In the first 2014 bowl game featuring two ranked teams, the No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs (9-3, 6-2 SEC) and the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals (9-3, 5-3 ACC) are set to meet on Tuesday in the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The Bulldogs are coming off a season in which running back Todd Gurley began the season as a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, only to be suspended for four games and sit out with a knee injury. In his place, Nick Chubb has been more than serviceable, rushing for 1,281 yards and 12 touchdowns, and earning SEC Freshman of the Year honors.
Mark Richt’s squad finished with the No. 8 offensive the nation (41.7 points per game) and the No. 23 defense (21.3 points allowed per game). However, the Bulldogs suffered through some painful SEC losses, falling to South Carolina and Florida – two teams with a combined record of 13-11. Georgia’s other loss was in overtime to rival Georgia Tech in the last game of the regular season, 30-24.
Georgia’s defense is led by a pair of premier linebackers. Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson each made the All-SEC second team, as did defensive back Damian Swann. The unit has had some solid performances, shutting out two opponents and holding two others two under 10 points.
Louisville also boasts a strong defense, and will look to contain Chubb with the No. 2 rush defense in the nation (93.7 yards). Sophomore linebacker Keith Kelsey leads the team with 78 tackles.
While their defense has been their strength for most of the year, Louisville enters the Belk Bowl playing very well offensively. The teams has scored at least 30 points in their last five games, giving the, the No.43 offense in the nation (32.6 points per game).
Quarterbacks Kyle Bolin and Reggie Bonnafon are both expected to see playing time. After Will Gardner went down for the season and Bonnafon struggled in a win against Notre Dame, third-string signal caller Bolin took the majority of the snaps in the regular season finale against Kentucky. Having attempted just seven passes this season, the freshman completed 21 of his 31 attempts for 381 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
The Cardinals have won four of their last five games, with the lone blemish a loss to the No. 3 Florida State on Oct. 30. Four of their wins in 2014 have come against teams that reached bowl games.
Start Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Point Spread: Georgia favored by 7 points
Over/Under: 57.5 points
Prediction: Georgia over Louisville, 31-28
An IB Times staff reporter contributed to this report.