State was jobbed!

CAC

December 4th, 2011
8:35 pm

What started as a disaster, has ended up as well at it could have. We let LSU off the ole hook by not making the plays that we had been making for 10 games. Momentum can be so dominating, yet so fleeting. Next year should be an exciting year for the Dawgs. Go SEC! Rule the College Football World.

Sambo 4 Rambo

December 4th, 2011
8:36 pm

What a buster bowl!

GASoutherner

December 4th, 2011
8:38 pm

HAHAHA UGA SUCKS!!! Southern OWNS this state and you bitches are going to lose another 2nd teir bowl game. UCF squared, Are you kidding me….losers.

Frankly

December 4th, 2011
8:39 pm

I find Frank’s post above to be boringgggggg.

We are going to mud stomp those Spartans.

pj

December 4th, 2011
8:39 pm

I’m going to make the trip! Go dawgs!

frank

December 4th, 2011
8:39 pm

Why is it when we play these big 10 bowls we always end up with the boringest schools like purdue, wisconsin, and michigan state..

We never get the penn state, ohio state, or michigan matchups.

zzzz.

BobDawg

December 4th, 2011
8:39 pm

Win this game and it sets the tone for next year . Can’t wait for Joe T to put IC thru his S & C “class” this winter

Frankly

December 4th, 2011
8:40 pm

GASoutherner ????? did some one hear a little child trying to say something here?

Ward

December 4th, 2011
8:40 pm

I am disappointed; I really wanted to play in the Cotton Bowl… But no matter what, let’s treat it like a business trip and come home a winner.

GASoutherner

December 4th, 2011
8:42 pm

21 pts against Alabama, over 300 yds of offense. We would easily beat you by 14 pts.

JB

December 4th, 2011
8:42 pm

Bobo is excited as he thinks he’ll be able to call 25-30 plays between the tackles for about 36 yards of offense to PROVE we can run without any RB’s on the roster. Oh course we will be up by 2 TD’s at the time, and why waste all those plays on just TD passes.

BobDawg

December 4th, 2011
8:44 pm

TAMPA, I noticed the papers down in Orlando are obsessing about Meyer and is staff and who he is “taking “. Good luck against ” Buckeye

Merriam-Webster

December 4th, 2011
8:44 pm

@GASoutherner – awesome education you got at that second “tier” school

TampaGator

December 4th, 2011
8:44 pm

Perfect year for a plus one……

LSU vs. Stanford and Bama vs. Oklahoma State.

Would be interesting…..much more than not having those four “play it off”…..as it should be….and I hope it is next year.

Big Enos Burdette

December 4th, 2011
8:45 pm

I still challenge anyone to get me some Coors beer from Texarkana and back in 48hrs

gotta go

December 4th, 2011
8:45 pm

Georgia Southern….you could not get in to UGA and that’s why you have the chip on your shoulder….grow up and focus on beating Furman

Dawg4Life

December 4th, 2011
8:45 pm

How is it that UGA wins the east and gets punished for playing in the championship game. Granted it was a loss, but Georgia should be playing inthe Capital One bowl. The Dawgs always get the shaft when it comes to the bowl game we deserve.

bdawg

December 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

yeah .. another bowl against another big 10 team .. again boring…

Big Enos Burdette

December 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

TampaGator just heard Herbstreits idea and copied it.

TampaGator

December 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

Ward……..

Better in Tampa in January vs. Dallas in January. If you aren’t in the national title game or in New Orleans….hard to beat Orlando or Tampa in the winter.

JB

December 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

The BCS with this Bama rematch has messed in their pants without dropping them. It’s over after this year. The “power broker system involving ESPN will end after this year. The rest of the country is getting sick of the SEC and will ask the University Presidents of some heavy hitter schools to step in and make some changes. If I’m Okie St, I’m PO’ed.

ozzfest

December 4th, 2011
8:47 pm

BEEN THERE DONE THAT.

LOOK OUT TAMPA, WE ARE ABOUT TO BUY UP AT LEAST 5, 239 TICKETS.

THERE WILL BE ABOUT 35,000 AT A HALF-FULL RAYMOND JAMES.

SAD.

TampaGator

December 4th, 2011
8:48 pm

Big Enos…..

Check hours ago……if you want……when I posted my comments about the plus one idea……..also said it last night during the game. You pick the top four….and those are the top four.

P. Bull Terrier

December 4th, 2011
8:48 pm

“Southern OWNS this state…”

Southern what???

Which state???

TampaGator

December 4th, 2011
8:49 pm

…..plus…..not his idea…..it has been talked about for a long time by a lot of people. But I am glad he agrees with me.

Big Enos Burdette

December 4th, 2011
8:49 pm

TampaGator, but can you get me my beer?

Erk Russell's Dog

December 4th, 2011
8:49 pm

What in the world is up with the damn Sugar Bowl. Meecheegan and the Hokies.THE same Hokies that got housed by Clemmons. Mark my work this is the beginning of the end for the crappy BCS.Neither team is in the top 10.What a joke.

Buttsmehre

December 4th, 2011
8:50 pm

THIS SUCKS!

The Outblecch Bowl, again, and another dull as dirt Big Ten rematch….AGAIN!!!!!

Hawaii, Michigan State, Texas A & M, Central Florida, Michigan State again…it’s the Bowl Punishment season for Georgia. McGarrity should just keep the team at home and screw the SEC right back.

Frankly

December 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

The Ga Southern person here is clearly delusional, you could not even beat Georgia Tech, much less UGA. How about getting gtu to schedule you a game, they are afraid that you could give them a real game. We beat you everytime we decide to give you a “payday” in Athens wheather we have a good team or not, I would love to have the opportunity for you to get to see a stomping of the little eaglettes this year.

redpantyman

December 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

TampaGator

December 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

Anyway…..I leave with this:

Georgia beat Florida by 4 points.
LSU beat Georgia 42 – 10
LSU beat Florida 41 – 11
Both play in bowls on January 2

Not much difference in the two teams…
See ya in JAX next year.

Big Enos Burdette

December 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

Tampa, just giving you a hard time. Tampa’s a great place and the Dawgs ought to be looking forward to your city.

Truth

December 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

Ha! Little Ga Southern talkin smack – WOW ! Never thought I would hear “We own this state”?? Who knows, Berry College talkin smack next?

david

December 4th, 2011
8:51 pm

bored!!! i remember georgia beat michigan st 2 time!! come on !

Erk Russell's Dog

December 4th, 2011
8:52 pm

Ga southerner
Ease up Eagle ,we play these boys next year. Get ready for Bear meat this week Go Eagles ! Whip those Maine Bears!