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The 2010 Liberty Bowl came down to freshman Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray leading a two-minute rally against the Central Florida Knights’ top-20 defense. With 80 yards to go and needing a touchdown, Murray converted two fourth downs to reach the UCF 29. A 14-yarder to A.J. Green and a 29-yard floater to Kris Durham set the Dawgs up to take one more round of shots at the end zone.
As rain began to fall in Memphis, Murray launched it high and over Tavarres King. The clock ran out, but officials elected to add two seconds after a review. On 4th and 19, Murray’s lob was spiked to the turf by a cluster of leaping Knights defensive backs, and the Dawgs arrived at their first losing record since 1996.
UCF collects their first-ever bowl win, and George O’Leary has now won four of his last five against Georgia. What’s likely A.J. Green’s final college game will be remembered as a most fitting ending to Georgia’s 2010 season.
If you’d like to lower your residence’s heating bills, consider installing Mark Richt’s seat in your home.
For more on this game join Dawg Sports.
The strangest play just happened here in the Liberty Bowl. Central Florida Knights RB Latavius Murray took a handoff from QB Jeff Godfrey and advanced the football well into field goal territory, with Georgia Bulldogs defenders encircling him in expectation. Yet Murray continued well beyond his kicker’s minimum distance, not stopping until he’d entered the neutral area between kicking range and the goal posts.
Officials elected to award UCF two field goals for the play. They felt bad for UCF kicker Nick Cattoi, who hadn’t gotten to participate on the drive, and let him kick for a token point to give the Knights a 10-6 lead with nine minutes to go.
The scoring drive took 11 plays and went 65 yards. Godfrey came alive, completing six of his seven passes for 44 yards. The UCF offense has now pulled within 20 yards of Georgia’s on the day.
If A.J. Green has anything special in store for this Memphis crowd, now would be the time to break it out. Aaand UGA three-and-out before I even finished typing this, with the last pass grazing Green's outstretched left hand.
The Georgia Bulldogs opened the second half of the Liberty Bowl with a 12-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 41-yard Blair Walsh field goal into the wind. RB Washaun Ealey carried the ball five times on the drive for 26 yards, WR A.J. Green caught two passes for 12 yards, and Tavarres King and Bruce Figgins caught a pass each.
With 24 minutes left, the Central Florida Knights are going to need a little bit more offense than they mustered in the first if they’re going to keep up. That sounds completely ridiculous, as they’re only down by three points, but Georgia’s now outgained UCF by 90 yards.
Both teams have proven themselves capable of running the ball today, with each team now averaging a shade more than four yards per carry. That thing I said about UCF’s offense is already obsolete, as the Knights’ current drive has already reached midfield. Dare we anticipate our fourth field goal?
That update from earlier this week about the Liberty Bowl pairing the nation’s two best freshmen quarterbacks in Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray and Central Florida Knights QB Jeff Godfrey? Emphasis on the freshmen. Each has thrown a pair of picks, and we’ve still got 30 minutes to go.
Also, New Year’s resolution: stop counting on the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs to beat anybody. Luckily they won’t play anymore after New Year’s, but still. The Dawgs should be hammering UCF, based on how they’ve played against their respective schedules, but George O’Leary’s Conference USA-tested defense is apparently for real. Only 287 combined total yards has made for a game as drab as the Memphis skies. <—- Nice.
Murray hasn’t played poorly, other than those two picks. He’s outplayed Godfrey to an extent, with a better completion percentage and almost double the passing yards. Godfrey has a couple scrambles for positive yardage, while Murray ran for a first down from his own end zone early in the first quarter.
In his (let’s keep it real) final college game, Georgia WR A.J. Green is doing his part, with four catches for 43 yards and an 18-yard punt return that just wouldn’t die.
The Central Florida Knights started the game with possession at their own 11-yard line and after a couple of first downs, it looked as if the Knights were going to make a statement early in the game. But the drive stalled near midfield and forced the Knight to punt. However, Blake Clingan's punt was good enough to put the Georgia Bulldogs at their own 2-yard line.
The fans in attendance did not like the decision from Mark Richt to kick the field goal because the offense was moving the ball well. But in a game like this, Richt probably felt like taking the points is the right thing to do because going for it on fourth down and not making it could give the Knight more momentum which is not good for the Dawgs.
