Stanford, Michigan State highlight New Year’s Day bowls
12/31/2013 10:29 PM
12/31/2013 10:30 PM
Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl
Nebraska vs. No. 22 Georgia
11 a.m. Wednesday, Everbank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
Records: Nebraska 8-4, 5-3 Big Ten; Georgia 8-4, 5-3 SEC
Key points: In a rematch of last season’s Capitol One Bowl, in which Georgia topped Nebraska 45-31, the Bulldogs hope to salvage a season that started with national championship hopes. Instead, Georgia lost to Clemson in its first game, struggled at times in SEC play, and dealt with devastating injuries, including senior quarterback Aaron Murray, who tore his ACL against Kentucky to end his collegiate career. Nebraska also had a disappointing season, losing to Minnesota and dropping two of its final three games. The Cornhuskers have also suffered a debilitating injury to their quarterback, senior Taylor Martinez, who played in just four games and is likely out.
Tarrant ties: Nebraska sophomore defensive tackle Aaron Curry played at Keller Fossil Ridge and has 24 tackles, three for loss with two sacks, and has played in every game this season. Cornhuskers senior cornerback Ciante Evans played at Arlington Seguin, junior receiver Jamal Turner (13 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown in seven games before suffering a leg injury) went to Arlington Sam Houston, junior defensive end Donovan Vestal graduated from Arlington Bowie, and senior safety Seth Jameson played for Southlake Carroll.
Iowa vs. No. 16 LSU
Noon Wednesday, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Records: Iowa 8-4, 5-3 Big Ten; LSU 9-3, 5-3 SEC
Key points: LSU and Iowa have played only once — the 2005 Capitol One Bowl. That game is one Tigers fans would like to forget. It seemed LSU had a win wrapped up, but Iowa quarterback Drew Tate threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Warren Holloway on the final play of the game. The Hawkeyes have held opponents to an average of 18.8 points a game and will need to control the time of possession on offense. Iowa is scoring only 27.3 points a game. LSU will be without star quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who tore his ACL in the Tigers’ season finale win against Arkansas. Anthony Jennings, a true freshman, led LSU on a game-winning drive against the Razorbacks after Mettenberger left the game. Jennings, a mobile quarterback with a strong arm, will make his first career start.
Tarrant ties: Iowa running back Damon Bullock, out of Mansfield High, has run for 467 yards and a touchdown in 11 games this season.
Capital One Bowl
No. 19 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 South Carolina
Noon Wednesday, Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Records: Wisconsin 9-3, 6-2 Big Ten; 10-2, 6-2 SEC
Key points: South Carolina needed Texas A&M to upset Missouri to reach the SEC Championship Game, but the Aggies fell short and it was the Tigers who played Auburn in Atlanta. South Carolina entered the season with high expectations, anchored by Heisman hopeful defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and quarterback Connor Shaw, who has 21 touchdowns and only one interception this season. Both teams run the ball well — South Carolina’s Mike Davis has 1,134 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, and Wisconsin averages 283 rushing yards a game, led by Melvin Gordon (1,466 yard and 12 touchdowns). The Badgers had played in three straight Rose Bowls before falling out of the BCS this season.
No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 4 Michigan State
4 p.m. Wednesday, Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, Calif.
Records: Stanford 11-2, 8-2 Pac 12; Michigan State 12-1, 9-0 Big Ten
Key points: Stanford and Michigan State seemed charmed and destined for BCS appearances this season. The Cardinal, after dropping a road game at Utah for their first loss, rebounded to defeat then-championship hopeful Oregon to cap a three-game win streak against ranked opponents. Then Arizona helped out Stanford by beating the Ducks to allow the Cardinal into the Pac-12 Championship Game, which they won, 38-14, against Arizona State. Michigan State started the season not ranked in the AP poll. The Spartans didn’t crack the rankings until week 10 of the season. Michigan State’s lone loss came to Notre Dame, 17-13, in September. Since, the Spartans have won nine straight games, including a 34-24 upset of Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game.
Tarrant ties: Stanford senior cornerback Barry Browning played for Everman, and senior defensive end Josh Mauro played for Hurst L.D. Bell. Mauro played in 12 games this season and had 49 total tackles, 31 solo and 11.5 for loss, to go with four sacks, an interception and two forced fumbles. Browning played in 11 games and recorded 11 total tackles, 10 solo, and three passes defended.
— Brent Shirley
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