|It may not have ended as Georgia hoped, but the Bulldogs still finished the 2012 season in style. (US Presswire)|
GEORGIA WON: In a game that saw four lead changes, Georgia used 22 unanswered points over the final 23 minutes to win the Capital One Bowl 45-31 against Nebraska. Although the Georgia defense once again found itself struggling to stop a power run game as Nebraska rushed for 239 yards, Georgia's offense more than made up for its defensive deficiencies.
Against a Nebraska defense that came into the game ranked first in passing yards allowed per game and second in defensive pass efficiency, Georgia's Aaron Murray threw for 427 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs to victory. None of Murray's touchdown passes was shorter than 24 yards, and they included bombs of 75, 49 and 87 yards. And although the Georgia defense did struggle against the run, it did force three turnovers, including a forced fumble and an interception during the second half to put a halt to any momentum Nebraska had.
For Nebraska, playing in his final game, Rex Burkhead rushed for 140 yards and a score and Taylor Martinez had 250 total yards and two touchdown passes, but it just wasn't enough to overcome the Georgia passing game.
WHY GEORGIA WON: Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense had their way with Nebraska's secondary. While Murray threw plenty of long touchdown passes, those weren't his only big gains through the air, as his 427 passing yards came on only 18 completions. That's an average of 23.7 yards per completion, a pretty good indication of the success Georgia was finding with the deep ball.
WHEN GEORGIA WON: Trailing 45-31 with 11 minutes left, Nebraska still had a chance to get back into this game and it looked like it would as the Cornhuskers put together a nice drive. But then Taylor Martinez was flushed out of the pocket and made an ill-advised deep throw over the middle off his back foot. The ball came down in the arms of Georgia's Damian Swann -- his second interception of the game -- at the Georgia 7-yard line. It was the nail in Nebraska's coffin.
WHAT GEORGIA WON: I don't think Georgia can be too thrilled with this win considering how close it came to beating Alabama and playing for a national title this year, but this was still an impressive win for the Bulldogs. It gave them a 12-2 record, and national championship or not, there is no such thing as a bad 12-win season.
WHAT NEBRASKA LOST: Coming off its blowout loss against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship, Nebraska was looking to get get some of its dignity back. The Cornhuskers didn't win the game, but there was nothing about this game to be ashamed of. They were in a position to knock off a team that was a few yards short of winning the SEC but just came up short in the end. Nebraska didn't play poorly like it did against Wisconsin, it just was beaten by a team that played better than it did. There's no shame in that, nor is there shame in a 10-4 season.