No. 23 Georgia, Nebraska rematch in Gator Bowl

By Steve Patrick, Managing editor of digital content, spatrick@news4jax.com
Published On: Dec 08 2013 08:45:00 AM EST
Updated On: Dec 08 2013 10:35:54 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Georgia and Nebraska will face each other in the postseason for the second straight year -- this time on New Years Day in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.

The Bulldogs and Cornhuskers were paired in the Gator Bowl on Sunday, a rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl. Georgia won that meeting 45-31, getting five touchdown passes from Aaron Murray.

The Bulldogs did not the type of season they envisioned -- 8-4 on the year and several starters injured, including Murray.  The Southeastern Conference's all-time passing leader tore a ligament in his left knee Nov. 23 against Kentucky. Hutson Mason will make his second start.

"I couldn't be more excited for our team and especially our seniors with the opportunity to play in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl which has long been one of the premier games on January 1," said UGA head coach Mark Richt. "It will be an opportunity to return to the city we visit briefly each Fall, but this time it will be a completely new opportunity to spend time and enjoy the attractions of a dynamic southern city. We're also looking forward to the challenge of playing a quality opponent with the rich tradition of Nebraska. They've had an outstanding season and I'm sure will bring their best to Jacksonville."

Bulldogs receiver Michael Bennett seemed puzzled by the postseason pairing.

"Nebraska again? You kidding me?' Bennett posted on his Twitter page.

Nebraska (8-4) lost two of its final three games -- both at home -- and raised speculation about embattled coach Bo Pelini's future.

"The Gator Bowl gives our football team the opportunity to play in a New Year's Day bowl for a third straight season, and we look forward to the trip to Jacksonville," Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini said. "We have some familiarity with Georgia having played them last year in the bowl game, but these are two different football teams."

This will be Georgia's fourth appearance in the Gator Bowl as the SEC team in the matchup, and its first appearance since January 1, 1989, when the Bulldogs beat Michigan State 34-27 in Coach Vince Dooley's last game as Georgia's head coach. Georgia has a 2-0-1 overall record in the Gator Bowl.

Nebraska, the Big Ten Conference representative, will make its second appearance in the Gator Bowl Classic, where they hold a 1-0 record after defeating Clemson in the 2009 Gator Bowl.

"Nebraska and Georgia are truly among the greatest of football traditions in the nation. The Cornhuskers and Bulldogs have had exciting seasons and we are looking forward to a truly great Bowl match-up in Jacksonville on New Year's Day," said Gator Bowl Chairman Andy Pradella.

The game will be shown on ESPN, with kickoff at noon on News Years Day.

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