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US News Headlines

    Oprah Winfrey was in town to praise one of her idols, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Winfrey spoke Tuesday night at a dinner gala in downtown Manhattan for the Center for Fiction, which presented Morrison a lifetime achievement award. The 87-year-old author was unable to attend, but Winfrey ensured her presence was felt, calling Morrison the country's 'conscience' and truth teller' and a 'magician with words.' Morrison is known for such novels as 'Beloved' and 'Song of Solomon,' which in 1996 Winfrey selected for her book club. The Center for Fiction, a nonprofit which supports the reading and writing of literature, also gave awards to Tommy Orange for his debut novel 'There There' and to the publisher of both Orange and Morrison, Alfred A. Knopf editor in chief Sonny Mehta.
  • Mike Daum scored 37 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, recording a double-double in the first half, and South Dakota State set multiple school records in a 139-72 win over Savannah State on Tuesday night. SDSU set a school record with 90 points in the first half and posted another record for total points. The Jackrabbits drained 23 from beyond the arc for another school record, and the third-best in Summit League history. SDSU's 139 points tonight were one shy of the league record held by former member Troy in 1995. Daum, averaging 25.2 points and 10.3 rebounds, had 26 points and 12 rebounds in the first half, and the Jackrabbits eased up in the second half after leading 90-33 at the break. South Dakota State (9-3) maintained the nation's longest active home-winning streak, taking its 26th victory at Frost Arena. Skyler Flatten posted 18 points in the first half and finished with 29 and David Jenkins totaled 28 points after scoring 20 in the first half. SDSU shot 76 percent (35-46) from the floor in the first period and finished making 53 of 87 (61 percent). Jaquan Dotson had 17 points for Savannah State (3-8).
  • Joe Maddon will be managing by the book next year, and the book is 'Managing Millennials for Dummies.' The Chicago Cubs manager will head to spring training just after his 65th birthday, a generation or two removed from his players and entering the final season of his contract. 'You always think this 'for dummies' thing is really rudimentary written — it's really well written and it's really well researched,' he said Tuesday at the winter meetings. 'I'm learning about traditionalists, baby boomers, the Xers and then millennials. I'm really starting to understand this a little bit better.' Maddon has spent more than four decades as a baseball manager, coach and scout. After brief managing stints with the California Angels in 1996 and '99, he led the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-14 and then the Cubs since 2015. In his second season, he helped Chicago to its first World Series title since 19008. 'Whether anybody here agrees or disagrees with the generation and how they process things doesn't matter, because that's the way it is,' he said. 'And if that's the way it is, just like my dad, that generation thought we were a bunch of babies, the boomers. The traditionalists thought they're all soft. And then you think the Xers are soft. The Xers think the millennials are soft. It doesn't matter. You have to figure out how to communicate and extract the best out of this group and make sure that you're always on the same page.' In addition to the 'Managing Millennials' book by Hannah L. Ubl, Lisa X. Walden and Debra Arbit, Maddon has been studying 'Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy,' written by Siva Vaidhyanathan. 'You have to make your adjustments. And that's what I'm working on right now is to understand better how I could better serve these guys,' Maddon said. Maddon claimed he doesn't mind Cubs president Theo Epstein has not given him a new deal. 'Theo and I have had some really good conversations. I totally understand where he's coming from. I am not offended,' Maddon said. 'If you have a lot of self-confidence, things like that should do not bother you — and I do. I'm going to do my job like you've always seen me do my job. I might alter it a little bit regarding getting out on the field a little bit more often. What we've done over the last four years I feel pretty good about, feel strongly about. Let's just win the World Series and see how that all plays out.' Maddon hopes to remain as Cubs manager beyond 2019. 'The concept that Theo and I have any kind of a disengagement or a lack of philosophical sameness is untrue,' he said. 'We have great conversations. And we're definitely almost a 100 percent on the same page all the time.' ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The winning numbers in Tuesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'All or Nothing Night' game were: 03-04-07-08-09-17-18-20-21-22-23-24 (three, four, seven, eight, nine, seventeen, eighteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four)
  • Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with tampering with the final audit report into a defunct state investment fund, adding to a long list of corruption allegations against him since his ouster in May elections. Najib was charged along with Arul Kanda Kandasamy, the former head of the 1MDB fund, which is being investigated in the U.S. and other countries for alleged cross-border embezzlement and money laundering. Najib pleaded not guilty Wednesday to abusing power to order the modification of the report in February 2016 before it was presented to the Public Accounts Committee, in order to protect himself from disciplinary and legal action. Kandasamy also pleaded not guilty to abetting Najib. The auditor-general said last month some details had been removed from the 1MDB report.
