The final of the top tier bowl games that is not the National Championship game will be played on New Year’s evening at 8:45pm. The SEC East Champion No.5 Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Big 12 runner up in No.7 Baylor. We’ll take a look at the matchup here.
Georgia Bulldogs: 11-2 (7-1)
The Bulldogs were a few mistakes away from a perfect season this year and potentially a CFP bid along with it. Georgia went 11-1 in the regular season with impressive wins against Notre Dame, Florida and Auburn.
While they didn’t blow anybody out, their No.2 ranked defense stifled opposing offenses. Georgia allowed just 12.5 points per game. They allow the fourth-least total yards per game and are second in the nation in rushing yards allowed at a ridiculous 76 per game.
Georgia’s offense is nothing spectacular and pretty average but they do have several nice weapons. D’Andre Swift is chief among them. The junior running back is 4th in the SEC with 1,216 yards to go along with seven touchdowns.
Freshman George Pickens will be the go to receiver in the passing game. Georgia will be without receivers Lawrence Cager and Dominick Blaylock for the game. No doubt this will hinder an already less than stellar passing game for Georgia.
Baylor Bears: 11-2 (8-1)
Like Georgia, the Baylor Bears came within a field goal of a perfect season. They would get a rematch against the team they lost to, Oklahoma, in the Big 12 Championship game but fall short in overtime.
Similar to Georgia Baylor won several close battles throughout the season with few big blowouts. Matt Rhule’s third year in Waco has Baylor in back to back bowl games and their second Sugar Bowl appearance in program history.
Baylor boasts the best defense in the Big 12 as well a powerful, well balanced offensive attack. Third year quarterback Charlie Brewer leads the passing game with 2,950 yards to go along with 20 touchdowns. He’s a threat on the ground as well with 337 yards and a team high 10 rushing touchdowns.
Denzel Mims is his go to receiver. The senior has a team high 945 with 11 touchdowns. The rushing game is shared by the duo of Jamycal Hasty and John Lovett. The pair each have 100 or more carries to go along with over 600 yards each.
While Georgia has an outstanding defense, they are going into the bowl game with a lot of question marks at several positions. The most concerning of these is veteran defensive back J.R. Reed. Reed has started the past three seasons for Georgia and is responsible for making all the defensive calls for the secondary.
Georgia will need to rely heavily on the legs of D’Andre Swift. Baylor boasts a very capable passing defense that will have a decided advantage with two of Georgia’s top receivers out for the game. The Bulldog defense struggled against the stronger SEC defenses, averaging just 23 points per game against the trio of Kentucky, Florida and Auburn.
Georgia: 24, Baylor: 28
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