As far as how the quarterbacks are doing so far, Murray was prefect in the opening drive, completing all six for his passes for 55 yards. Jeff Godfrey is not having the same success, only completing one of his five passes on the Knights opening drive.
Georgia Bulldogs head coach coach Mark Richt will meet with the rest of his staff today to talk about personnel issues according to a report by Marc Weizer of the Athens Banner-Hearld. One of the things the staff will talk about is who are some of the young players that have earned some playing time in the Liberty Bowl.
Defensive line coach Rodney Garner likes the way ends Garrison Smith and Derrick Lott have been practicing this week leading up to the bowl game. Garner said both these players have improved as the year progressed and they will be major players for the defensive front in 2011.
One player that will not be a major player in 2011 for UGA is linebacker Nick Williams who will seek a transfer after the Liberty Bowl game. Williams has three tackles in eight games and has been given permission to talk to other schools about transferring.
In injury news, defensive end Demarcus Dobbs injured his forearm in the game against Georgia Tech and has been limited in practice. But he said he'll be ready to go on Friday.
Central Florida Knights head coach George O’Leary led the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets against the Georgia Bulldogs eight times from 1994 to 2001, with seven of those coming in seasons in which he was Tech’s full-time head coach. He managed a 3-5 record, though he was 3-4 in non-interim seasons and gave Tech its longest winning streak against Georgia since the ’60s. You take what you can get.
1994: Bill Lewis’ last team, which managed nary a win over a Division I opponent, isn’t really O’Leary’s fault, so leave an asterisk by that 48-10 on O’Leary’s resume <—— Haw haw haw, “O’Leary resume.”
1995: A much better effort in O’Leary’s first year as head coach, falling in a 18-17 squeaker. I’d love to tell you something more about this game, as soon as you slide me a box score or video or something.
1996: 19-10 Dawgs, clinching Tech’s last losing season before 2010 and its fifth-straight bowl-free season. Not much on this game either. Who was in charge of record-keeping during mid-90’s college football?
1997: Georgia was one of five ranked teams the Jackets faced. Tech only beat one of them (Clemson), losing to Georgia 27-24 before beating West Virginia in the Carquest Bowl. Mike Bobo led the famous game-winning drive:
1998: Tech kicker Brad Chambers booted the 21-19 game-winner after an icing attempt, sending trap ham:
1999: Tech won 51-48 in a game completely free of controversy of any sort.
2000: Tech quarterback George Godsey led the Jackets to their biggest win over Georgia since [I really don’t want to look that up], then did a little celebrating in Athens:
2001: New Georgia coach Mark Richt continued at least one of the traditions he helped develop at Florida State: pounding Georgia Tech at football. The Dawgs won 31-17, and O’Leary attempted to take the Notre Dame head coaching job before some paperwork discrepancies led him to sign on with the Minnesota Vikings.
Don’t expect spectacular weather in Memphis during the Liberty Bowl, as the Georgia Bulldogs and Central Florida Knights will likely have to contend with rain. Friday’s gametime forecasts include a 90 percent chance of rain and 20 mph winds.
The grounds at Memorial Stadium will likely be squishy even before the afternoon storms, as Memphis has a significant chance of rain all the way back until … well, right now. (Yeah, it’s raining right now.) Saturday’s supposed to be nice, though! And at least it won’t be cold, with a high of 66 and a low of 41.
Bad conditions could provide an edge for the Dawgs, as going with a straightforward rushing attack could benefit the more physically imposing team. Both teams have avoided mistakes pretty well this year, ranking among the national leaders in avoiding penalties and turnovers (it’s true, Dawg fans — UGA turnovers have just come at extremely inopportune times). So a few bobbles and slips could get one of these teams off its game early.
We know how the Georgia Bulldogs love using two running backs, as Caleb King and Washaun Ealey have been carrying the load for the last two seasons. But the Central Florida Knights have their own duo of game-changing backs in Ronnie Weaver and Latavius Murray.
Weaver really came on strong in the middle of the season which led to him leading the team in rushing with 890 yards and 11 touchdowns. His best performance came against East Carolina, rushing for 180 yards on 30 carries with two touchdowns.
In the last three games of the year, it was Murray that has been the feature back, as he has rushed for 315 yards and four touchdowns. So far this season, Murray has rushed for 533 yards on 93 carries with 10 touchdowns. That is not bad for someone who has missed three games early in the season.
And let's not forget about quarterback Jeff Godfrey who has rushed for 546 yards and nine touchdowns this year.
