Sunday, January 1, 2012
Outback Bowl keys
By Edward Aschoff
Here are three keys for Georgia in its Outback Bowl matchup with Michigan State on Monday:
Keep Isaiah Crowell on his feet: The freshman running back has a knack for visiting the training table a little too often during games. His inability to stay in the game hurt the Bulldogs' rhythm on offense, and against a defense like Michigan State's, Crowell has to stay on the field and with his helmet on. The Spartans are allowing less than 3 yards per carry and rank fifth nationally in total defense. Besting this defense with a one-dimensional offense will be extremely tough.
Tighten up on special teams: Georgia was really bad on special teams this season. The Bulldogs allowed two kickoffs and punt returns to go for touchdowns this season, were 11th in the SEC in net punting and were eighth in kickoff coverage. Michigan State averaged 24.3 yards per kickoff return and scored two touchdowns on punt returns. Winning the field-position battle will be very important for both teams, considering the the play of each defense.
Keep two eyes on B.J. Cunningham: Michigan State's wide receiver has really had a nose for the end zone of late. He has nine touchdown catches in the past four games, including grabbing three in the Big Ten championship. He has 12 touchdowns overall and is second in the Big Ten with 1,240 receiving yards. He's also averaging 17.2 yards per catch.