2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Preview
Georgia and TCU both had disappointing seasons based on preseason expectations, but square off in the 2016 AutoZone Liberty.
The Bulldogs struggled in the middle of their schedule, which resulted in them finishing at 7-5. They only lost to bowl eligible teams this season and didn’t have any terrible defeats. Their key wins came over North Carolina, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Kentucky and Auburn, showing that they are battle tested.
Jacob Eason had a solid season for a freshman who had unrealistic expectations placed on him. He threw for 2,266 yards and 14 touchdowns. Eason did throw eight interceptions, but only threw multiple interceptions in the same game once, which shows that he isn’t the one losing games for the Bulldogs.
Isaiah McKenzie has been the best of the receivers for Eason. He finished with 530 receiving yards and seven touchdowns this season. McKenzie is quick and able to beat corners with his speed and good moves.
Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have gotten most of the carries for the Bulldogs. Chubb hasn’t looked the same since coming back from injury this season and averages just 4.8 yards per carry with 988 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Michel has been much more effective with his carries averaging 5.5 yards per rush for 753 rushing yards. Both provide Georgia with good hard runners, that stay fresh because they split carries.
The Bulldogs have a good rush defense that allows 141 yards per game, but the pass defense is even better and gives up 187 yards per game.
Georgia doesn’t have too many standouts stat-wise, but play good team defense. Lorenzo Carter can create problems at times with four sacks and five tackles for loss.
TCU Horned Frogs
A lot of people expected the Horned Frogs to win the Big 12 this season, but they struggled and finished at 6-6. They were upset by Texas Tech for their only bad loss of the season. Their one win over a bowl team came over a Baylor team that lost their last six regular season games.
Kenny Hill, the Texas A&M transfer, took the starting quarterback job this season. He threw for a lot of yards (3,062), but struggled throwing 13 interceptions and only 15 touchdowns. He does add the ability to run and has picked up 537 yards on the ground. Hill can play down to his competition, as he threw three interceptions against Kansas.
Wide Receiver Taj Williams had the best season in terms of yardage with 702 receiving yards. Jaelen Austin only has 23 catches on the season, but has caught five touchdown passes, which ties Williams for the team lead.
Kyle Hicks is the TCU running back. He has rushed for 954 yards at over five yards a carry. His twelve rushing touchdowns are impressive and he should see a few opportunities to run one in the end zone this game.
The TCU rush defense is average and allows 181 yards per game. The pass defense is also average and allows 245 yards per game.
Defensive lineman Josh Carraway has 8 sacks on the season, which leads the team. Nick Orr, a defensive back, has four interceptions on the season to help in the turnover battle.
Georgia’s defense will shut down the TCU offense, while Chubb and Michel chew the clock and move the chains. Eason will show how far he has come and will help the Bulldogs get the victory.
Georgia Bulldogs 24 TCU Horned Frogs 18