With those three, the Knights average 192 yards per game which ranks them 25th in all of the FBS. If the Knights want to take down the Bulldogs, those three will have to be on their game so they can keep Aaron Murray and the rest of the offense off the field.
Every bowl game has at least a player or two likely to be selected in the NFL Draft, but how about two potential 2013 top-ten picks? Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray and Central Florida Knights QB Jeff Godfrey are the first two freshman passers to rank in the top ten nationally in passer rating since Oklahoma Sooners QB Sam Bradford, who ended up winning a Heisman Trophy and being picked No. 1 by the St. Louis Rams.
But wait, there’s more! Both Liberty Bowl quarterbacks ranked in the top five in the nation in yards per attempt, both of them throwing for slightly more than Bradford did as a freshman. Both tied Heisman finalists Cam Newton and Kellen Moore with only six interceptions, good enough for 13th among all quarterbacks who threw 200 or more passes.
Godfrey completed a higher percentage of his throws, 68.4 to 61.8, and his 42 rushing yards per game topped Murray’s 14, but Murray did it against much tougher competition and without a defense that was much better than those of his opponents.
Some Godfrey highlights:
With Caleb King academically ineligible for the Liberty Bowl on Friday, the Georgia Bulldogs will look to Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas to handle the load when it comes to the running game. Two other players that could see some time at tailback are Fred Munzenmaier and Zander Ogletree. Munzenmairer has been an option in the past, but because of the injury to Shaun Chapas, he will not play the tailback spot during the game. Ogletree has been working at tailback during practice and could be the third option because they do not want to take the redshirt off of Ken Malcome.
The entire team was supposed to arrive at Memphis on Sunday morning, but because of the bad weather, some of the players flights were delayed. The team was suppose to have a meeting that day but was pushed back three and a half hours because of the snow storm that hit much, if not all, of the Eastern United States. Some of the players that had trouble getting to Memphis are Jordan Love, Akeem Hebron and Arthur Lynch. The weather on game day should not be as bad as it was this past weekend and in a later post I will talk about what the weather will be like when the Liberty Bowl kicks off.
The Georgia Bulldogs will be without RB Caleb King, CB Derek Owens, and OG A.J. Harmon for their Liberty Bowl date with the Central Florida Knights. The trio is academically ineligible according to coach Mark Richt, with King’s status due to his “missing a fifth academic appointment.”
King is Georgia’s second-leading rusher behind Washaun Ealey, with 430 yards on 80 attempts and a couple touchdowns. Owens has played in every game this season, contributing a handful of tackles here and there. I have no idea if Harmon plays or not, because offensive line stats? Hello?
The Dawgs should be fine without this trio, as they still have quite a talent advantage over UCF.
Last we heard of King’s off-field endeavors, he was getting arrested for failing to deal with a speeding ticket, and now here he is missing academic appointments, whatever those are. Someone needs to obtain a day planner for this young man.
It's game week and the Georgia Bulldogs are looking to finish their season with a winning record, which is hard to believe but it's real. According to bodog.net, Georgia is a seven-point favorite against the Central Florida Knights. That seems right, but I wanted to see what other media experts think of the game. Here's what other college football experts think of the game.
CBS Sports favors Georgia not by much, as three of the five panelist pick the Dawgs to defeat the champions of Conference USA. All the writers from USA Today feel Georgia will put a number on the Knights as all eight of them pick Georgia.
The experts from Rivals feel the same way as the experts from USA Today because all four writers pick UGA and 87 percent of the Yahoo users pick Georgia to win as well. Sports Illustrated picked Georgia to win and they even provided a score. They think the score will be 38-27 and they fell Aaron Murray and A.J. Green will have a big day.
One last prediction comes from T. Kyle King of Dawg Sports who thinks the Bulldogs will eek out a 24-23 win. King feels the Knights defense will do enough to hold Georgia's offense to under 30 points, but he thinks Georgia will find a way to win in the fourth quarter.
What do I think about the game? I feel Georgia will win, but I think they will win big. UCF does have a great defense, but the combo of Murray and Green will be too much for the Knights. Also, if Washaun Ealey gets going early, it will be game over for UCF.
Georgia has played in the Liberty Bowl three times and has won two of them. The last time Georgia played in the game was in 1987 when it defeated Arkansas 20-17. It was Vince Dooley's second-to-last bowl game, leading the Bulldogs to a 8-3 regular season record. Some of the notable Bulldogs that took part in the game were running back Lars Tate and kicker John Kasay. Tate scored a touchdown and Kasay kicked the game-winning field goal with no time on the clock.
