Tax Slayer Bowl Preview

The University of Georgia Bulldogs are set to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in a January 2nd matchup.  Kick off is set for 12pm in Jacksonville, Florida`s Everbank Field.  So how do these two teams match up?

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UGA, despite having a 9-3 record, has had a number of issues during the 2015 season.  Georgia started off strong winning its first four games.  The 52-20 win over South Carolina seemed impressive at the time, but the Gamecocks were a disappointment.  In Sanford Stadium on October 3rd Georgia was embarrassed on a national stage when they were beat handedly by the Alabama Crimson Tide 38-10.

The disappointment continued for the Dawgs when they lost star running back Nick Chubb in a seven point loss to Tennessee in Knoxville.  After a narrow win over Missouri, Georgia lost in poor fashion to the Florida Gators in the very stadium they will visit on January 2nd. Georgia finished out the season with four straight wins over Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia Southern, and Georgia Tech.

When simply looking at the record, Georgia seems like a solid team.  If they won some of the close games that they lost, they could have won the Eastern conference, which was the preseason expectation.  Due to not meeting expectations, changes have been made at the head coaching position.  Coach Mark Richt was let go after 15 seasons with the Bulldogs.  Former offensive coordinator from Alabama Kirby Smart was named the new head coach, however he will not take over until after Alabama finishes its post season run.  In the Tax Slayer Bowl, assistant head coach Bryan McClendon will be standing in as interim head coach.

The Penn State Nittany Lions reside in the Big Ten conference, so the Bulldogs do not see them much.  In fact the two programs have only met once in 1983 where the Nittany Lions won 27-23.  Lets now take a look at what the Lions have accomplished this season.

Penn State`s record was 7-5 in the 2015 season.  They lost their season opener to Temple 27-10, however they came back to win five in a row including victories over Big Ten opponents Rutgers and Indiana.  A strong Ohio State team then beat the Lions in Columbus 38-10.  Maryland and Illinois would be two Big Ten wins in a row for the Nittany Lions.  Unfortunately Penn State then lost three in a row to close out the season, all of which came to conference opponents.

The Nittany Lions` losses do not look that bad when you see that three of their opponents, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State all finished in the top 15 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

UGA will have a tough time against 14th ranked defense in the country of the Penn State Lions.  The defense is led by Carl Nassib the Big Ten defensive player of the year.  Penn State`s head coach James Franklin has led his team to their second straight bowl game in his second season.  The quarterback has been a questionable position for the Georgia offense.  Whoever is behind center will have to be thinking about the Penn State pass rush, as they are ranked 1st in sacks.

The January 2nd SEC vs Big Ten matchup will be one to watch.  As Penn State will look to show off their tough defense, UGA will try to send out a class of senior`s with 40 wins in their career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/120715aaa.html

http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/football/fbs

http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/061210aaa.html

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