Run and Shoot: Bulldogs, Warriors craving sweet success

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Bulldogs, Warriors craving sweet success

NEW ORLEANS - The physical, defense-minded Georgia Bulldogs are a team that has the right to feel a little disappointed about playing on New Year's Day. After Missouri and West Virginia lost on the final weekend of the regular season, the Bulldogs had slim hopes of playing for the BCS title. Not winning the Southeastern Conference hurt their chances, and the computers and voters put LSU in the title game.

On the other hand, the Hawai'i Warriors, famous for their pass-oriented, run-and-shoot offense are ecstatic to be playing on the first day of 2008, and are trying to become the second Western Athletic Conference team in as many seasons to finish the undefeated.

Two different philosophies, and two different mindsets. The nation will see which combination reigns victorious tonight when the Bulldogs face the Warriors in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

"We are in the real thing right now, and we are actually here," Hawai'i quarterback Colt Brennan said earlier this week. " Everything has been great. The food and the hospitality have been great. It was certainly worth it to get here."

Brennan is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and his statistics show exactly why. He finished the season with 4,174 passing yards and 38 touchdowns en route to a third-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting.

However, Brennan has been labeled as a product of June Jones' run-and-shoot offensive system, and Brennan has never faced a defense as physical and as tough as Georgia's. The Bulldogs were No. 3 in the SEC, behind LSU and Auburn, in total defense this year, allowing only 325 yards per game.

Brennan averages 380 yards per contest -- through the air.

Tonight's game may come down to whether Georgia's offense or Hawai'i defense performs better.

The Warriors' allowed only 24 points per game to their opponents this season. That was good enough for No. 2 in the WAC.

Georgia's offense was mediocre compared to other SEC squads. The Bulldogs ranked No. 6 in the conference in both scoring and total defense.

Georgia's offense might have to make small adjustments in its rushing attack. It was reported earlier this week that freshman running back Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 1,273 yards and 12 scores this season, will not start because of an ankle injury.

Thomas Brown will start in his place, but Moreno is still expected to see action.

NOTES: Tonight's contest will be the first matchup between the two schools ... Georgia donned black jerseys for pregame warmups, while Hawai'i was clad in all white ... This will be the Bulldogs' third Sugar Bowl appearance in the past six seasons.

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