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    SEC Bowl Game Notebook

    2011-12 SEC BOWL NOTES


    Dec. 30 – 6:40 p.m. ET (5:40 p.m. CT) - ESPN
    Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Nashville, Tenn.
    Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest
    NOTES:  Two schools have never met on the gridiron … State is 8-20-1 all-time against the ACC … MSU’s last meeting against ACC team was a 42-31 loss to Georgia Tech in Starkville on Oct. 3, 2009 … State last played an ACC team in a bowl game in the 1999 Peach Bowl in Atlanta, defeating Clemson, 17-7 … State is 8-6 all-time in bowl games, having won its last four … State is 19th in the nation in scoring defense (19.92 ppg) and 23rd in pass defense (194.92 ypg) … DB’s Nickoe Whitley (10th) and Johnthan Banks (T11th) lead the secondary … Deacons are 30th in the nation in turnover margin (+0.42) … Junior WR Chris Givens is a deep threat, with 74 catches for 1,276 yards and nine touchdowns this season and is 10th in the country in receiving yards per game … Wake Forest lost its regular-season ending game to Vanderbilt, 41-7.

    Dec. 31 – 3:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. CT) – ABC Sports
    AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Memphis, Tenn.
    Vanderbilt vs. Cincinnati
    NOTES:  Vanderbilt holds a 2-0 lead in the series … Two schools last played on Oct. 8, 1994, a 34-24 Commodore win … Schools also played on Oct. 9, 1993, with Vandy claiming a 17-7 victory … Vandy is 19th in nation in total defense (324.58 ypg) and 27th in rushing defense (123.00) … DB Casey Hayward is tied for 11th in the nation in interceptions … RB Zac Stacy set a school single-season rushing record in 2011 with 1,136 yards … He had five games of more than 100 yards and rushed for three TDs in three different games this season … Vanderbilt is 2-1-1 in bowl games, having won its last encounter, in the Music City Bowl, defeating Boston College, 16-14 … The Bearcats are 6th in the nation in rushing defense (93.67 ypg) and 11th in turnover margin (+0.92) … P Pat O’Donnell is 17th in nation in punting, averaging 43.93 yards per punt … Earlier this year, Tennessee defeated Cincinnati in Knoxville, 45-23.

    Dec. 31 – 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. CT) – ESPN
    Chick-fil-A Bowl – Atlanta, Ga.
    Auburn vs. Virginia
    NOTES:  The Auburn-Virginia series is tied 1-1 … Auburn won the 1997 season-opener in Charlottesville, 28-17, while Virginia won the 1998 season-opener on the Plains, 19-0 … Auburn is 21-13-2 in bowl games, having won its last four, including a 22-19 win against Oregon in last season’s BCS National Championship Game … The Tigers have been to the Chick-fil-A Bowl on four other occasions, the most recent being in 2007, defeating Clemson, 23-20 in overtime … The Tigers excel in special teams, they are 19th in the nation in net punting and 14th in kickoff returns … P Steven Clark is second in the SEC in percentage of punts inside the 20 (47.06; 32 of 68) … PK Cody Parkey has put 34 kickoffs for touchbacks, which is second in the SEC … RS Tre Mason is 19th in the nation in kickoff returns … The Cavaliers are 30th in the nation in total defense (343.17) and 34th against the run (128.33).

    Jan. 2 – 1 p.m. ET (Noon CT) – ESPN
    Capital One Bowl – Orlando, Fla.
    South Carolina vs. Nebraska
    NOTES:  The schools have met three times previously with Nebraska winning all three contest … Last meeting was Oct. 3, 1987 in Lincoln, with Nebraska claiming a 30-21 win … On Oct. 4, 1986 in Columbia, the Huskers took a 27-24 win  … The only other meeting was a 28-6 NU win in Lincoln on Oct. 10, 1964 … Carolina is 4-12 all-time in bowl games and has been to bowls seven times since 2000 … Carolina is 3-9 all-time against current members of the Big Ten Conference with two wins over Ohio State (2001 & 2002 Outback Bowls) and Michigan (1980 at Michigan) … The Gamecocks are second in the nation in pass efficiency defense (92.42 rating), fourth in total defense (268.92 ypg), second in pass defense (133.00 ypg) and 13th in scoring defense (18.83 ppg) … DE Melvin Ingram is tied for 18th in the nation in sacks (0.71 per game) … QB Connor Shaw is 7-1 as a starter, completing 66 percent of his passes in his victories for 1,082 yards … Nebraska is 13th in the nation in rushing offense (223.92 ypg) and 8th in kickoff returns (25.90 ypr) … RB Rex Burkhead is 21st in the nation in rushing, averaging 105.67 yards per game … RS Ameer Abdullah is 10th in the nation in kickoff returns (29.96 ypr) and P/PK Brett Maher is 10th in the nation in punting (44.98 yards per game) and tied for 11th in field goals (1.58 per game) … Husker coach Bo Pelini was defensive coordinator at LSU from 2005-07 before taking over at Nebraska.

