Capital One Bowl: Loss of NG John Jenkins Won't Hurt Georgia vs. Nebraska

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 27, 2012

The long layoff between the end of the regular season and the bowl game has cost one Georgia Bulldogs his eligibility.

Senior John Jenkins, star noseguard for the Bulldogs and second-team All-SEC selection, will not play in the Capital One Bowl versus Nebraska, according to a release from the University.

"John Jenkins won't be here," said Richt. "It's academic related, he will not be at the bowl, and that will be all I'll say about that. I think John Jenkins has been awesome for Georgia. I'm really proud of everything he's accomplished for us."

Jenkins is a big piece of the Bulldogs' defensive puzzle. His 50 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack isn't exactly going to jump off the stat sheet, but having a big guy in the middle of that 3-4 defense to take up two blocks allowed linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree to have big seasons in 2012.

So how big of an impact will the absence of the 6'3", 358-pounder be for the Bulldogs?

Depth-wise, it hurts. But Georgia has plenty of firepower to withstand the loss.

Junior Kwame Geathers has plenty of experience, and certainly can fill the void. The 6'6", 355-pounder had 37 tackles, five tackles for loss and one sack this season; and has been a big part of the rotation for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.

The Bulldogs also may get defensive end Abry Jones back for the bowl game, after the senior missed the previous five games following surgery to repair an ankle injury.

The presence of those two will help, and certainly allow the Bulldogs to contain quarterback Taylor Martinez and running backs Ameer Abdullah and Rex Burkhead.

Plus it doesn't impact the key matchup of the game. 

For Nebraska to have a chance, it's going to have to stop Georgia's two-headed running back monster with freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Wisconsin lit up the Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Championship Game to the tune of 539 yards on the ground. Unless they fixed that major hole over the break, the Huskers could be in for a long afternoon.

The loss of Jenkins is big—literally. But if there's one spot where Georgia can withstand an academic loss, it's at noseguard.