Through opts and questions of motivation given the championship aspirations the Georgia program has, the Bulldogs have made it clear they’re focused on ending the season with a win over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.
“Around here we like to compete. We like to compete, go out, show what we got every week,” Georgia offensive linemen Jamaree Salyer said. “We get a chance to compete, I’m sure we’ll take it every time. Yeah, just really excited for us to be able to have the opportunity to go out and compete again against a great football team.”
The Bulldogs are 7-point favorites against the Bearcats, as the two teams are set to play at 12 p.m. in Atlanta. And Georgia will be playing in its fabled black jerseys, it was announced on Wednesday.
This is the second time this season Georgia will wear the uniforms, as the Bulldogs donned them for a 31-24 win at home over Mississippi State in November.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) December 30, 2020
Georgia last wore black jerseys in the 2008 Sugar Bowl. In that game, the Bulldogs were playing a non-traditional power in Hawaii, led by quarterback Colt Brennan. The jerseys seemed to do the trick as the Bulldogs dominated on their way to a 41-10 win in New Orleans.
The Bulldogs will be without a number of regular contributors in this game as tight end Tre’ McKitty, offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, linebacker Monty Rice and cornerback Eric Stokes have all opted out of the game and declared for the NFL draft.
The status of Richard LeCounte and James Cook are also uncertain at this point. LeCounte is still attempting to recover from injuries suffered in an October traffic accident following the win over Kentucky.
Cook’s status is a recent development following the unexpected passing of his father this week. Cook’s older brother, Dalvin, will not play for the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. Expect Georgia head coach Kirby Smart to have an update on the status of both of these players on Thursday morning.
There’s also the looming specter of any losses due to positive COVID tests, something Smart has reiterated was a concern with players spending time with their families over Christmas.
“We’ve had good information, bad information, information that changed (laughter),” Smart told reporters earlier this week. “It’s been a struggle. I can say that. That’s really all I can say about it. I’m not going to get into details. We’ve had our issues.”
Georgia will have quarterback JT Daniels though, as he’s remained in the state of Georgia since he first arrived on campus back in June. He became Georgia’s starter in the game against Mississippi State and the Bulldogs have won all three of those contests.
The Bulldogs have averaged over 40 points per game and nearly 500 yards of offense in those contests. The Bulldogs do face a tough test in the Bearcats, as Cincinnati has the No. 1 defense in the country in terms of yards per play allowed.
“I’m just focused on giving Cincinnati the best we have,” Daniels said. “It is, as Coach Monken said, a lot this week. This is the last opportunity to play with this whole team. As much as I’d love to keep going, keep playing with these guys, this is the last one. We’re going to go give it everything we have.”
The Bulldogs are one of four SEC teams playing in a New Years Six bowl game, but they’re the only one not playing a Power 5 team. Alabama takes on Notre Dame as a part of the College Football Playoff. Florida takes on Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl and Texas A&M plays North Carolina in the Orange Bowl.
Cincinnati enters the game with a 9-0 record and as champions of the American Athletic Conference, while Georgia is 7-2, with the two losses coming against Florida and Alabama. This is the fourth straight season Georgia has been a part of a New Years Six bowl game. Georgia beat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, which was part of the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs lost to Texas in the 2019 Sugar Bowl but bounced back with a win over Baylor in the 2020 Sugar Bowl.
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