  • A metro Atlanta woman is accused of stabbing another woman to death at a Rockdale County motel and firing at officers during a chase.  It happened at a Motel 6 in Conyers. Joyce Marie Lewis-Pelzer, 42, is currently in a south Georgia hospital after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said deputies were forced to open fire as the woman tried to escape to Florida.  Channel 2's Matt Johnson is uncovering the suspect's lengthy criminal history and her connection to another murder, for the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: Police ID woman run over, killed at gas station; search for driver underway Michelle Obama extends national book tour, adds stop in Atlanta Officer shot in bulletproof vest during traffic stop, suspect killed
  • Half a loaf is better than none for New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway when it comes to Robinson Cano. New York's new second baseman has been criticized at times for not running hard to first base when he hits infield grounders. Callaway says the 36-year-old is just protecting his body in a way that makes sense. 'I think Robbie deserves the leeway on that,' Callaway said Tuesday at the winter meetings. 'And the reason is not because he got out, he's frustrated, that's not the reason he does that. He does it so he can play 155 games, which he's done every year. He's smart. He knows the game. You're not going to see him hit a ball and loaf when there's a chance for it to be a hit. He understands when that ball leaves that fielder's hand, destiny is going to happen. And so he knows how to do that part of it.' Cano will hit third in the lineup, Callaway said. An eight-time All-Star, Cano was obtained from the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 3 along with relief pitcher Edwin Diaz for outfielder Jay Bruce, right-hander Anthony Swarzak and a trio of prospects: right-handers Gerson Bautista and Justin Dunn along with outfielder Jarred Kelenic. Cano is an eight-time All-Star. Callaway doesn't want 23-year-old shortstop Amed Rosario to think he has similar leeway. 'Rosario is going to understand that's Robinson Cano doing that, and he probably can't do the same thing that Robbie can do, because he doesn't have that experience and probably doesn't quite understand the things that Robbie does when he's doing it,' Callaway said. 'I'm definitely at peace with it, I don't think it's going to be an issue, and I think he deserves the right to do that, so he can keep himself healthy.' Cano played in 150 or more games in 11 straight seasons before this year, when his right hand was broken May 13 when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Detroit's Blaine Hardy. Two days later, Cano was suspended for 80 games following a positive test for Furosemide, a diuretic he claimed was given to him by a licensed doctor in the Dominican Republic. Cano returned to the Mariners Aug. 14 and finished with a ,303 batting average, 10 homers and 50 RBIs in 80 games. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn asked a judged to spare him prison time in a memo filed Tuesday. >> Read more trending news  In the filing, Flynn’s lawyers recommended for a sentence 'a term of probation not to exceed one year, with minimal conditions of supervision, along with 200 hours of community service, CNN reported. His attorneys said in the memo that “General Flynn accepted responsibility for his conduct and that his cooperation “was not grudging or delayed.” >> Related: Guilty: Michael Flynn admits in court to lying about Russian communication “Rather, it preceded his guilty plea or any threatened indictment and began very shortly after he was first contacted for assistance by the Special Counsel's Office.” Flynn is scheduled for sentencing next Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, recommended no jail time for Flynn in a filing last week. Original story: Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn are expected to make a sentencing recommendation Tuesday in a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Prosecutors with Mueller’s team said last week in court filings that Flynn has been cooperative since he pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to the FBI. In light of his assistance, prosecutors asked that Flynn receive little to no jail time for his crime, an argument Flynn’s attorneys are expected to echo, according to The Associated Press. >> Mueller investigation: Report recommends little to no jail time for Michael Flynn Flynn resigned from his post in the Trump administration in February 2017 after serving just 24 days in office. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials and agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s team.  Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced next week by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, according to court records.
