Baylor vs Georgia
When: 8:45 PM ET, Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL STORYLINES
- Eighth-ranked Baylor heads to the Sugar Bowl to face No. 5 Georgia on Jan. 1 in New Orleans with the hope that junior quarterback Charlie Brewer will be able to play after he left the Big 12 championship game with a possible concussion during the second quarter of the 30-23 overtime loss to fourth-ranked Oklahoma. “He’s in the (concussion) protocol,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule told reporters as the Bears returned to practice. “It’s just step by step. It’s really all up to the doctors.” Brewer passed for 2,950 yards and 20 touchdowns, and rushed for 10 scores while directing a Baylor offense that averaged 35.2 points.
- The Bulldogs are back in the Sugar Bowl for the second consecutive season and, like last season, come to New Orleans after the disappointment of losing the SEC championship game and missing the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs played poorly and never led in last season’s 28-21 loss to Texas, and will play this Sugar Bowl without starting offensive tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson, both of whom have declared for the NFL draft. “What I found out last year was that for a lot of kids, it was the most important game of their season and meant so much to them, and then maybe for some others it didn’t,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters in mid-December.
- Georgia gave up 37 points to top-ranked LSU in the SEC championship game, but the Bulldogs have played defense at an elite level most of the season, ranking second nationally in points allowed (12.5 per game) and third in rushing defense (75.7 yards). “They’re a great team, and have as good a defense as we’ve ever seen,” Rhule told reporters. Baylor also has experienced plenty of success on defense this season as it leads the Big 12 and ranks 16th nationally in scoring defense (19.3 points) while recovering 13 fumbles (tied for third nationally).
TV: 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Georgia -7
ABOUT BAYLOR (11-2): Redshirt freshman quarterback Gerry Bohanon hurt his knee against Oklahoma after relieving Brewer, but freshman Jacob Zeno completed two passes for 159 yards in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Junior running back John Lovett (637 yards) and senior JaMycal Hasty (614 yards) lead the rushing attack, while senior receiver Denzel Mims is second in the league and 13th nationally with 11 touchdown receptions. Junior defensive lineman James Lynch was named to the Walter Camp All-America team after recording a school-record 12.5 sacks on the season to give him 21 for his career, while junior safety Grayland Arnold leads the Bears with six interceptions.
ABOUT GEORGIA (11-2): Junior running back D’Andre Swift has rushed for 1,216 yards and seven touchdowns, but suffered a shoulder injury against Georgia Tech and only rushed twice for 13 yards against LSU. Junior quarterback Jake Fromm has completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 2,610 yards and 22 touchdowns, but will be without two key targets as senior Lawrence Cager and freshman Dominick Blaylock (nine combined TDs) are out with injuries. The defense is led by senior defensive back J.R. Reed, who landed on the Walter Camp All-America team, and junior linebacker Monty Rice, while senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship won the Lou Groza Award.
PREDICTION: Georgia 24, Baylor 20