The 1-8 Kansas City Chiefs are a bad football team clingy on to any bright spot that may come their way in the season. Last night they were penalized in their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for excessive celebration on a touchdown that didn’t end up counting.
The Steelers had a third-and-seven play from their 26 during the third quarter when backup quarterback Byron Leftwich had the ball knocked out of his hand. Linebacker Justin Houston recovered the ball and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown. The real fun happened when Houston began swaying back and forth in a celebration. He was surrounded by his teammates who formed a little dance circle and joined in on the fun.
Unfortunately for the lowly Chiefs, the scoring play was reviewed and overturned because it was deemed an incomplete pass rather than a fumble. That reversal didn’t stop the referees from penalizing Kansas City 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave Pittsburgh a first down at the 41.
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the University of Georgia Bulldogs taking on the University of Central Florida Knights in the 53rd annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee.
Central Florida, 10-3, 7-1 C-USA, the Knights won their second straight Conference USA title with a victory over SMU. The Knights. Head coach George O’Leary is excited that for the next few years he will be able to have true freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey handling the offense. Godrey took over quarterback duties from Rob Calabrese mid-game in the second week against NC State and almost lead them to a huge comeback. Godfrey has a passed for 2,042 with 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while his 165.3 passer rating puts him 8th in the nation.
Godfrey is still young and there will be time for him to come into his own but for the time being the Knights punish opponetts with a ground game that racks up 192.5 ypg. Ronnie Weaver leads the team with 890 rushing yards, while Godfrey is second with 546 and the top three rushes have crossed the end zone 31 times for the the Knights.
Georgia, 6-6, 3-5 SEC, the Bulldogs are one of 11 teams competing in this seasons bowl games who posted sub .500 conference records. Head coach Mark Richt saw his first season that his team did not post at least 8 wins.
The Bulldogs are guided by redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray who has thrown for 2,851 yards and 24 touchdowns against 6 interceptions. Murray thrust into the lineup from opening weekend had to learn on the job without the schools best wide reciever A.J. Green, who was serving a four-game suspension. Green returned to lead the team in receiving, despite playing just eight games, having caught 49 passes for 771 yards and 9 touchdowns.
The offense which has been clicking of late was informed that the 5.4 ypc of running back Caleb King will be done without as he is to miss the game due to academic reasons. Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas will be called upon to shoulder the backfield duties.
The Georgia defense is led by a pair of playmaking linebackers in Justin Houston and Akeem Dent. Houston leads the team with 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss while Dent is a tackling machine that ranks second in the SEC with 122.
Georgia and UCF has met just one time prior back in 1999 with the Bulldogs winning.
PICK: University of Central Florida Knights
This game goes down on the FOX Sports network and it features the University of Georgia Bulldogs taking on Mississippi State University Bulldogs at Scott Field in Starkesville.
Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs have lost back-to-back SEC games marking the program’s first 0-2 start in the SEC since 1993. The 1-2 Bulldogs have relied on freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, 605 yards 4 touchdowns and 2 INTs, to make plays without it’s biggest play-maker A.J. Green who is serving a four-game suspension. For the Bulldogs Murray is a bright spot for the future but this year still shows signs of his inexperience especially last week when he suffered 6 sacks.
In Green’s absence senior wide recevier Kris Durham, 260 yards one touchdown, and sophomore wide receiver Tavarres King, 119 yards one touchdown, have picked up the slack. The running game is also backed with a bright spot for the future with sophmore running back Washaun Ealey, 162 yards one touchdown, but is still a little raw and is helping Georgia average 128 ypg.
Defensively the Bulldogs are limiting opponents to just 85.3 rushing ypg on the season. Junior linebacker Justin Houston is leading the defense with 4.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks on the season.
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has watched his team drop it’s first two SEC games as his team has failed to move the ball on offense. Mullen’s first problem is that he operates a two-quarterback system between freshman Tyler Russell, 356 yards 4 touchdowns 4 INTs, and junior Chris Relf, 261 yards one touchdown 3 INTs, which never works and I still question why coaches operates this way. Relf may very well add another dimension with his legs, ranking second on the team with 92 rushing yards, but won’t have the chance to succeed or fail under the two quarterback system.
The Bulldogs defense is only allowing 150.3 ypg through the air this season and counts on senior linebacker K.J. Wright to come up with big plays as he leads the team with 23 tackles.
Georgia owns the all-time series with a 16-5 advantage having last met in 2006 with a Georgia victory 27-24.
