Georgia and Baylor Square Off in 2020 Sugar Bowl

NEW ORLEANS, LA – One play away, one more second, one more game. This is the story of the two teams set to matchup in the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on the night of New Year’s.

Georgia and Baylor both came up just short of making the College Football Playoff after losing their respective conference title games. The Bulldogs were overwhelmed by the offensive attack LSU Tigers in a 37-10 loss. Meanwhile, the Bears came up just short against Oklahoma in an overtime thriller.

Now the two meet face to face in one of the biggest bowl games in the history of college football, the Sugar Bowl.

“I have tried to sound very grateful because I am very grateful to be here.” says Baylor head coach Matt Rhule of being in the Sugar Bowl. “And I read one thing that kind of comes across like I’m saying, hey, we’re happy to be here. We’re not happy to be here. We’re happy to have a chance to go and compete in this game. This is the Sugar Bowl.”

It’s a chance for Baylor to cement its self back into the prominence of college football. Yes, you know the brand, and it rings true when you hear Baylor. However, the Bears haven’t won a New Years Six Bowl since Dec. 31st of 1979 when the beat Clemson 24-18 in the Peach Bowl.

Now the Bears have made their way into two of the New Years Six Bowl in the last decade. However, they lost both games. First, to UCF in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 2014, and then in the following year, it hurt even worse. They let a 41-21 4th quarter lead slip away in a 42-41 Cotton Bowl loss to Michigan State on Jan. 1, 2015.

A little over a year later, their coach was fired, and the football program, tainted by NCAA violations and misconduct. The school then hired its new leader on December 6th 2016, Matt Rhule, a well respected and proven head coach, who led Temple to their two winningest back-to-back seasons in school history.

The road was long and tested, and now from the ashes rises the Phoenix. From 1-11 just two years ago, to now in the Sugar Bowl ranked as one of the seven best teams in the country, on the cusp on the College Football Playoff.

Their opponent is no stranger to this stage. In fact, the Bulldogs are, in some minds, looing for redemption from last year’s loss in the Sugar Bowl. Turnovers were the key factor in that one for the Dawgs, with a fist half fumble and then an interception to start the second half.

“Turning the ball over last year really hurt us early and didn’t help us in that game,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “That probably ‑‑ anytime you have turnovers, it’s going to be one of the greatest indicators, that and explosive plays. We had those last year. The punt early shook us when we took a knee on the punt. It’s hard to overcome once you start losing the momentum in the turnover battle.”

This season, Georgia is even on turnovers, while their opponent, Baylor, is +14 on turnovers this season, averaging a +1.08 margin per game. Despite this, the Bulldogs do not turn over the ball frequently. In fact, ahead of the SEC Championship game, UGA had just 11 turnovers all season.

They will lean heavily on the running game, in a stable led by D’Andre Swift, who has just under 200 rushes for 1,216 of the Bulldogs 2,461 yards on the ground this season. Their rush attack ranks 37th in the country, as they average 189.3 yards per game.

Through the air, quarterback Jake Fromm leads an average, but consistent passing attack for Georgia with 2,610 yards. They rank 76th nationally, averaging 220.9 yards per game through the air. Expect Fromm to get his shots against a Baylor pass defense that is middle of the pack in the NCAA, allowing 214 passing yards per game.

Then defensively, the Dawgs are ready for battle. They allow 194 passing yards per game on average. However, this is because no one can run on them. The Dawgs defense sits 3rd in the country, allowing just 75.7 yards per game on the ground. In comparison, the Bears allow 143 yards per game, while Georgis is one of just seven teams in the country holding opponents under 100 yards per game on the ground.

This is undoubtedly one to tune in for the fireworks! Kickoff of the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl is set for 8:50 pm EST.

Written by Adrian Beecher

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