Georgia, Nebraska each seek motivational edge in Capital One Bowl

Georgia's Aaron Murray seeks his first bowl victory as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. He's 0-2 entering Tuesday's the Capital One Bowl. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia's Aaron Murray seeks his first bowl victory as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. He's 0-2 entering Tuesday's the Capital One Bowl. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Crazy things tend to happen in bowl games and they are notoriously hard to predict. But generally if you can identify the most motivated team you will have identified the eventual winner.

Good luck trying to do that with Georgia and Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are coming off a devastating SEC Championship loss in which they literally finished five yards short of a BCS championship berth. On the same day hundreds of miles away in Indianapolis, the Cornhuskers (10-3) suffered arguably their most humiliating defeat in the history of the program. They gave up 539 yards rushing in falling to Wisconsin 70-31 in the Big Ten Conference championship.

With Georgia locked out of a BCS bowl opportunity and Nebraska embarrassed in its last game, it could be argued that neither team is very motivated to be in the land of Disney with no real stakes for which to play. Then again, the opposite could be true.

“Different things motivate different people,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “Our circumstances are different than Georgia’s. Everything’s unique to a certain football team and relative to each guy on each particular team. But I’m sure both teams will be tremendously motivated. At the end of the day, it’s competition; it’s football. Every guy should be motivated because it’s the next game, the next challenge.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt has sold his players hard on the history angle. Only two other Bulldog teams have been able to win 12 games in a season, the 1980 national champions (12-0) and Richt’s SEC Championship squad of 2002, which went 13-1 and won the Sugar Bowl.

But Richt insists historical milestones aren’t the primary motivation.

“On a personal level, there’s always a scene in the locker room after the game,” he said. “We’re all going to be in there and I’m going to talk to this team for the very last time. You want that last memory to be a good one. That’s a big motivating factor for me and I think it is for them, too.”

The Bulldogs haven’t left their last two bowl trips with a very warm feeling. They fell to Central Florida 10-6 in the 2010 Liberty Bowl and dropped a 33-30 triple-overtime decision to Michigan State a year ago at the Outback Bowl.

Georgia’s Aaron Murray was the quarterback in both those games and he’s bent on a different outcome.

“I’ve never won a bowl game so I definitely want to do that,” said Murray, a junior who’s contemplating the NFL draft. “And there are a lot of other thing like finishing (ranked) in the top five and winning 12 games. If we don’t win, it becomes just another season.”

Nebraska has the ability to trip up the Bulldogs. While the 39-point loss to Wisconsin remains in everyone’s conscious — and probably contributed to Georgia being tabbed a double-digit favorite — the Cornhuskers beat that same Badgers’ team two months earlier. They also steamrolled nine other opponents with an offense that is eighth in the nation in rushing (254.5 ypg) and averages 462 yards and 35.1 points overall.

“I reminded our guys of our South Carolina game,” Richt said, referring to the Bulldogs’ 35-7 loss to the Gamecocks on Oct. 6. “I said, ‘Hey, men, we got beat down pretty good in that one. If that was our last game, how would people visualize us?’ We don’t view ourselves as that team and I’m sure they don’t look at themselves as the team that played that last game of the year. So I think there are some similarities in our seasons.”

Georgia has some matchup issues. Nebraska features one of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks in the country in senior Taylor Martinez, who has zig-zagged his way to 973 rushing yards and 10 TDs. The Cornhuskers also have a 1,000-yard rusher in I-back Ameer Abdullah.

The Bulldogs haven’t played particularly well against mobile quarterbacks. And they enter the game with a defense than is in flux.

Starting noseguard John Jenkins was ruled academically ineligible for postseason play and defensive line coach Rodney Garner left to take a job at Auburn one day before Christmas break. Meanwhile, three juniors are contemplating early entry into the NFL draft in two-time All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, middle linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive lineman Kwame Geathers.

“When game time comes we’ll be ready to execute,” said Jones, who needs two sacks to break David Pollack’s single-season record. “If you look, we’ve had a lot of different lineups this year, a lot of different situations. But I think we’ve got a great group of guys and everybody’s honed in. We’re focused.”

In addition to Jones, nine defensive seniors who have started at least one game will be moving on after Tuesday’s bowl game. The Bulldogs say that is just another motivational factor.

“For me personally, this is the last game I’ll ever play wearing the red and black,” senior cornerback Sanders Commings said. “I definitely want to go out a winner wearing the Georgia uniform. Our underclassmen want to win for our seniors, but they feel the same way I do. I want to win the last game for Georgia and for them.”

Said Richt: “I just think that there is enough veteran guys that and this is their last moment wearing the red and black. I just can’t imagine them not playing with great game. Will they play a great game? I don’t know. But I think they’ll play with great effort.”

MORE CAPITAL ONE BOWL COVERAGE

76 comments Add your comment

NC Dawgfan

December 31st, 2012
6:43 pm

NC Dawgfan

December 31st, 2012
6:44 pm

Here is hoping Tree decides to stick around 1 more year! Go Dawgs!

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 31st, 2012
6:53 pm

Why do you need a Motivational Edge in the last game of the year and your career for many players?