PICK: University of Georgia Bulldogs
The 34th anual AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl see the Texas A&M Aggies of the Big 12 take on the Georgia Bulldogs of the SEC at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Texas A&M is making its 31st bowl appearance, the most recent of which was a trip to the 2007 Alamo Bowl. Mike Sherman’s Aggies enter this tilt with a modest 6-6 overall record and 3-5 in conference finishing fifth in the Big 12 South Division. The Aggies are making their third appearance in the Independence Bowl and their first since 2000. The Aggies didn’t go to a bowl game last year and their last was in 2007 when they lost 24-17 to Penn St. in the Alamo Bowl.
It is somewhat surprising that Texas A&M is 6-6 considering the fact that the team averages 33 ppg and 465.3 total ypg. The Aggies have scored 52 offensive touchdowns in 12 games, and the team can move the ball equally as well on the ground and through the air. Jerrod Johnson is a standout at the quarterback position, as he has 37 total touchdowns to his credit. As a passer, Johnson has thrown for 3,217 yards and 28 scores while completing 60.8 percent of his throws. The fact that he was only intercepted 6 times in 439 pass attempts during the regular season was tremendously impressive. As a runner, Johnson added 8 touchdowns. Christine Michael has rushed for 767 yards and 9 touchdowns for A&M, and Ryan Tannehill leads a balanced receiving corps with 44 catches.
Defensively, Texas A&M is allowing 32 ppg and 431.3 total ypg. The Aggies have struggled in their efforts to stop the run, as they have permitted 26 scores on the ground and yielding 262.8 ypg through the air. A&M does a great job of pressuring opposing quarterbacks, as the club has posted 36 sacks. Von Miller is one of the best defensive players in the nation. The Texas A&M standout has posted a staggering total of 17 sacks, and has 21 tackles for loss. Trent Hunter leads the Aggies with 87 total tackles, and Jordan Pugh has recorded 3 interceptions.
As for Georgia, it made its only previous appearance in the Independence Bowl back in 1991. The program is making its 45th all-time bowl appearance, sixth most of any team in the nation, and the Bulldogs are 25-16-3 in the previous 44 showings. The Bulldogs beat Michigan St 24-12 in last years Champs Sports Bowl. This season has been a bit of a struggle, as the club’s 7-5 overall record and 4-4 SEC mark is undoubtedly disappointing. The team decided recently not to retain three defensive assistant coaches. Willie Martinez, the defensive coordination, was a member of Mark Richt’s original staff in 2001, but couldn’t get the job done in the 2009 season, so he was fired.
The Bulldogs are scoring 27 ppg to go with 361.8 total ypg and have posted 36 offensive touchdowns, only 14 of which have come on the ground. Washaun Ealey, a talented freshman, leads a balanced group of runners with 639 yards, while fellow tailback Caleb King has run for 5 touchdowns and 534 yards. The Georgia passing game features wideout A.J. Green, one of the most talented receivers in the nation as he has racked up 751 yards and 6 touchdowns on just 47 catches. Joe Cox has completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 2,426 yards and 22 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.
Georgia is giving up 26 ppg and 328.4 total ypg, explaining why the three coaches were let go. The Bulldogs have limited foes to 3.4 yards per attempt but have struggled against the pass, having permitted 23 touchdowns and an average of 12.8 yards per completion. Rennie Curran’s has made 122 tackles, 54 more than any other player on the team. Reshad Jones and Brandon Boykin have recorded three interceptions apiece, and Justin Houston has 15 tackles for loss to his credit.
Texas A&M holds a 3-1 series lead over Georgia, and the teams haven’t met since 1980.
PICK: Texas A&M University Aggies
Kentucky (6-4) has won four of its last five games to move to 6-4 overall. A closer look reveals that three of those victories have come over Vanderbilt, Eastern Kentucky and UL-Monroe, three rather weak opponents. Last weekend’s 24-13 triumph over Vandy marked just the second SEC win for Kentucky in six tries.
Georgia is 6-4 overall, but the Bulldogs have a more impressive 4-3 conference record. They have won their last two outings, including a 31-24 decision over Auburn last weekend. Of the five home games that Georgia has played this season, four have resulted in victory.
Georgia owns a 49-11-2 series advantage over Kentucky, which includes victories in 11 of the last 12 meetings.