  • Lawyers for Greg Kelly, the American executive arrested last month with Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn on suspicion of underreporting Ghosn's pay, protested his prolonged stay in Japanese detention Wednesday. The Tokyo District Court confirmed it received the protest. Lawyers often file such protests in Japan, where suspects get detained for weeks, sometimes months, before they face trial. Such protests tend to be routinely rejected. A similar protest filed by Ghosn's lawyers was rejected Tuesday. A Tokyo court has decided to detain Ghosn and Kelly through Dec. 20, although it could be longer. Ghosn, Kelly and Nissan Motor Co. as a legal entity were charged Monday with violating financial laws by underreporting Ghosn's pay by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) in 2011-2015. Prosecutors are also questioning Kelly and Ghosn about additional allegations prosecutors issued Monday that Ghosn's compensation was underreported by another 4 billion yen ($36 million) in 2016-2018. Ghosn's lawyers have not issued a statement. Aubrey Harwell, the U.S. lawyer for Kelly, has said his client is innocent, and that Nissan insiders and outside experts had advised him the financial reporting was proper. The maximum penalty for violating Japan's financial laws is 10 years in prison, a 10 million yen ($89,000) fine, or both. The conviction rate in Japan is more than 99 percent. Ghosn, a Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese ancestry, was sent in by Nissan's alliance partner Renault SA of France in 1999, when Nissan Motor Co. was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. For two decades, Ghosn led the Japanese automaker's rise. The alliance, which now includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp., is now among the biggest in global sales. Ghosn's downfall is being seen by some as a move by others at Nissan to gain power in the alliance. No trial date or bail has been set yet. Prosecutors say Ghosn and Kelly are flight risks. When Ghosn and Kelly may get out of the Tokyo Detention Center remains unclear. ___ Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en
  • AJ Brodeur and Antonio Woods each scored 16 points as Penn beat No. 17 Villanova 78-75 on Tuesday night, the Quakers' first win over the Wildcats since 2002. Penn fans stormed the court after Villanova's Phil Booth missed the tying 3-point attempt and set off a regular-season celebration not seen in Philly in years. And with good reason — the national champion Wildcats had won a city-record 25 straight games against Big 5 rivals Temple, Saint Joseph's, La Salle and the Quakers. Penn's student section started rocking the bleachers with minutes left, and the Quakers avoided a late scare and delivered the latest memorable moment at the Palestra. Penn coach Steve Donahue, who led Cornell to the Sweet 16 in 2010, may have another blooming Ivy League power. Penn last beat Villanova at the Palestra on Dec. 5, 2001, and hadn't beat them at all since Dec. 10, 2002. 'Just the look, when you come out of the locker room and it's a sea of red,' Donahue said. 'I'm glad we were able to reward them.' The Wildcats (8-3) hadn't lost a city series game since dropping a 76-61 decision to Temple on Dec. 5, 2012. Donahue slapped hands with fans that lingered on the court and fans tossed streamers and went wild as they topped the champs. Villanova coach Jay Wright calmly tugged at his suit and looked at the scoreboard that read 75-69 as the Wildcats went into a timeout needing a hoops miracle to pull this one off. They nearly got one — Booth hit a fall-away 3 that that pulled them to 75-72 and another with 1.3 seconds to go that made it 78-75. Woods sailed an in-bounds pass wildly out of bounds and Nova had one last shot. Booth, a senior guard with two national championships, missed his last one and the Penn party was on. 'It was nice while it lasted,' Wright said. 'We learn from it. It was fun to be a part of it.' Michael Wang added 14 points for Penn (9-2). Collin Gillespie scored 21 points and Booth finished with 18 for Villanova. The Wildcats have been solid but may have been outside the AP Top 25 without its championship pedigree. They fell out of the poll for a week on the heels of consecutive home losses to Michigan and Furman. But they had won six straight and fattened their record in the city series they made their own. The Quakers came out for primed for an upset at the Palestra, home of some of the greatest moments in Philadelphia college hoops history. With a packed house on hand — 'corners,' as it's called at the Palestra — and students holding signs that read 'There's No Fear Here,' Penn did just about everything right early to position itself for an upset. Bryce Washington hit a pair of 3s and the Quakers raced to a 14-2 lead over the rattled Wildcats. The Wildcats have an epic city-series winning streak for a reason and steadied themselves with a 15-0 run. Wang and Woods responded and buried consecutive 3s to help Penn — a 7½-point underdog — led 32-28 at the break. The Wildcats missed their first six free throws of the second half and Jermaine Samuels and Joe Cremo each had four fouls just 5 minutes into the second as Nova fell behind by 10. Cremo, who averaged seven points off the bench, fouled out with 6:18 left and Penn up 61-53. The Quakers had been building toward a monumental upset since coach Donahue was hired in 2015. Donahue, who flamed out at Boston College, won 11 and 13 games his first two seasons before guiding the Quakers to a 24-9 record and their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2007. The Quakers opened this season 4-0 and would upset Miami 89-75 at the Palestra for their first win over Power Five conference team since the 2002-03 season. BIG PICTURE Penn: Penn has been hot even after losing last season's top scorer Ryan Betley to a season-ending knee injury in the opener. The Quakers held 35-22 edge on the boards. Villanova: The Wildcats haven't blown out their Big 5 rivals this season and a loss like this one seemed inevitable. UP NEXT Penn: Plays Saturday at New Mexico. Villanova: No. 1 Kansas hosts No. 17 Villanova on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse in a rematch of the 2018 national semifinals. ___ More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Local News

  • Athens-Clarke County Police have a homicide on their hands: police say a man died after being taken to an Athens hospital, shot last night on Oak Hill Drive, passing away with what investigators say were multiple gunshot wounds. The victim is identified as Walter Brown Jr, 31 years old.Police say they are canvassing the neighborhood, looking for possible witnesses and for information. There is, in a brief police report on the incident, no mention of suspects or motive for the deadly shooting. 
