014_LibertyBowl.p1

2016 Liberty Bowl

SPECIAL THANKS BOWL HISTORY HONORS TCU GEORGIA DEFENSIVE SCOUTING REPORTS DTCU Horned Frogs uring the re-emergence of TCU football over the last decade, the Horned Frogs’ bread and butter has been winning games on offense. 14 | 58th AutoZone Liberty Bowl BOWL EVENTS WELCOME Georgia Bulldogs TY SUMMERS However, the defense will need to play a big role if they’re able to defeat Georgia. Stuffing the run should be a priority, as the Bulldogs have two talented backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Examining what went right against Texas and deploying that against Georgia might be worth a look. In a heated rivalry game, the Horned Frogs held the Longhorns to nine points and kept them out of the end zone. It will also be important to not let momentum carry TCU out of this game. Georgia does have game breakers on offense, and as evidenced in TCU’s loss to Oklahoma, where they lost a two touchdown lead, things can multiply quickly when the defense is backed up against a wall. Travin Howard and Ty Summers were tackling beasts for TCU this season, leading the team with 125 and 113 tackles, respectively. Josh Carraway led the team with eight sacks and tied for the team lead with Denzel Johnson with 11 tackles for a loss. Carraway could be vital in pressuring the young Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason. Nick Orr also became quite the terror in the secondary, picking off four passes this season. With the tools there to put up a stout defensive effort, another factor that could make or break TCU’s bowl experience is special teams. Aside from the Horned Frogs’ loss to Texas Tech, Brandon Hatfield has been solid, making 12 of 16 field goal attempts over all. KaVante Turpin missed a number of games to injury, but remains one of the best special teams returners in the nation when healthy. He ran one punt back for a touchdown and averaged more than 12 yards per punt return and over 27 yards on kickoff returns. In a game that could be wide-open, don’t be surprised if one or two big plays make the difference. With a lot of young starters returning next season, a win at the Auto- Zone Liberty Bowl could be the perfect jumpstart into a 2017 season sure to hold high expectations for the Horned Frogs. MAURICE SMITH A tough two-game stretch in late September – giving up 45 points to Ole Miss and 34 to Tennessee the following week – completely turned Georgia’s season down a road where their heart and mettle was tested. From that point on, the Bulldogs’ defense started to band together stronger, highlighted by a dominating performance on November 12 when they upset No. 8 ranked Auburn, 14-7, in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The turning point of that game? An interception returned for a touchdown by Maurice Smith. Overall, the Bulldogs limited the Tigers’ powerful attack to just 164 yards of offense. From the highs of the Auburn victory to the lows of the Tennessee defeat, Georgia’s defense, much like their offense, has been a mixed bag of emotions. Against a high flying TCU offensive attack, their limits will be tested, and the defense possibly holds the key for an AutoZone Liberty Bowl win. Leading the way will be Roquan Smith, the sophomore who in his first full year as a starter was the engine of the Bulldogs’ defense. Smith led the team with 82 tackles and forced two fumbles, showing the kind of maturity that allowed Coach Kirby Smart to bequeath to him the shot calling duties in the linebackers unit. Another talented sophomore linebacker, Natrez Patrick, has missed the last three games for Georgia, but his presence could help solidify Georgia’s rush defense. Aaron Davis and Malkom Parrish lead an aggressive secondary, which showed its ballhawking capabilities with three interceptions against Louisiana Lafayette on November 19. TCU scored 30 or more points seven times this season, with a season high of 62 points in a win over Baylor on November 5. It’s fair to say that Georgia has faced few offenses as potent as the Horned Frogs’. One possible comparison would be Ole Miss, who gave the Bulldogs fits back in September. That’s why special teams may be an under the radar key for victory. Rodrigo Blankenship could be an ace up the sleeve for Georgia. The freshman kicker made all 22 of his extra point attempts and was an impressive 13 for 16 on field goals. Isaiah McKenzie is a dangerous punt returner, with one touchdown, and Terry Godwin added a kickoff return for a touchdown as well. BY SETH BERKMAN


2016 Liberty Bowl
To see the actual publication please follow the link above