Rick Brooks Wildcats are scoring 26.8 ppg this season to go along with 351.2 total ypg, solid numbers for a team with some dynamic offensive weapons. Randall Cobb, a versatile performer who now lines up at receiver and tailback after beginning his collegiate career as a quarterback. Cobb has 32 catches for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he has also rushed for 396 yards and 7 scores. Derrick Locke is the team’s top ground gainer, as he has rushed for 741 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Kentucky is a fairly solid defensive team that is allowing 21. ppg and 343.2 total ypg. The Wildcats have permitted 25 touchdowns to opposing offenses, 13 of which have been of the rushing variety. The fact that they are surrendering 4.6 yards per rushing attempt and 12.7 yards per pass completion suggests that there is some room for improvement in both areas. Still, it should be pointed out that Kentucky has held opposing quarterbacks below a 50 percent completion rating with more interceptions than touchdowns. Micah Johnson has registered 74 total tackles for the Wildcats, and DeQuin Evans has 10.5 tackles for losses to his credit.
Georgia is scoring 27 ppg this season, and the team is generating 344.0 total ypg. The Bulldogs have scored 30 offensive touchdowns, including 18 through the air. Joe Cox is responsible for all 18 of those scoring strikes, and he has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 2,059 yards with 12 interceptions. A.J. Green is one of the best receivers in the nation, and he has made 47 catches this season for 751 yards and six touchdowns but has an injured shoulder and isn’t expected to play. Washaun Ealey has rushed for 379 yards and 3 touchdowns on 373 carries for the freshamn this season.
Opponents are scoring 25.9 ppg while gaining 334.1 total ypg against a Georgia defense that can best be described as mediocre. Mark Richt’s Bulldogs are tough against the run, yielding just 3.4 yards per carry. Unfortunately, they have allowed 19 passing scores with only seven interceptions and are surrendering 12.3 yards per pass completion. Rennie Curran continues to lead the Bulldogs with 94 total tackles, 41 more than his closest teammate. As for Justin Houston, he has 11.5 tackles for losses to his credit.
PICK: University of Kentucky Wildcats
The Auburn Tigers invade Athens this weekend for what figures to be a competitive SEC game against the hometown Georgia Bulldogs.
Auburn took a break from SEC play last weekend to post a 63-31 decision over Furman in front of the home crowd. That victory was the second in a row for the Tigers, who are now 7-3 overall to go along with a 3-3 SEC mark. While a conference title is out of reach, Gene Chizik’s team can certainly improve its bowl prospects with a victory over the Bulldogs.
Georgia has won two of its last three games to move to 5-4 overall, including 3-3 in SEC play. Like the Tigers, the Bulldogs played an FCS squad last weekend, and the result was a 38-0 decision over Tennessee Tech. Mark Richt’s team needs one more victory to earn bowl eligibility, so there is definitely something to play for on Saturday.
Auburn holds a narrow 53-51-8 advantage over Georgia in the all-time series.
Auburn possesses one of the most underrated players in the SEC, as tailback Ben Tate continues to quietly post big numbers. Through 10 outings, he has rushed for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns while gaining 5.6 yards per carry. That level of production has certainly taken some pressure off Chris Todd, who has completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,958 yards and 17 touchdowns with only three interceptions. The top wideout on the team is Darvin Adams, who has certainly made the most of his 38 catches. Adams has 627 receiving yards and nine touchdowns to his credit, and he may see some added attention from Georgia defenders on Saturday. The offense had its way against Furman as expected last week, racking up 655 yards en route to 63 points. Todd was brilliant, completing 17-of-18 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Adams scored three times and had 115 yards on six catches, while Tate reached the end zone twice.
While Auburn is averaging 35.0 ppg and 450.3 total ypg, the club is allowing 26.6 ppg and 360.9 total ypg to the opposition. A total of 32 touchdowns have been permitted to opposing offenses through 10 games, including 20 rushing scores. Foes are gaining nearly 170 yards per outing on the ground at a clip of 4.4 yards per carry, so there is obviously room for improvement. The pass defense has been better for Auburn, which has the same number of interceptions (12) as touchdown passes allowed. Craig Stevens is an impact player for the defense who leads the way with 79 total tackles, including 7.5 TFLs. Antonio Coleman also deserves mention, as he has made 12.5 TFLs thus far, including 6.5 sacks. It is certainly somewhat concerning that Auburn allowed 31 points to Furman last week. True, all four of the Paladins’ touchdowns did come in the second half when the game was already out of reach, but even a second string SEC defense should play better against a non-FBS foe.
