Richt talks about Capital One Bowl

ATHENS - Georgia head coach Mark Richt said the 16th-ranked Bulldogs are excited and looking forward to facing 19th-ranked Michigan State in the 2009 Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando.

During a bowl teleconference Sunday, Richt said the Capital One Bowl has been one of the greatest bowl experiences Georgia has had in his eight seasons.

"First of all, we're thrilled about the opportunity to play in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando and face a great top 25 team in Michigan State. We've already had a couple of practices not knowing who we were playing and now we can practice with more of a purpose knowing it will be Michigan State."

Georgia (9-3) is the last Southeastern Conference team to win the Capital One Bowl, beating Purdue 34-27 in overtime in 2004. Since then, the Big Ten representative has won four in a row over the SEC opponent. Conference pride is always an intriguing element in bowl games, according to Richt.

"I think the players take pride in that," said Richt. "I know when we played Arizona State from the Pac-10 this year, our guys took pride in being from the SEC. I'm sure that will come up again, I'm sure Michigan State will be doing the same. It will be a big motivating factor."

Richt said he has caught some of the Spartans highlights including their outstanding running back Javon Ringer.

"I know they had a fantastic year, I vote in the coaches poll, and I have seen Javon run around and score touchdowns on the highlights," said Richt. "I'm looking forward to seeing them and what they are all about. It will be one of the storylines, to have two of the best running backs in the country in the same game."

Ringer along with Georgia sophomore Knowshon Moreno are two of the three finalists for the Doak Walker Award which goes to the nation's top running back.

"This is the last game of the 2008 season but the fact that it's Jan. 1, it's 2009, and although it's not a new season, hopefully it will spring us forward in the New Year on a positive note," said Richt.

The Georgia-Michigan State game will kickoff at 1 p.m. ET., and be televised by ABC.

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