Vesaversa

December 31st, 2012
7:03 pm

Ga Dawgs still had a outstanding football season . The NCAA system rob them .

Erk Russell's Dog

December 31st, 2012
7:33 pm

After watching an unmotivated USC team get outclassed by a 6-7 Ga. Tech team, I am concerned that certain Bulldogs will be distracted by their NFL status and draft position and look past the Huskers. Give a half -a$$ed performance and these farm raised men from Nebraska will push the Dawgs D all over the field.Hope CMR can keep the Dawgs focused for all 4 quarters this year ,and not repeat last years 2nd half performance.

Bama14

December 31st, 2012
7:51 pm

Maybe Clemson has figured out that you can’t go side to side against LSU. Too much quickness and speed…

sflanagan21

December 31st, 2012
8:03 pm

ERD, when your QB (Wittek) throws 3 picks then it’s hard to go out and play your tail off.

CMR won’t have to get our boys motivated, our O is going to light up their D and our D will follow suit and shut down Martinez and the Cornhuskers. 42-10 Go Dawgs

sflanagan21

December 31st, 2012
8:50 pm

^^^HAHA… Fans like you make me wanna pull for ND and there is not a team in the country that I hate more than ND!!!

dog catheter

December 31st, 2012
9:54 pm

Richt is gonna have one more loss to rationalize this year.

At least he has plenty of experience doing so…

Just Asking?

December 31st, 2012
9:54 pm

bobtail all i have to say to you is NC, No Class. Obviously you didn’t see the game i saw.

Bali

December 31st, 2012
9:56 pm

Richts watch…..seriously?? Scholar athletes? You must be a young dumb buck….or just another idiot bammer. Just like flanagan….it’s morons like you who make the rest of the sec pull for whoever’s playin you. Go Irish!!

dave

January 1st, 2013
12:27 am

scholar-athletes – Alabama, yea right Ga player transfered to AL and raised the SAT of both teams.

Rabid Dawg'84

January 1st, 2013
1:20 am

Congrats to Kiffin! USC did what Utah, West Virginia, Fresno St., LSU, Iowa, Air Force, and Utah again could not do the last 7 years – give The Institutors a bowl win.

tony

January 1st, 2013
5:29 am

This is a dangerous game for the dawgs for several reasons.
1)Neb rush offense rank 8th
2)Dawgs rush defense rank 76th
3)Minus BIG John Jenkins
4)Mental breakdown on offense
5 Mark Richt is a Cornhusker :)

Woofy One

January 1st, 2013
7:26 am

All that matters is we already smacked GA Tech. History continues

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
7:51 am

“Just a sample of things to come”…………

Can’t wait to sting the pup’s a z z next year.

setting on ready………….

JB

January 1st, 2013
7:52 am

Speaking of Tech……………USC screamed all day yesterday ” We don’t want to be here in the middle of nowhere against Tech”….. Kudos to Tech for pulling out a win, but here’s hoping the Dawgs don’t show up with the drag A$$ attitude USC had.

JB

January 1st, 2013
7:53 am

Things to come LOL….. 12 0f 13 is what’s to come

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
7:56 am

CPJ has always been called one of THE greatest minds in football.
Yesterday was just a sample of whats coming……..

THE MAN DOES NOT CARRY A PLAY SHEET ON THE SIDELINES, IT’S ALL IN HIS HEAD.

How many other coaches have you EVER seen do this ??

Can’t think of any?

I didn’t think so.

Joey

January 1st, 2013
8:00 am

Well damn, Paul Johnson #1, it’s only, “run to the left” or “run to the right.”

Seriously, I loved Tech smacking Kiffin down. Good for PJ for breaking the bowl drought.

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:01 am

attn. ‘Lil jb

Hide and watch that get flipped, starting in 2013.
You pukes come out of the gate vs. CLEMSON (a loss) , the get b-slapped by your daddy (Mr. Spurrier) on the way to a miserable season capped by Gen. Vad Lee.

I predict a 7-5 season for the under achieving pups…..

Joey

January 1st, 2013
8:02 am

JB, I believe any UGA fan has to admit that motivation is not one of Richt’s strong suits. How many times, even this season have we seen the Dawgs not show up?

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:06 am

cracks me up to see Techies crowing after winning a game. Most of the time any game…..But they defeat a unmotivated team with a freshman second string Qb making his second start and now they belong with the elite….LOL…….

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:06 am

attn. Lil joey

No, son.

It will be run and gun, left or right, won’t matter. Puppies will be on their heels, hands on hips begging ctg for a clue.
Bama boys exposed up the gut with a power runner. Gen. Lee will smack that defense.
Hide and watch.

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:09 am

Looked like lsu was motivated last night, and a lowly (not) ACC team hung one in the ol hole.

The look on Miles face was priceless.

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:10 am

And yes, Dawgs will struggle some next year. We lose the entire defense and pick up the cream of the ACC in Clemson and LSU. Yes, next year will be 8-4 or so…So. We played to the final whistle this year to go to the NC game. I know it’s not El Paso and all….LOL

Joey

January 1st, 2013
8:10 am

Well I won’t take-back my congrats to Tech. I know lots of Jacket fans who AREN’T delusional.

tony

January 1st, 2013
8:11 am

Scattered and smothered

January 1st, 2013
7:59 am

It’s even sadder that this pride depends on the performance of illiterate dummies
_____________________________________________

I know you are a racist derogatory human being but do you have any love in your heart?