    Jan. 2 – 1 p.m. ET (Noon CT) – ABC Sports
    Outback Bowl – Tampa, Fla.
    Georgia vs. Michigan State
    NOTES:  Georgia will be going to its 11th straight bowl game under Mark Richt and its 15th straight overall … The ‘Dogs are 7-3 in bowls under Richt … These two teams met in the 2009 Capital One Bowl, with Georgia claiming a 24-12 win … The teams also met in the 1989 Gator Bowl, with Georgia winning, 34-27 … Those are the only two meetings in the series … Georgia is 2-1 in bowls after playing in the SEC Championship Game (2002 – def. Florida State, 26-13, in Sugar Bowl; 2003 – def. Purdue, 34-27, in Capital One Bowl; 2005 – lost to West Virginia, 35-38, in Sugar Bowl) … Georgia has not been to the Outback Bowl since 2005 when it defeated Wisconsin, 24-21 … Georgia is 3-0 all-time in the Outback Bowl … Georgia is 3rd in the nation in total defense (268.46 ypg), 4th in pass efficiency defense (98.27 rating), 7th in pass defense (165.08 ypg) and ninth in rushing defense (103.38 ypg) … DB Bacarri Rambo is tied for 3rd in the nation with seven interceptions … Sophomore QB Aaron Murray has thrown 57 career touchdown passes … The Spartans are 5th in the nation in total defense (272.69 ypg), seventh in sacks (3.08 per game) and ninth in scoring defense (17.46 ppg) … QB Kirk Cousins is 16th in the nation in pass efficiency rating (151.37) and WR B.J. Cunningham is 17th in the nation in receiving yards per game (95.38) … UGA Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham was Assistant Head Coach & Defensive Line coach at Michigan State in 1998 and was D-Line coach in 1996-97.

    Jan. 2 – 1 p.m. ET (Noon CT) – ESPN2 Gator Bowl – Jacksonville, Fla.
    Florida vs. Ohio State
    NOTES:  The Gators will be going to their 21st straight bowl game … This will be the Gators first trip to the Gator Bowl since defeating N.C. State, 27-10, in the 1992 game … Florida is 19-19 all-time in bowl games … Former Gator coach Urban Meyer recently took the head coaching position at Ohio State … The only previous match-up between these two teams was the 2007 BCS National Championship in Glendale, Ariz., where Florida defeated Ohio State, 41-14 … Gators are 9th in the nation in total defense (299.58 ypg) and 9th in pass defense (167.25 ypg) … PK Caleb Sturgis is third in the nation in field goals (1.91 per game) and is a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, for nation’s top placekicker … RB’s Chris Rainey (2,393 yards) and Jeff Demps (2,440 yards) are both over 2,000 rushing yards in their careers … Ohio State is 24th in the nation in total defense (328.58 ypg), 26th in scoring defense (20.75 ppg) and 15th in pass defense (186.17 ypg) … Five of Ohio State’s six losses were by a touchdown or less.

    Jan. 6 – 8 p.m. ET (7 p.m. CT) – FOX Sports
    AT&T Cotton Bowl – Arlington, Texas
    Arkansas vs. Kansas State
    NOTES:  The Razorbacks will be going to its 12th bowl game since joining the SEC … The Hogs are 12-23-3 all-time in bowl games … The Razorbacks have been to the Cotton Bowl 11 other times and are 3-7-1 … Kansas State leads the all-time series with Arkansas, 3-1 … The four meetings were between 1910 and 1926 … The last meeting was on Oct. 30, 1926 with KSU winning, 16-7 … Arkansas is 13th in the nation in passing offense (307.75 ypg), 15th in scoring offense (37.42 ppg) and 15th in punt returns (12.79 ypr) … QB Tyler Wilson is 21st in the nation and leads the SEC in total offense (283.4 ypg) … Wilson also leads the SEC in passing yards per game (285.2) and is 21st in the nation and fourth in the SEC in pass efficiency rating (148.7) … RS/WR Joe Adams leads the nation in punt returns, averaging 16.19 yards per return and P Dylan Breeding is 7th in punting, averaging 45.16 yards per boot … Arkansas defeated Texas A&M, 42-38, in an SEC-Big 12 game earlier this season while K-State won a four-OT thriller against A&M, 53-50  … Arkansas running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Horton was an assistant (running backs) at Kansas State in 2006 …K-State is 7th in the nation in turnover margin (+1.08), 10th in kickoff returns (25.48 ypr), 29th in rushing offense (193.67 ypg) and 30th in scoring offense (33.08 ppg) … Freshman WR Tyler Lockett leads the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 35.19 yards per return … Junior defensive back Nigel Malone has seven interceptions and is tied for third in the nation.