The last time and only time Central Florida was playing in the Liberty Bowl was in 2007 when they lost to Mississippi State 10-3. Despite the loss, UCF had its best season in 2007, winning 10 games and winning their first Conference USA title.
The Georgia Bulldogs are favored by a touchdown over the Central Florida Knights in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. While they’re the general public’s pick as the SEC team with the easiest W, there’s reason to believe the Dawgs have a more overmatched opponent than any other team in the country.
Phil Steele broke down strength of schedule disparities for each 2010 bowl game, finding the Liberty ranked first. Yes, the Dawgs’ SOS was tougher than UCF’s by an even greater margin than Oklahoma’s was over UConn’s.
The Knights almost played the nation’s easiest slate, ending up 114th, while Georgia’s ranked 43rd. If they’d switched schedules, do you think they would’ve switched records, too? UCF only lost to N.C. State, Kansas State, and Southern Miss — though Georgia minus A.J. Green was capable of losing to anybody, it’s not unreasonable to say the Dawgs would’ve ended up a one-loss team or better.
As Braves & Birds shows, strength of schedule disparity is a darn reliable way of predicting bowl game winners and losers.
The Georgia Bulldogs opened as -7 favorites over the Central Florida Knights in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. The over/under started at 54, but has increased to 55. Why is a 6-6 team expected to comfortably beat a 10-3 team fielding the nation’s 12-best scoring defense? Insert a S! E ! C! chant here.
Conference USA teams have lost five straight Liberty Bowls, four of them to SEC teams. UCF coach George O’Leary is 0-1 in the Liberty, losing 10-3 to the Mississippi St. Bulldogs in 2007. The Knights are 0-2 against BCS conference teams this year, though both were close games. The Knights have a good defense, but the best quarterback they played — N.C. State’s Russell Wilson — put 28 points on them. Do you foresee the Dawgs scoring less than 28 in A.J. Green’s final college game?
And here’s a trend for you: Dawgs coach Mark Richt has won four straight bowl games, and seven of his last eight. O’Leary has lost five straight dating back to 1999.
Click for more college football odds, including every 2010 bowl game.
The 6-6 Georgia Bulldogs will play the 10-3, Conference USA-champion UCF Knights in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. Dominant in conference (losing only one game and winning all but one of their others by multiple scores) and a pair of fourth-quarter slips away from beating the N.C. State Wolfpack and Kansas St. Wildcats, the Knights might be the best Conference USA team since Bobby Petrino's Louisville Cardinals came a minute away from going undefeated in 2004.
UCF coach George O'Leary is no stranger to the Dawgs. O'Leary went 3-4 against UGA in seven full seasons as Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach, but went 0-1 against Mark Richt. He left Tech after the 2001 season to take the Notre Dame Fighting Irish job, which he had to forego after it came out that he'd made false claims on his resume.
He's been at UCF ever since, piloting the program to its first three bowls after going 0-11 in the MAC in his first year on duty.
The Knights have the nation's 58th-ranked offense and 12th-ranked defense. In classic O'Leary fashion, they're a decent running team with a mobile quarterback (freshman Jeff Godfrey) and feature a strong run defense. DE Darius Nall is 23rd in the nation with 8.5 sacks, and his bookend, Bruce Miller, is 45th with 7.
|South Dakota Coyotes||Sat 09/04||W 38 - 7|
|South Dakota Coyotes||Sat 09/04||W 38 - 7|
|N.C. State||Sat 09/11||L 21 - 28|
|@ Buffalo||Sat 09/18||W 24 - 10|
|@ Kansas St.||Sat 09/25||L 13 - 17|
|UAB||Wed 10/06||W 42 - 7|
|@ Marshall||Wed 10/13||W 35 - 14|
|Rice||Sat 10/23||W 41 - 14|
|East Carolina||Sat 10/30||W 49 - 35|
|@ Houston||Fri 11/05||W 40 - 33|
|Southern Miss.||Sat 11/13||L 21 - 31|
|@ Tulane||Sat 11/20||W 61 - 14|
|@ Memphis||Sat 11/27||W 37 - 17|
|SMU||Sat 12/04||W 17 - 7|
|Georgia||Fri 12/31||3:30 PM EST|
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