Georgia was a a couple of seconds, a few yards and five points away from jumping Alabama and playing Notre Dame in the BCS championship. Instead, the Bulldogs fell a bit short and had to settle for the Capital One Bowl against Big Ten representative Nebraska.
For about three quarters, it ranked among the most exciting bowl games on New Year’s Day. But thanks to the Bulldogs’ defense and a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, No. 6 Georgia was able to pull away from No. 23 Nebraska 45-31.
Aaron Murray shook off a pair of early interceptions to finish the day with 427 yards through the air and five touchdowns. The running back combination of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall accounted for 161 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia’s defense was gashed again for 239 yards on the ground — Rex Burkhead, making his final appearance for the Cornhuskers, rushed for 140 yards and a score — and another 204 passing from Taylor Martinez. However, the Bulldogs D forced Martinez into a pair of interceptions as part of a three-turnover day.
Defense for Georgia has been shaky at times this season — curious considering the talent on that side of the ball — and run defense was especially poor the past two games, but to Todd Grantham‘s credit, the Bulldogs surrendered just seven points in the second half of today’s bowl against the ‘Huskers.
With Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo all either headed to the NFL or likely so, Georgia’s defense will be an interesting unit to watch in 2013. Murray should return along with Gurley and Marshall, but will Georgia be too reliant upon the offense next year to win games?
Likewise, Nebraska needs to go back to the start with the defense. This is supposed to be Bo Pelini’s area of expertise, yet the ‘Huskers have given up 115 points in the past two games and allowed Ohio State to rack up another 63 earlier in the season.
Whatever the reason, the big boy league of football has taken a shining to one particular position on Bret Bielema‘s Arkansas coaching staff.
On Instagram Friday night, Jemal Singleton confirmed that he will be leaving Bielema’s football program. While he didn’t specify it in his post, the running backs coach will be leaving for the same job with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
The 40-year-old Singleton had spent just one season coaching that same position with the Razorbacks.
This marks the second straight year that Bielema will be forced to replace a running backs coach to the NFL. Almost a year to the day, Joel Thomas left Fayetteville for the same position with the New Orleans Saints.
Thomas owed the university $50,000 as part of his buyout last year; Singleton will owe $100,000, per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. If Singleton had waited until Feb. 16, that buyout figure would’ve been halved.
Unlike the post right before this one, there were signs of an impending on and around National Signing Day earlier this week.
He was notably absent from a signing day event at Walton Arena on Wednesday, and he did not attend another event to discuss the signing class Thursday in Little Rock, fueling speculation he was being courted by another program.
Singleton’s job with the Colts will be the Air Force graduate’s first at the NFL level.
Surprisingly, Mike Riley has a self-made hole on his Nebraska coaching staff.
In a move that wasn’t on most if any radars, Hank Hughes will not return in 2016 as NU’s defensive line coach, Riley revealed Friday. No reason was given for the the departure of the assistant.
“I want to thank Hank for his hard work and contributions to our football program over the past year,” Riley said in a statement. “We continue to build our program with the pursuit of championships always at the forefront of everything we do, and we will look for a great coach, teacher and recruiter to enhance our defense.”
Regardless of the reason or reasons — and the fact that Riley made certain to note that a replacement would be “a great coach, teacher and recruiter” points to at least a couple — it wasn’t an expected development. From the Lincoln Journal Star:
There was no sign of such a move Thursday night, with Hughes present at the Big Red Bash that celebrated the 2016 recruiting class.
Hughes had just completed his first season with the Cornhuskers. Additionally, it was his first season as an assistant on a Riley-led coaching staff.
As the Journal Star notes, Hughes was in the midst of a two-year deal that was to pay him $300,000 annually.
If Roquan Smith is to win a starting linebacking job as some project, he’ll have to do so coming from behind.
Georgia confirmed in a press release Friday that the linebacker underwent successful surgery last month to repair a damaged wrist. As a result, Smith (pictured, No. 3) will be sideline for all of the 15 spring practice sessions that will commence next month.
The good news is that, according to UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson, “[a] full recovery is anticipated and he [is] expected to fully participate in summer workouts.” Additionally, there should be no limitations placed on Smith’s participation in summer camp that will kick off the beginning of August.
Smith was a four-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 77 recruit overall according to Rivals.com. He was one of the highest-rated players in UGA’s class.
As a true freshman, Smith played in 12 games. He was named as one of the football program’s five Newcomers of the Year following the 2015 season.
As the assistant coach shuffle continues in college football, Boston College is welcoming back a familiar face to the sidelines. Paul Pasqualoni has officially been added to the assistant coaching staff as a defensive line coach. Pasqualoni spent the 2015 football season working as a defensive line coach for the NFL’s Houston Texans. He brings plenty of coaching experience with a 43-year career in the football coaching world, including head coaching stints with Syracuse and UConn.
“It is a great thrill for me to announce the addition of Paul Pasqualoni as the defensive line coach at Boston College,” Boston College head coach Steve Addazio said in a released statement. Addazio started his coaching career as an assistant on Pasqualoni’s Western Connecticut State coaching staff. “His experience, passion for the game, high integrity and knowledge of Boston College and of New England football will be a tremendous asset to our program and to this university.”
Boston College also announced the addition of Rich Gunnell, a former Boston College wide receiver, as a wide receivers coach. Gunnell graduated from Boston College in 2009 after registering 181 receptions for 2,459 yards and 18 touchdowns and serving as a team captain during his college career. He joins BC after two years as a high school head coach in Framingham, Massachusetts.
“It is a dream come true to coach at the school that I played for, was a captain for, did my graduate assistant work at and will work with the exact position that I played,” Gunnell said. “I couldn’t be happier and I feel like I am back at home. Boston College is a small, close-knit community. This place helped mold me into the person that I am today and many of the people who were there when I was in school are still here today. I am just excited to be back around the same people.”
Addazio made a couple of other internal coaching moves with his staff as well. Tight ends coach Frank Leonard has been promoted to assistant head coach and Al Washington will move from special teams coordinator to defensive line coach.