    Jan. 9 – 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. CT) – ESPN
    BCS National Championship Game – New Orleans, La.
    LSU vs. Alabama
    * - The game is the first intra-conference matchup for the national championship in the BCS era. 
    * - The game assures the SEC of its sixth straight national championship and 8th overall in the BCS era.
    * - LSU has won two BCS National Championships – 2004 and 2008 (both coming at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans).
    * - LSU won a 9-6 overtime thriller in Tuscaloosa earlier this season.  This will be the first rematch for a National Championship since the 1996 season when Florida State defeated Florida, 24-21, in their regular-season meeting, followed by the Gators rolling to a 52-20 win in the 1997 Sugar Bowl to earn the national title.
    * - Alabama won the BCS National Championship in 2010 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
    * - LSU is 22-19-1 all-time in bowl games, winning five of the last six (all under Les Miles).
    * - Alabama is 33-22-3 all-time in bowl games, having won four of the last six (Nick Saban is 3-1 in bowl games at Alabama).
    * - Alabama and LSU are 1-2 in the best records in the SEC since 2007.  The Crimson Tide are 49-12 (.8033) and the Tigers are 53-13 (.8030).
    * - Alabama has the most defensive shutouts in the SEC since 1992 (17) and LSU is second (16). 
    * - Alabama and LSU are 1-2 in least offensive touchdowns allowed this season (Alabama-9 / LSU-13).
    * - Since 2000, the average winning margin in the LSU-Alabama rivalry is 11.00 points per game.  Seven of the 11 games have been decided by 9-points-or-less.
    * - LSU and Alabama are 1-2 in the SEC in points per offensive drive this season.  LSU averages 2.75 points per drive (413 points/150 drives started) while Alabama averages 2.59 points per drive (373 points / 144 drives started).
    * - LSU and Alabama are also 1-2 in the SEC in drive efficiency.  LSU scores on 48.0 percent of its offensive drives while Alabama scores on 46.5 percent of its drives.  LSU scores touchdowns on 37.3 percent of its offensive drives while Alabama scores TDs on 34.0 percent of its drives.
    * - Alabama leads SEC in defensive 3-and-outs, stopping opponents without a first down 50.3 percent of the time (72 of 143).  LSU is seventh at 31.5 percent (51 of 162).
    * - LSU and Alabama are 1-2 in least amount of turnovers and least amount of opponents scoring off of its turnovers.  LSU has turned the ball over just nine times and opponents have scored just 18 points off of them.  Alabama has 12 turnovers this season and opponents have scored just 10 points off of them.
    * - LSU and Alabama are 1-2 in fourth quarter scoring margin this season.  LSU is +101 in the fourth quarter (129-28) while Alabama is +87 (105-18).
    * - Alabama leads the nation in eight defensive statistical categories, including total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense.  The last team to lead the nation in those four categories at the end of the year was Oklahoma in 1986.
    * - LSU has given up just 29 points in the first quarter all season, which is second best in the SEC (27 vs. Georgia). 
    * - KEY PLAYERS:  LSU CB Morris Claiborne and Alabama SAF Mark Barron are finalists for the Jim Thorpe and Nagurski Awards and was a semifinalist for the Bednarik … LSU CB/RS Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama LB Dont’a Hightower are finalists for the Bednarik Award … Alabama LB tandem of Courtney Upshaw and Hightower are finalists for the Lombardi and Butkus Awards … Alabama OG Barrett Jones is a finalist for the Outland … Alabama RB Trent Richardson is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award … LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis and Alabama assistant head coach/linebackers coach Sal Sunseri are finalists for the Broyles Award.