Georgia is averaging 27.1 ppg and 344.2 total ypg this season, and the offense can best be described as a mediocre unit with a true superstar in the fold. That superstar is wideout A.J. Green, who is expected to play this weekend despite injured ribs. Green has played in eight of the team’s games this season, starting just six, but he has made 44 catches for 732 yards and six touchdowns. Joe Cox, the team’s quarterback, has thrown for 1,886 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he has tossed 12 interceptions as well. There is not a standout back on the roster, as the Bulldogs have been unable to replace departed stud Knowshon Moreno. Last week against Tennessee Tech was one of the few games this season in which the ground attack excelled, but it is important to remember that the level of competition was low. Georgia finished with 304 rushing yards at a clip of 7.8 yards per carry, and Washaun Ealey led the way with 89 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries.
Opponents are scoring 26.1 ppg against Georgia this season, and the club is permitting 332.0 total ypg. The Bulldogs have been solid against the run, limiting foes to 3.4 yards per attempt and seven touchdowns in nine games. Unfortunately, 17 passing scores have been allowed, and the ‘Dawgs have just five interceptions to their credit. The fact that Georgia has only six total takeaways is a major reason for the modest 5-4 record. Rennie Curran leads the team with 82 total tackles, 31 more than his closest teammate. Curran and company dominated Tennessee Tech last weekend, limiting the overmatched opponent to 55 total yards, including minus-13 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Six sacks certainly helped the cause.
PICK: Auburn University Tigers
After getting shut down in a disheartening season-opening defeat, Georgia’s offense has bounced back with big performances to carry the team to wins the last two weeks. The Bulldogs may need another big outing from that unit to keep up with Arizona State.
Georgia suffered a major letdown in its opener, managing 257 yards in a 24-10 loss at Oklahoma State. Since then, coach Mark Richt’s Bulldogs (2-1) have more than worked out the kinks on the offensive side of the ball. They won a 41-37 shootout against South Carolina before piling up 530 total yards in a wild 52-41 victory at Arkansas.
Richard Samuel ran for 104 yards and a touchdown, but Georgia did most of its damage through the air against the Razorbacks. Joe Cox completed 18 of 25 passes for 375 yards and became the third Georgia quarterback to throw five touchdown passes.
The Sun Devils (2-0) have cruised to easy wins against over matched opponents in their first two games, beating Idaho State 50-3 and Louisiana-Monroe 38-14. Danny Sullivan was 19 for 31 for 220 yards and a touchdown, while Dimitri Nance ran for 82 yards and two TDs against the Warhawks. Omar Bolden had an interception and scored on an 89-yard kickoff return.
Though the early results have been good, head coach Dennis Erickson is eager to see how his squad stands up to stiffer competition. Since the start of the 2000 season, Arizona State is 3-27 against Top 25 opponents, with the losses coming by an average of 16.9 points. The Sun Devils are 0-4 all-time against the SEC.
In these teams’ first meeting last season, then-No. 3 Georgia beat Arizona State 27-10 at Tempe, out gaining the Sun Devils 461-212 overall and 176-4 on the ground.
The Bulldogs will also need to take better care of the football. They rank 116th in the nation in turnover margin with two turnovers forced and nine lost. The Sun Devils, by contrast, are first in the country, having forced eight turnovers and committed none.
PICK: University of Georgia Bulldogs
When offensive gurus Steve Spurrier and Mark Richt have squared off recently, it has been the defenses that have shined for South Carolina and Georgia.
In the past three games between the teams, the Gamecocks and Bulldogs each have just two touchdowns. Don’t expect anything different Saturday. Both coaches are trying to jump start offenses that struggled during the opener without changing things too radically.
The offenses for Georgia and South Carolina struggled in their openers, combining for 17 points. The Gamecocks (1-0) gained just 256 yards in a 7-3 win over North Carolina State, while the Bulldogs (0-1) had 257 yards in a 24-10 loss to Oklahoma State.
Georgia’s 18-0 win in 2006 is the only shutout of Spurrier since he arrived at South Carolina (the only other came at Duke in 1987). The 2007 Gamecocks are the only squad to keep a Richt-coached Bulldogs team out of the end zone.
The game has been decided by a touchdown or less six of the eight times Richt has been on the sidelines. It has often been a costly mistake that turned the tide.
With the Gamecocks, Spurrier’s gone 1-3 against Georgia, his team scoring less than 10 points a game and tallying just three offensive touchdowns in four contests. The Gamecocks head into Sanford Stadium with a running game that finished last in the SEC in 2008 and barely cracked 100 yards in the season opener.
PICK: University of Georgia Bulldogs