When some bright young marketing thing thought it would be a good idea to photograph the face off between the Texas and Georgia mascots, little did we know that it would serve as a prediction as to how the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl would play out.
The internet world has now seen the square off between Bevo (a fully grown Texas Longhorn steer) and UGA (a significantly smaller but equally scary English bulldog) and in a remarkable similarity to the the game itself UGA turned heel on the massive steer and ran for its life.
In the game Texas dominated this clash of the College heavyweights. Despite the relatively close scoreline Texas got off to a a blistering start, whilst Georgia didn’t get off the starting blocks.
Here are a few things we learned from the Sugar Bowl
Sam Ehlinger is the real deal
It is easy to see why Ehlinger has been compared to Tim Tebow. NFL’ers will laugh at this comparison but Tebow was the most dynamic QB to play college ball since MIke Vick. And for those like me who saw him play in his prime, Tebow was as exciting as it gets.
Ehlinger has that same dynamic running style and will to win but dare I say it, Ehlinger has an arm like a rocket. So he runs like a running back but can throw the ball long and accurate. And as we know that was Timmy’s downfall in the NFL.
Ehlinger’s stats in this game? 21 carries for 64 yards and 3 touchdowns. Completed 19 of 27 passes for 169 yards and zero, yes zero TD’s. This tells you a lot about how the game was played, which was mostly on the ground
Georgia outrun by Texas?
Ehlinger’s stats above highlight the effectiveness of the Texas running game. It’s not often that Georgia’s run game is overshadowed by an opponent, however it is noticeable that in Georgia’s two defeats prior to Texas this season (LSU and Alabama), they were out run by both opponents. And that is unusual, as the Georgia game is dominated by its strong run game.
D’eandre Swift and Elijah Holyfield have been warriors for the Dawgs this season. But the running game never got going and D’Andre Swift had probably his poorest game in a red jersey, fumbling twice in the first quarter.
By contrast the Texas running game, led by Ehlinger was on fire. Tre Watson had 19 carries for 91 yards (averaging 5.1 yards per carry). The receivers had an equally productive night with Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Colin Johnson averaging 10 and 13 yards per play respectively.
Were Georgia underprepared?
Talk pre game was of Georgia practices being flat with no urgency amid a real lack of interest from some of the players. It has been confirmed by Georgia coaching staff that some players were pulled out of practices for lack of commitment and threatened with not playing in the Bowl game.
But the season going flat for the team that narrowly misses out on the 4th play off spot is not new. In fact since the 4 team play off spot has been introduced 5 of the 6, 5th placed teams have lost their respective bowl games. So the reason might be down to the disappointment of missing out on the semi final place and flatness that follows rather than a lack of preparation.
One rumour coming out of the Georgia camp, yet to be denied is that back up QB Justin Fields is expected to transfer at the end of the season. It may be that by the time you read this, that he has moved on such was the expected timing of the announcement.
Why would this be a shock? Well, last year Fields was the number one recruit coming out of high school and Georgia fought off strong competition, including Alabama to get Fields. The fact that he is not willing to sit behind Fromm tells us two things. 1. His expectation was that he would play from year one and 2. Fromm isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
Texas is back
Tom Herman’s job at Texas was huge. The Texas job, like the state, is huge. Charlie Strong will tell you how huge a job it is.
Last year we all thought Texas was back. But they weren’t. False alarm.
But this year, significant progress has been made, Runners up in the Big 12 to an extremely talented Oklahoma Sooners side and victory in the Sugar Bowl against the number 5 seed and SEC East winners, Georgia should be considered very good progress in Herman’s end of year report card.
Expectations in Texas are bigger than anywhere else, so Tom Herman will find himself under even more pressure next year. But in a good way.
Is Texas back? Hell yeah. And if you disagree? Big Bevo will tell you otherwise!
Photo credit : CBS Sports