Michigan State vs. Georgia: 5 Things We Learned from the Outback Bowl

Brian JonesContributor IJanuary 2, 2012

Michigan State vs. Georgia: 5 Things We Learned from the Outback Bowl

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    Many experts thought the Outback Bowl would be one of the better games of the bowl season because the Georgia Bulldogs and the Michigan State Spartans are two evenly matched teams.

    Well, they were right, as the Spartans fought their way from 16 points down to defeat the Bulldogs 33-30 in triple overtime.

    As good as the Spartans played, the Bulldogs had their chances to put the game away and just could not do it. That will be something that they will have to live with for the next few months.

    Here are five things we learned from the Outback Bowl.

Michigan State Looked More Hungry

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    That is not to say Georgia wasn't hungry, but the Spartans looked like a team that needed to win a bowl game.

    That is probably true considering they have not won a bowl game in 10 years.

    With the win, Kirk Cousins ends his career with a bowl win. And the senior class, the group that is credited for turning this program around, goes out on a high note.

William Gholston Will Be a 2012 All-American

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    One of the reasons the Bulldogs struggled on offense is the offensive line could not block DE William Gholston.

    The sophomore from Detroit sacked Aaron Murray twice and was making the Georgia running backs go backwards all game long.

    Gholston was one of the reasons the Spartans defense was one of the best in the country. He was also one of the reasons the Spartans won Outback Bowl.

The UGA Offensive Line Has to Be Better

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    They were the biggest offensive line in all of college football as well as the NFL.

    So why did they have trouble moving opposing defensive lines all season long?

    The Bulldogs could not get anything going in the running game because the offensive line had trouble picking up the blitz packages as well as having trouble blocking Gholston and Jerel Worthy.

    This will be something the Bulldogs address during the offseason because if they want to take that next step, they have to have a good, consistent offensive line.

Mark Richt Needs to Make Better Decisions

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    Like I said at the beginning, Georgia should have won the game, but they didn't because Mark Richt made two decisions that cost them the game.

    The first is deciding to go for it on fourth-and-1 early instead of kicking a short field goal early in the first quarter.

    The other is playing conservative in the first overtime and have Blair Walsh attempt a 42-yard field goal, which he missed.

    Richt is a very good coach, but he has be smarter when it comes to making decisions in the bowl games.

Brandon Boykin Was the Best Player on the Field

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    Brandon Boykin tackled a Michigan State player in the end zone for a safety.

    He also scored on a 92-yard punt return and again on a TD pass from Murray.

    Boykin was the best player on the field and will be missed by the Bulldogs. If a few more Bulldogs stepped up to the level that Boykin was playing at, the game probably would have had a different outcome.