Monday, December 28, 2009
Georgia beats Texas A&M in Independence Bowl
By Tim Griffin
Georgia made it look easy in the second half as the Bulldogs raced to a 44-20 victory over Texas A&M in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.
Here’s a look at how the Bulldogs made it happen, giving the Southeastern Conference a victory in the first of three bowl games against the Big 12:
How the game was won: Georgia blew the game open by scoring on five of its first drives in the second half. The first four of those came on possessions of 40, 24, 35 and 28 yards as the Bulldogs took advantage of good field position after a multitude of A&M mistakes in the third quarter.
Turning point: After A&M was stopped on fourth down, trailing 17-14 early in the third quarter, a high center snap over the head of A&M punter Ryan Epperson went for a loss of 24 yards. Georgia scored three plays later on a 24-yard pass from Joe Cox to Aron White and the rout was on.
Stat of the game: A&M special teams errors directly led to 24 points for Georgia in the game. It helped the Bulldogs claim the 10th Southeastern Conference bowl victory in the last 13 games against Big 12 teams, dating to 2003.
Player of the game: Brandon Boykin set a Southeastern Conference record by bringing back an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown – his record-breaking third TD return of the season. He finished with 107 yards on two returns, but his TD return ignited the slumbering Bulldogs.
What Georgia learned: The Bulldogs’ makeshift defensive coaching staff could get players ready to play. Georgia produced interceptions on back-to-back drives for the first time this season to spark the third-quarter turnaround.
What Texas A&M learned: The Aggies’ special teams need a lot of work during the off-season. A&M dominated the game offensively, but was behind because of its frequent problems returning kicks and punting. It can’t afford to do that against good teams – from outside the conference and inside the Big 12.