Advocare v100 Independence Bowl- Georgia v Texas A&M
Truth be told, I don’t love either of these teams. Georgia finished the season 7-5 and 4-4 in the SEC. Texas A&M finds themselves just barely bowl eligible at 6-6, no thanks to an atrocious 3-5 showing in the Big 12.
For a senior replacing a star, quarterback Joe Cox wasn’t terrible for Georgia. He was no Matt Stafford, but who really expected him to be. Cox threw for over 2400 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also threw 14 interceptions, which isn’t good. His decision making got better as the year went on. Only two of those 14 picks came in the final four games of the year. Aside from the Arkansas game, in which he threw five touchdowns, Cox never blew you away with his ability to take over a game. His completion percentage hovered around 50 % the entire year.
But the statement win for Georgia may have come at exactly the right time. They beat seventh ranked Georgia Tech 30-24 in the final game of the season. In the game, Cox was basically a non factor. He threw for one touchdown and didn’t turn the ball over. What won that game for Georgia was the running attack. Both Washaun Ealey and Caleb King had over 100 yards on the ground for the Bulldogs. The two split carries all season. Ealey ran for 639 yards and 3 touchdowns. King ran for 534 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Georgia’s defense struggled terribly at time this season. They gave up nearly 27 points per game, good for tenth in the SEC. 35 points or more were surrendered by Georgia 4 times this season. Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas put up forty spots on them. The struggles were so bad that head coach Mark Richt fired his defensive coordinator and three of his assistants.
But while we’re on the subject of poor defense- lets talk about Texas A&M. They were the worst in the Big 12 in two major defensive categories- points (32.7/game) and total yards (431.3/game). Those are pretty telling stats.
Here are some more telling stats for you in regards to the Texas A&M defense. Forget Texas racking up almost 600 total yards of offense against them, Both Kansas State and Oklahoma scored over 60 points on this defense. Over 60 points! We know that, despite big losses, Oklahoma at least has some offensive talent. But Kansas State? They averaged 23 points per game. And that’s with the 62 point outburst against Texas A&M.
So if the Texas A&M defense doesn’t make a pee-wee team blink, why should Georgia even spend a day studying up on this team?
Easy answer to a perfectly legitimate question- Quarterback Jerrod Johnson. Johnson threw for over 3000 yards this season and 28 touchdowns. He also ran for 8. Running backs Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray both ran for over 750 yards and combined for 14 touchdowns.
This is a high scoring matchup, no doubt. It comes down to who’s defense you trust more. I can’t see how anyone can trust that Texas A&M squad. Georgia is hot after a huge win to end the year. Texas A&M was embarrassed defensively by interstate rival Texas in their season finale. As long as Joe Cox continues to play mistake-free football, Georgia will run the ball towards a win.
The Pick: Georgia