  • The Athens Downtown Development Authority is meeting this afternoon, 5 o’clock at Authority offices in the Gameday building on Broad Street.  Oconee County’s Board of Tax Assessors meets this morning: it’s a 9 o’clock session at the Oconee County courthouse in Watkinsville.  Barrow County Commissioners meet tonight, 7 o’clock at the Historic Courthouse in Winder.  There is a new assignment for the sheriff in Gainesville: Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch has been appointed to a seat on the state Criminal Case Data Exchange Board.
  • A man serving time in the Hall County jail is facing new charges after a fight with another inmate at the lockup in Gainesville: 40 year-old Osmond Douglas is facing an aggravated assault charge after allegedly stabbing the other man with a sharpened pencil, causing extensive damage to one of the man’s eyes.  A Gainesville man is facing child molestation charges: investigators in the Hall County Sheriff’s Office say charges against 40 year-old Patrick Leaphart involve an underaged girl. He was booked into the Hall County jail and is being held without bond. 
  • Georgia Bulldogs senior defensive back Deandre Baker has been named to the 2018 Associated Press All-America First Team while sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas has been included on the AP All-America’s Second Team.   Baker, a Miami, Fla., native, became the first Bulldog to win the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award last week for being nation’s best defensive back in college football. He was also a Walter Camp First Team All-American. Thomas, a native of Lilburn, Ga., was named to the Walter Camp All-America Second Team as well.   Baker becomes the first Georgia All-American from the defensive backfield named to the AP’s First Team since Bacarri Rambo in 2011.   A Miami, Fla., native, Baker has started all 13 games for Georgia and has 40 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also has a team-best 10 pass break-ups. In addition, Baker has a forced fumble and has collected a fumble recovery for a defense that ranks 15th nationally allowing just 18.5 points per game.   Thomas, a native of Lithonia, Ga., has gotten the starting nod at left tackle for 12 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, only missing the Middle Tennessee State game with an ankle injury. He has anchored an offensive line that leads the SEC in Rushing Offense at 251.6 yards per game and that currently features one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen as starters.    The Bulldogs are averaged 39.2 points per game during their second straight run to the SEC Championship Game and a their first invitation to the Sugar Bowl since 2008. Thomas and his offensive line unit were named a Joe Moore Award finalist for being one of the top offensive lines in the nation.   The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) All-America teams are expected to be released later on Monday. The Sporting News All-America teams are scheduled to be released on Tuesday and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) teams on Wednesday.   The No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will take on No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise the fifth all-time matchup between the programs and the first matchup between the teams since 1984.
