Bulldogs Begin Preparations for TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
Georgia head coach Mark Richt will lead the Bulldogs in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against Nebraska

Georgia head coach Mark Richt will lead the Bulldogs in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against Nebraska

Dec. 8, 2013

ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia football team learned its post-season fate on Sunday evening, as the announcement came that the Bulldogs accepted an invitation to play in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl against Nebraska on Wednesday, Jan. 1, at EverBank Field.

Kickoff is set for noon ET and will be televised nationally by ESPN2. The Bulldogs will be the home team in the game.

Georgia and Nebraska have faced each other twice previously, with the most recent meeting coming in last season's Capital One Bowl where Georgia claimed a 45-31 victory. The Cornhuskers defeated the Bulldogs 45-6 in the only other meeting between the two teams in the 1969 Sun Bowl Game in El Paso, Texas.

"I think it's become a good rivalry, and of course there is my background with Nebraska...I grew up a Nebraska fan and was born in Omaha," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt on Sunday evening. "We're looking forward to playing Nebraska. They're obviously a very good team, and we think we're pretty good, too. It was a great battle last year, and we'll see what happens this year."

Richt spoke highly of the Cornhuskers, noting in particular the strengths of their run game and their strong defense.

"Obviously I haven't looked at any film yet of this year, but I know their running back has close to 1600 yards rushing, and I know they throw the ball extremely well," said Richt. "Certainly it's the same type of balance as a year ago, and their defense is outstanding, as well. We know we have our work cut out for us, and I'm sure our graduate assistants are starting to break down film as we speak. We'll get as prepared as we can to battle, and I know Nebraska will do the same."

This will mark Georgia's third appearance in the Gator Bowl, and Richt anticipates strong attendance from the Georgia fans, as the group is particularly familiar with the area after the annual matchup with Florida each season at EverBank Field.

"I know the Georgia people love Jacksonville," said Richt. "There's no doubt about that. We've been playing in Jacksonville for about 80 years, so everybody I think really enjoys that and understands the area and is looking forward to spending more time there."

Georgia junior quarterback Hutson Mason will be starting under center for the second straight game and the second time of his career, as he transitioned into the starting role following the season-ending ACL injury to Aaron Murray.

"Hutson is a guy that has been with our program for quite some time now," said Richt. "He's been practicing a lot. We think that Hutson is going to be a heck of a ball player."

The 2013 season has been marked by a number of season-ending injuries to key players for the Bulldogs, including Keith Marshall, Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Murray. Starters Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Todd Gurley, and Arthur Lynch have also each missed various time throughout the season due to injury.

"It's never good when anybody gets injured," said Richt. "It's a sad time for that player and it's a sad time for his teammates to see that. It also affects your team obviously, but that's part of football and we all understand that. We're not complaining and we're not crying about it."

"We just have to find out who's next in line and make sure they know what they have to do and give them an opportunity to have their day," continued Richt. "Hutson has been preparing a long time for this opportunity, and we think he's ready to play well. We know he's going to make mistakes along the way being a first-time starter, but he's been working for this moment, as have a few other guys that have gotten a chance to play because of some injuries."

Tickets to see Georgia take on Nebraska in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl are now on sale online. Tickets are $65 and $125 and can be ordered online or by calling the UGA Athletic Association ticket office at 1-877-542-1231 between 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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