Michigan State and Georgia have met just two times all-time, and always on a neutral field.
The Outback Bowl hosts a pair of conference runner-ups as Michigan State, of the Big Ten, faces Georgia of the SEC.
The Bulldogs won both previous meetings, 24-12 in 2008 and 34-27 back in 1989.
Our latest Outback Bowl odds list Georgia as a 3.5-point favorite, while the total sits at 50 points.
The Spartans won the inaugural Big Ten Legends Division (7-1) and played an exciting Big Ten title game before falling to Wisconsin, 42-39, halting a four-game win streak. The Spartans were 3-2 away from home this year, wining the last two such games (at Northwestern and at Iowa).
Defensively, the Spartans are one of the better teams in the county, ranking ninth nationally in points allowed (17 points per game) and surrendering 273 yards per game (169 passing, 104 rushing) while recording 41 sacks and forcing 22 turnovers four of which have converted into touchdowns (Jeremy Langford, fumble; Isaiah Lewis and Johnny Adams, three interceptions).
Max Bullough leads this unit with 86 tackles and two forced fumbles, while Denicos Allen has 10 sacks with 78 tackles. Lewis and Trenton Robinson each have four interceptions to go with 145 total tackles, while Langford has two fumble recoveries.
The Spartans rank 39th nationally in scoring offense (31 ppg) while recording 390 yards per game (247 passing, 143 rushing). Kirk Cousins has completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,016 yards and 24 touchdowns with seven interceptions. The offensive line has allowed 15 sacks.
B.J. Cunningham is the leading receiver with 72 receptions for 1,240 yards and 12 TDs, while Keshawn Martin has 62 catches for 742 yards and four scores. Meanwhile, Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker anchor the running game with 1,555 combined yards and 16 TDs on 4.8 yards per carry.
The Bulldogs won the SEC East title (7-1) and were rolling with a 10-game winning streak before falling 42-10 to top-ranked LSU in the SEC Championship Game. In the 10 wins, Georgia’s defense allowed 20 points or less nine times this season, but allowed 35 or more points in every loss (Boise State, South Carolina, LSU). The Bulldogs were 5-1 away from home, with the lone loss against LSU.
Georgia finished the regular season ranked 17th nationally in scoring defense (20 ppg) and surrendered 268 yards per game (165 passing, 103 rushing) while recording 34 sacks and forcing 29 turnovers with one returned for a TD (Bacarri Rambo, interception).
Jarvis Jones leads the defense with 69 tackles, 13.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, while Shawn Williams and Michael Gilliard each have 65 stops while combining for four picks, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, two sacks and a blocked kick. Rambo has seven interceptions with 52 tackles.
Georgia’s offense enters ranked 34th in the country in scoring (32 ppg) while compiling 414 yards per game (241 passing, 173 rushing). Aaron Murray is completing 59 percent of his passes this season for 2,861 yards and 33 TDs with 12 interceptions. The offensive line has allowed 29 sacks.
Orson Charles is the team’s leading receiver with 44 receptions for 572 yards and five TDs, and Tavarres King has 41 grabs for 500 yards and seven scores. Isaiah Crowell anchors the running game with 847 yards and five TDs on 4.7 yards per carry.