  • There are two more days of fall semester final exams at the University of Georgia, with fall semester commencement exercises set for Friday in UGA’s Stegeman Coliseum. This morning’s delayed opening makes for changes in the schedule for today’s tests.From the University of Georgia… The final exams scheduled for the 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. time slot will be postponed until 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, December 11. Students and faculty affected by the rescheduling should consult the University of Georgia Registrar’s Office (reg.uga.edu) to learn if there is a new location for their exam. This information will be posted at the Registrar’s website by 10:00 a.m. All other exams scheduled for Tuesday, December 11, 2018 will take place as previously determined.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS – The difficulties of playing cornerback in football increase exponentially as one moves up the ranks. Nobody has to remind Tyson Campbell of this reality because he lived it this past season. Campbell, who signed with Georgia as a 5-star prospect out of Fort Lauderdale this year, earned the rare distinction of becoming not only a 10-game starter for the Bulldogs as a true freshman corner this season, but a first-game starter, as well. Campbell That Campbell did NOT start the last three games of his freshman season is equally notable. But he’s choosing not to make a fuss about either designation. “It was tough, it was fun,” Campbell said of his first season as a college football player. “But, at the same time, it was a wake-up call, a learning experience. I feel like I learned a lot about football. And, you know, it’s just an all-learning year for me to get ready for next year.” Indeed, Campbell got the proverbial trial by fire this season playing the corner opposite of All-American and Jim Thorpe Award recipient Deandre Baker. From the outset, he found himself — and his side of the field — under attack. Campbell was exploited in the second game of the season at South Carolina as veteran receiver Bryan Edwards beat him twice for touchdowns. He also struggled in games against LSU and Auburn. There were good times as well, though. Like the trip to Missouri in Week 4 when Campbell scooped up fumble on one bounce and returned 64 yards for a touchdown. That would end up being a short day for Campbell, however, as he suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return. His replacement that afternoon was redshirt freshman Eric Stokes, who did some great work in relief.  Stokes finished the Missouri game with four pass-breakups and blocked-punt touchdown. Campbell returned to the starting lineup the next week, but the competition with Stokes for playing time would continue. Finally, in the 10th game of the season against Auburn, Georgia coaches subbed in Stokes for a struggling Campbell after a second pass-interference penalty. Stokes finished the game, then started the last three for the Bulldogs. Speaking with reporters for the first time all season after the SEC Championship Game last week, Campbell has taken the demotion in stride and claims no hard feelings. “Not every job is secure,” Campbell said after Georgia’s 35-28 loss to Alabama. “You’ve always got to have that chip on your shoulder. Anybody can be replaced. I’m not mad or anything. I’m supporting my teammates. I’m just ready to move forward.” Campbell’s first season was definitely a rollercoaster. His season high for tackles came against LSU when he finished with 11. But part that was mainly because he was tackling receivers downfield. He finished with 42 tackles, which was fifth on the team, but ended up with only one pass breakup and no interceptions. Stokes had eight pass breakups, including one in the end zone against Alabama. “We’ve talked for a long time about we’re going to play the players that play the best,” Smart said after the Auburn game. “I still think Tyson Campbell is a really good football player.” Campbell feels like he has identified his primary problem. “I panic sometimes,” he said last week. “Other than that, I’m working real hard in practice and staying focused. I feel I’ve got a bright future and I’m not really stressing or worrying about anything.” Georgia’s coaches believe Campbell has a bright future as well. The reason he was in the starting lineup in the first place is his tremendous speed. A two-time state champion in the 100- and 200-meter at American Heritage High and remains one of the fastest players on the Georgia team. Meanwhile, Campbell’s getting a lot of help on his DB skills. Baker, who came to Georgia as a 3-star prospect out of Miami and didn’t start until midway through his sophomore season, is one of Campbell’s primary tutors. “He’s helped me develop a lot, taught me a lot,” Campbell said. “I’m like a sponge out there with Coach Tuck and Coach Smart and the older guys in the secondary. They all teach me a lot and I just take whatever they tell me and just try to input it into my game.” Georgia needs to Campbell to remain alert and motivated. Regardless of who starts the rest of the way at left cornerback, both he and Stokes are sure to be in the Bulldogs’ plans as Baker moves on to the NFL. Regardless of how it went this season, Campbell knows his script isn’t written yet. “It’s football,” he said. “Things are going to happen. It’s a rollercoaster. There’s going to be swings. … I just have to focus on what’s ahead of me now.” The post Georgia CB Tyson Campbell believes ‘rollercoaster’ season will only make him a better appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia Bulldogs senior defensive back Deandre Baker has been named to the 2018 Associated Press All-America First Team while sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas has been included on the AP All-America’s Second Team.   Baker, a Miami, Fla., native, became the first Bulldog to win the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award last week for being nation’s best defensive back in college football. He was also a Walter Camp First Team All-American. Thomas, a native of Lilburn, Ga., was named to the Walter Camp All-America Second Team as well.   Baker becomes the first Georgia All-American from the defensive backfield named to the AP’s First Team since Bacarri Rambo in 2011.   A Miami, Fla., native, Baker has started all 13 games for Georgia and has 40 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. He also has a team-best 10 pass break-ups. In addition, Baker has a forced fumble and has collected a fumble recovery for a defense that ranks 15th nationally allowing just 18.5 points per game.   Thomas, a native of Lithonia, Ga., has gotten the starting nod at left tackle for 12 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, only missing the Middle Tennessee State game with an ankle injury. He has anchored an offensive line that leads the SEC in Rushing Offense at 251.6 yards per game and that currently features one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen as starters.    The Bulldogs are averaged 39.2 points per game during their second straight run to the SEC Championship Game and a their first invitation to the Sugar Bowl since 2008. Thomas and his offensive line unit were named a Joe Moore Award finalist for being one of the top offensive lines in the nation.   The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) All-America teams are expected to be released later on Monday. The Sporting News All-America teams are scheduled to be released on Tuesday and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) teams on Wednesday.   The No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will take on No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise the fifth all-time matchup between the programs and the first matchup between the teams since 1984.
