At last we’ve come to the final chapter of our journey through UGA bowl history, for New Year’s Day will soon be upon us. On the eve of the 2014 Gator Bowl between Georgia and Nebraska, let us look back on the 2013 Capital One Bowl between…Georgia and Nebraska.
After losing in their respective conference championship games, the Dawgs and the Huskers hooked up in what amounted to a consolation game. Despite the agony of missing out on BCS berths, (and in Georgia’s case a likely shot at the national championship) the two teams didn’t disappoint.
Georgia struck first, taking a 9-0 lead on a blocked punt safety and an Aaron Murray touchdown pass to Arthur Lynch. Nebraska answered with a Taylor Martinez touchdown pass followed by a pick six by Will Compton to go ahead 14-9. But the lead wouldn’t last long.
On Georgia’s next possession, Murray went deep and found Tavarres King for a 75 yard touchdown. Todd Gurley added a 24 yard scoring run and just like that, the Dawgs were up 23-14. Nebraska then scored 17 unanswered points, getting a field goal and two Rex Burkhead touchdowns (one receiving and one rushing) sandwiched around halftime.
Georgia was behind 31-23. I was watching the game in San Diego, where my wife and I had moved the previous summer, and texting furiously with a handful of friends and family back home. After the heartbreak of the SEC Championship game, I wasn’t sure I could take another blown lead. Did the Dawgs have one final comeback left?
Mercifully, they did. Murray led Georgia back down the field and connected with Chris Conley for a 49 yard touchdown, then hit Rhett McGowan for a two-point conversion to tie the game at 31. Then, as the game moved into the final period, the Dawgs put together another scoring drive, capped by a Murray to Keith Marshall touchdown pass.
Later in the fourth quarter, on third down and twelve, Murray and Conley hooked up again, this time for an 87 yard catch and run for Georgia’s final touchdown of the game. A Damian Swann interception on the next Nebraska possession all but finished off the Huskers, and Georgia went on the wrap up a 45-31 win.
It was a nice way to wrap up the year for the Dawgs, and it was definitely good to get the bad taste of the Alabama loss out of our mouths. Though the same two teams will meet again this New Year’s Day, it will be without Murray and Martinez, both out with injuries. So it won’t be just like last year, though I would’t mind if the score ends up the same.
Well, that wraps up my little walk down memory lane. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my recaps as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Here’s hoping the Dawgs add yet another bowl victory to the list in Jacksonville,and that next season, the stakes for our bowl game will be a bit higher.