Teams & Conferences

Liberty Bowl: Georgia 31, TCU 23, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Georgia 31, TCU 23, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?


Georgia ran over TCU 31-23 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. What are the five things that matter and what’s next for 2017?


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And you’re getting Nick Chubb and Sony Michel back

You ready to for what 2017 is going to look like for Georgia? It’ll be an awful lot like this game with the ground game rolling to carry the offense, and Jacob Eason doing just enough to throw the ball to try evening things out. Chubb ran for 142 yards and a score – looking pre-injury quick and explosive at times – while Michel ran for 87 yards and a score. Eason missed here and there, but he threw two scores and no picks – while coming up with 164 yards compared to Kenny Hill’s 146, because …

Georgia’s defense picked a great time to come up with one of its best performances

TCU struggled to run effectively, Hill wasn’t able to complete anything down the field, and the offense failed to get on the board in the fourth quarter in an occasionally suffocating defensive performance. The Georgia running game was able to control the clock and the game, but the defense did its part on just enough third down stops – and a fourth down play to all but end the game – to keep the high-powered Horned Frogs down, but …

TCU did its part to blow it

This was a weird, disappointing season for the Horned Frogs, and the loss properly summed it up. The two turnovers, the lack of toughness from the defensive front, and the inconsistencies from Hill and the passing game were too much to overcome. Even with all the issues, TCU was still in the game, but it was a losing campaign with five losses in the final seven games. It was simple this year – when the offense didn’t put up big numbers, the team didn’t work. Against Georgia, the O didn’t do its part.

What’s next for TCU in 2017?

There might have been a slew of huge problems this year, but next year the Horned Frogs will at least be experienced offensively. Kenny Hill has to be better, and he’ll have the receivers to do it with all of the top receivers back. Best of all, the O line should be a rock, losing Aviante Collins at right tackle, but getting back the other four starters to pave the way for Kyle Hicks and the ground attack.

The defense that was so mediocre needs to retool up front, losing Josh Carraway and James McFarland on the ends, and Aaron Curry at one of the tackle spots. All the linebackers return, and the secondary should be a strength with four of the five starters back, only losing Denzel Johnson at strong safety.

What’s next for Georgia in 2017?

Merry Christmas, Georgia. With Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returning in the backfield, Georgia will have the best backs in the country to help out Jacob Eason continue to mature. Almost all of the receivers are back – only losing Reggie Davis – and the explosiveness will be there if the line comes together in a hurry. And that’s the problem – tackle Greg Pyke, center Brandon Kulbanow, and three of the starters are done.

The defense is getting its stars back, too – at least that’s what it seems like for the moment. All 11 starters are expected back, but Maurice Smith is done at one of the defensive back spots. That’s it. The top seven tacklers return – led by the linebacking combination of Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick – and 16 of the top 17 tacklers are back. There needs to be more of a pass rush, and the line has to do a better job of getting behind the line, but the experience will be there.