  • ATHENS – Woodruff Practice Fields sit empty and wet. The Butts-Mehre Complex is unusually quiet and inactive. Georgia players are busy preparing for and taking exams. On Friday, several of them will walk in fall semester graduation ceremonies. All the while, another football challenge is looming. Three weeks from now, the No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will be teeing it up against No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the anguish of another excruciatingly close loss to No. 1 Alabama still lingers. The question on everybody’s mind is whether the Bulldogs can shake the grief and misery of that disappointment and refocus on the challenge of defeating a storied opponent in the rather lofty consolation of a New Year’s Six bowl game. To that, the Georgia players offer a resounding, “hell, yes.” “For sure,” junior wideout Mecole Hardman said. “We’re not going to go out there and just let anybody beat us. We’re definitely going to have motivation to play because we’ve got to get taste out of our mouths somehow. So, somebody’s got to feel us, and they will.” Added Riley Ridley: “Most definitely. This is Georgia football. No matter what happens, we never give up. We love football. That’s what we’re here for. We play for each other.” Undoubtedly, the Bulldogs will head to New Orleans with good intentions. That the Sugar Bowl has become a consolation prize for speaks to the heights of which Kirby Smart has raised the standard of expectation for Georgia football in three short years. But it’d understandable if the Bulldogs’ found their focus was a bit clouded considering the depth of their disappointment not 10 days ago. After building an impressive lead against a team called one of the best in Alabama football history and having an opportunity to expand it three scores in the third quarter, Georgia was outscored 21-0 over the final 18 minutes of play on the way to a 35-28 loss. Central to the outcome was a controversial decision to attempt a fake punt with the game tied with three minutes remaining. So, there was the added pang of how the Bulldogs lost on top of playing toe-to-toe with the nation’s No. 1 team. Then there were the postseason implications. Georgia played Alabama so well for so long, it proved to any remaining doubters there might’ve been that it was among the top four teams in college football. That should have been enough for the selection committee to include the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff for the second straight year. But, ultimately they chose Oklahoma, a one-loss Big 12 champion, over the two-loss SEC runners-up. That added a layer of disappointment the day after the conference championship loss. But Georgia players insist there will no lingering grief. “We’re not hanging our heads,” freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell said. “We know we played our best and we’re just ready to move forward. We’ve got to focus on what’s ahead of us now.” Said junior tight end Isaac Nauta: “It’s definitely not a lost season for us. We have another game to play and we’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to getting better throughout the month of December and winning the next one.” Georgia is already getting cmparisons to Alabama’s 2008 team, which entered the SEC Championship Game undefeated and ranked No. 1 only to lose to No. 2 Florida 31-20. The Gators went on to play for the BCS title and the No. 4-ranked Crimson Tide then lost to Utah 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl. Lack of motivation was considered Alabama’s primary undoing that New Year’s Day in New Orleans. Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who was defensive coordinator for that 2008 Alabama team, admitted that the Tide “didn’t play as well as we probably should have.” But he also said this year’s Georgia team is very different that one. “This is a much younger team than any of those Bama teams,” Smart said of the Bulldogs, whose roster is comprised 68 percent of freshmen and sophomores. “A lot of these kids, this will be their first or second time in a big-time bowl environment. We’re still getting accustomed to that.” No, this appears to be a Georgia team that still feels it has much to prove to the rest of the college football world. The same chip the Bulldogs carried on their collective shoulders into the SEC Championship Game will be making the trip to New Orleans. While a national championship is not in the cards this year, Georgia very much wants to validate its distinction as one the best teams in the country in 2018. “We can’t hang our head about (losing to Bama),” Hardman said. “We know we had the game; we know we played great. It just didn’t go our way. But I think