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:12 am

‘unmotivated’ ?????????

Kiffen did want the win. You think he wanted to be embarresed on national tv ?

HIS A Z Z WAS KICKED, PLAIN AND SIMPLE

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:15 am

T ke it back if you want, deep down you thought TECH would lose.

We don’t want your accolades.

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:18 am

How sweet it is !!!!!!

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:21 am

Notice how they award the “Bobby Dodd” award to the #1 coach?

Says something about a program.

RedandBlackDAWG

January 1st, 2013
8:21 am

Finally, Johnson found a coach even less talented than he is. Lame Kiffin did Tenn. a favor by leaving for sure. I would say they need to rename that bowl game, “The Boring Bowl”.
I have to say if the QB of USC starts their games next year, they will be lucky to get into even that bowl. Man, they were so bad, I almost felt sorry for them.
I think it is also safe to say, to finish off and make it a trio of bad coaches, I would rate Les, right up there with them. Their defense was great most of the game, but they have a truly bad need to get an OC that can put together a game plan. Their QB also proves why UGA doesn’t hurt without him in the line up.
These two games should make any UGA fan, feel blessed with the abundance of talent they have and how hard they play. I hope they wipe out Nebraska today and send them back to the cold with a sore butt, and I hope they plant the Nebraska QB in the ground so much, he feels like he is part of the UGA defense. I really hope J.J. goes out with a bang, and shows them what a real linebacker is. If this is Murray’s last game for UGA, I would love to see him, put up 300 yards and 50 points on them. Gurley and Marshall are going to have a field day as well against them.
I am really looking forward to this game today. So far, with thew exception of the LSU-Clemson game, I have never seen so many boring games called bowl games in my life. I am glad Vanderbilt did win though, so at least they played SEC football, although against a completely out classed opponent. Now it is up to the DAWGS and the rest of the SEC, to show the college football world, how the big boys play and introduce them to the speed of good football players.

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:21 am

Clemson is a SEC like Team. Tech is pure ACC

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:24 am

The nation stood up and took notice yesterday. Proud to be a ‘GEORGIA TECH’ fan.

Great things to come. CPJ new contract extension coming, locking the man in for another 4 years.

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:25 am

I’m guessing another round of rings with the score on them for the Tech players. Good job. I guess they deserve them.

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:26 am

Take notice????? I’m thinking most changed the channel……

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:28 am

You do know Tech went like 6-7 with THAT schedule don’t you?

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:31 am

Mutts will go 0-2 vs. ACC next year. Don’t want to hear any pizzing and moaning when it happens.

Boyd and Gen. Lee will make mutts butts look silly with offensive, mind boggling stats.

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:36 am

Don’t let ‘jb’ fool you……..

His butt puckered up watching the Jackets ’sting’ a pre season #1 get smoked.

Look back and tell me we laid down against Florida State in the ACC Championship game.

From mid season on, we played some pretty damned good ball.

Joey

January 1st, 2013
8:37 am

“The nation stood up and took notice yesterday. Proud to be a ‘GEORGIA TECH’ fan.”
***********************************************
All 2500?

Looked like about 300 yesterday at the game.

Including the band.

And cheerleaders . . .

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:41 am

The mutts play a real schedule starting next year. Domination by S. Carolina, Florida and a much improved Tennessee team will rise above pups in the eastern division.
The sec ‘almost won’ champs game will be as distant a memory as 1980.

Precious memories.

Joey

January 1st, 2013
8:43 am

“From mid season on, we played some pretty damned good ball.”
*****************************************
Really?

4-3 in your last 7 games, including stinkers vs BYU and UGA.

“Pretty damned good” by who’s standard? Duke’s?

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:47 am

Lil joey

TV ratings were VERY GOOD for the game. The beginning/ending ratio was excellent. Shows how well people stayed tuned. You need to pay attention to ratings.

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:48 am

Lil joey

Did you see the ACC CG, or were you still on trash detail that day?

Is the dawgs starting lineup still in the Athens jail?

January 1st, 2013
8:50 am

What will the uga fans be whining about when the bulldwags underperform again?

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:52 am

Lucky for the pups, Kiffen left Tenn. after sexually assaulting you.

He would have kept doing it, if he had of stayed on.

Joey

January 1st, 2013
8:54 am

“The mutts play a real schedule starting next year”
****************************************
Yeah, but one cupcake is still on there at the end of the season . . .

Paul Johnson #1 Offensive Mind

January 1st, 2013
8:55 am

And how motivated were you last year in your bowl game.

Came away with a ‘Toys Are Us’ gift card, the highlight of a miserable performance.
LMAO watching that one.

Joey

January 1st, 2013
8:57 am

“Did you see the ACC CG, or were you still on trash detail that day?”
******************************************
I VOLUNTEERED for trash detail so I wouldn’t be tempted to watch it . . .