2008 Sugar Bowl: Kendall's Look at the Game

NEW ORLEANS - Josh Kendall's look at Georgia's 2008 Sugar Bowl matchup with Hawaii.

No. 4 Georgia (10-2) vs. No. 10 Hawaii (12-0)

Kickoff: 8:47 p.m. (FOX)

Stadium: Louisiana Superdome (72,000)

Kickoff weather: Outside: High of 54, low of 34, zero percent change of rain

Series: First meeting

Odds: Georgia favored by 7.5

Injuries: Georgia: Probable: LB Marcus Washington (ankle), LB Dannell Ellerbe, RB Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring).

Rushing

Georgia will be tempted to try to run the ball down Hawaii's throat because the Bulldogs expect their offensive line to be able to handle the Warriors' smaller defensive line and because that will keep the ball away from Hawaii's high-powered offense. But don't expect the Bulldogs to play to be too conservative. "We want to control the ball and sustain drives, but we have to score points, and preferably touchdowns," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "Controlling the ball to me does not me we have to run it every play." Tailback Knowshon Moreno has his left ankle taped but said he is 100 percent healthy. Hawaii runs the ball just 30 percent of the time but throws short passes that often serve the same purpose of getting the ball into its playmakers' hands in good positions.

Edge: Georgia

Passing

Georgia will be very tempted to throw at Warrior cornerbacks Myron Newberry and Gerard Lewis, both of whom are 5-9. Hawaii will be tempted to throw the ball on every snap, which is what they like to do against any opponent. Georgia doesn't expect to shut out quarterback Colt Brennan and the record-setting offense. The goal for the Bulldogs will be to limit yards after the catch. "They're going to get their yards," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "You don't want the 30-yarders; you don't want the 40-yarders; you don't want the 50-yarders."

Edge: Hawaii

Defense

Georgia probably will put a lot of energy into rushing Brennan without a lot to show for it because of Brennan's quick release and the number of short passes he has the option to throw. "We need to keep bringing pressure and don't get discouraged when we don't get a hit on him," defensive end Marcus Howard said. "Even if we just bump his arm to let him know we're close." Georgia's linebackers plan to be very physical with the Warriors wide receivers when they are lined up in pass coverage. "It's a physical game, and we plan on being physical," linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. The Warriors defense is much maligned but they finished second in the WAC in both scoring defense and total defense.

Edge: Georgia

Special Teams

Georgia has two possible causes for concern in its special teams. First, it will have a new snapper for punts as Bo Fowler replaces the suspended Jeff Henson. Also, there is the memory of the two botched punt returns that almost cost Georgia the game against Georgia Tech. Head coach Mark Richt isn't worried about that though, attributing the problems against the Yellow Jackets to the wind. "Unless the air conditioning is blowing real hard in the dome, we'll probably be OK holding onto that thing," he said.

Edge: Georgia


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