everybody knows we’re one of the best four teams.” One more decisive win surely would remove any doubt. DawgNation’s Sugar Bowl Coverage Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will play in Sugar Bowl Mel Tucker ready for a new challenge as Colorado head coach Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace when he leaves Georgia football       The post No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs have something to prove vs. Texas in Sugar Bowl appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football sophomore Jake Fromm is playing as well as any quarterback in the nation, but the Bulldogs’ rotation at that position remains a hot topic of discussion. How does Coach Kirby Smart divide time in the Sugar Bowl between the red-hot Fromm and promising freshman Justin Fields. SEC Network analysts Jordan Rodgers, Gene Chizik and Marcus Spears weighed in on whether and how much Fields should play. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play No. 15 Texas (9-4) looking to win a bowl game for a fifth straight season on the heels of a heartbreaking 35-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1. Fromm was 25-of-39 passing for 301 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and was sacked only twice by the Tide’s impressive defense. Fields’ playing time was limited against Alabama, as he attempted just one pass the was incomplete and most notably failed to execute a fake punt in the fourth quarter. RELATED: Fields put on spot in SEC title game “If anything, I would love to see  a better plan for Justin Fields,” Rodgers said. “The first time he comes in the (SEC title) game, I don’t feel like the plan was right. The first time you pass with him, it’s not a play-action, there’s not a quarterback threat to run, you just do a straight drop back. “If we see him, I want to see him for a drive, that’s very calculated for a reason, and then get him back out … Jake Fromm is the better quarterback.” Smart has said all season that there is no plan going into games, and that Georgia plays the quarterback that gives the team the best chance to win. From game to game, situations change, and that dictates when and how much Fields plays. RELATED: Kirby Smart has plan to avoid QB controversy Marcus Spears said it’s important that Fields does indeed earn the snaps instead of there being any perception he’s being handed playing time. “When you get into the mindset as a coach that I’ve got to coddle this guy to make sure he’s not going to leave, you start setting yourself up for disaster,” Spears said. “And I’m going to show you how it works on the field. (Against Alabama) when Justin Fields came in the play went for 1 yard, it was second-and-9 when Jake Fromm ran back on the field. And guess what they did, they went 0-for-6 in the second half on third downs. “So when you look at how they tried to keep (Fields) involved, I think it hurt them at times during the season.” Smart knows how important it is to have a capable backup quarterback in the SEC. Fromm came off the bench last season to replace an injured Jacob Eason and led the Bulldogs to an SEC title and College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance. Fields has been a work in progress this season, completing 27 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Fields has also rushed for 266 yards on 42 carries, proving to be a valuable weapon in short-yardage situations after the Bulldogs’ midseason struggles in that area. Former Auburn national championship coach Gene Chizik says the Bulldogs should play to win, plain and simple. “My quick take is you’re going to play the guy that gives you the best chance to win, and if it’s not him, then he doesn’t play, you’re not playing to keep him on your roster, you’re playing to win,” Chizik said. “I’m protecting wins and our program, that’s what I want, (and) right now I’ve got maybe the hottest quarterback in the country,” Chizik said, explaining what he would be thinking if he was in Smart’s shoes. “(Fromm) threw for 3 touchdowns (versus Alabama), he threw for 300 yards, he was on point again, he’s playing as good as anybody, and he’s playing against a Texas secondary that’s struggling. “I’m playing the guy that gives us the best chance to win, and it’s not Justin Fields right now, that’s just the way it is.” DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Tim Tebow : Georgia will be challenged to be motivated for Texas Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will play in Sugar Bowl   Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace, when or if he leaves Georgia football   The post SEC Network analysts: Georgia quarterbacks’ playing time in Sugar Bowl hot topic appeared first on DawgNation.