NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia received a morale boost when teammate David Jacobs joined the team on the sideline for the game.
Jacobs, making a strong recovery from a stroke he suffered on Nov. 14, is walking without the assistance of a cane and his speech has almost returned to normal. Friday was the first time he had been with the team for a game since suffering the stroke, which affected his right side and his speech.
Jacobs drove to Nashville on Wednesday with his girlfriend and attended practice Thursday morning.
Jacobs, a junior, had been the leader of the defensive line before he suffered the stroke after a practice session. Georgia presented Jacobs with game balls after each of its last regular-season wins and had said it wanted to give the popular teammate one more game ball from the Music City Bowl.
Jacobs is continuing his rehabilitation at Emory Rehabilitation Hospital in Atlanta. He was working with Georgia director of sports medicine Ron Courson while in Nashville.
Georgia free safety Terreal Bierria, who has been slowed by back spasms, was held out of the starting lineup. Kentrell Curry filled in with his second career start. Curry, a sophomore, also started the season opener against Arkansas State when Bierria played, but did not start.
Meanwhile, Jon Stinchcomb returned to the lineup at offensive tackle after missing the last regular-season game with a sprained knee. However, Stinchcomb had to leave the game early in the second quarter after blocking for fullback J.T. Wall on a running play. It appeared that Wall fell on the back on Stinchcomb's leg.
With Stinchcomb out, George Foster and Kareem Marshall were left at the two tackle positions.
Flags at cornerback
Cornerbacks Bruce Thornton and Brandon Williams each drew pass interference penalties in the first half. Thornton also was beaten for a 10-yard touchdown pass by Dedrick Dewalt.
Thornton and Decory Bryant were the starters as Tim Wansley was out with a broken leg he suffered in the last regular-season game.
Not Nashville's biggest hit
A poll in the Nashville Tennessean revealed that 36.3 percent of readers had no interest in the Music City Bowl. Only 20.1 percent had interest in the game, while 19.2 percent said there was interest only because the game was in Nashville. Only 15.2 percent expressed significant interest in either Boston College or Georgia.
Next year, the bowl will enter a new relationship with the Big Ten as the annual opponent for the SEC, but only 9.2 percent of the Tennessean's readers said that move will be of more interest than the current SEC-Big East matchups.
The Big East teams have not drawn well in Nashville.
A record return
Georgia opened with a trick play that turned into the longest kickoff return in the Bulldogs' bowl history.
Fred Gibson fielded the opening kickoff and handed off to Bryant on a reverse. Bryant ran 86 yards down the Boston College sideline to the Eagles' 14-yard line.
Georgia's previous longest kickoff return in a bowl game was 51 yards by Arthur Marshall in the 1991 Independence Bowl against Arkansas.
Martina McBride sings anthem
When in Nashville, whether for Vanderbilt games or the Music City Bowl, it is safe to expect a country music star to sing the national anthem. McBride performed the honors before Friday's game.
Big Army presence
The 101st Airborne unit from Fort Campbell had a strong presence at the game. Several hundred members of the unit were in uniform at the game and participated in the pregame show, unfurling a big American flag.
Georgia easily dominated the crowd. After the Georgia red, the Army green was the second most-popular color in the stands, followed by the maroon and gold of Boston College.