ORLANDO, Fla. — Georgia coach Mark Richt wants the lasting memory his team has of this season to be a positive one.
Nothing will give the sixth-ranked Bulldogs a second chance to get back the 5 yards they came up short in their SEC championship game loss to Alabama.
Still, Richt is hoping that Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl against equally redemption-minded Nebraska will be a huge initial step.
“There’s always a scene in the locker room after the game, and I’m going to be addressing seniors for the very last time,” Richt said. “You want that last memory to be a good one. That’s a big motivating factor for me and I think it probably is for anyone who’s thinking ‘Hey, this might be my last ball game.’ ”
On the other side of the field will be a Nebraska team that has been asked ad nauseam this week about how it could possibly get over its humiliating 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.
Like Georgia, Nebraska also enters the postseason with a two-game bowl losing streak. It’s why Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini hasn’t sugarcoated at all this week the reality of the disappointment his team carries with it into this game.
“No, matter what happens…you’ll never wipe that taste out of your mouth,” Pelini said. “That isn’t going away, regardless of what happens (Tuesday). To me life is about opportunities. It’s about challenges. It’s what drives me and it’s why I’m in this profession. It’s why I do what I do and why the players play.”
Their previous shortcomings aside, both teams can also achieve program milestones with a win Tuesday.
Only two previous Georgia teams have recorded 12 victories in a season, and Nebraska is trying for its first 11-win season since 2001.
“Definitely looking forward to it. It’s been kind of an up and down year, but I am just excited to play against Georgia,” Nebraska senior running back Rex Burkhead said.
Burkhead only appeared in seven games this season as he battled a left knee injury that kept him on the sidelines at different points this season.
It put the Cornhuskers primary rushing duties on junior quarterback Taylor Martinez and sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah, who led the team with 1,089 yards. Martinez had a team-high 10 rushing scores. Freshman Imani Cross also chipped in seven touchdowns.