There was a considerable amount of buzz last offseason about how Georgia would handle South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (2) is pursued and later sacked by Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory (44) in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.
It turned out the Bulldogs‚Äô offensive tackles faced more than their share of less-hyped speed rushers that gave them troubles this season.
Clemson‚Äôs Vic Beasley, Missouri‚Äôs Michael Sam, Auburn‚Äôs Dee Ford and Georgia Tech‚Äôs Jeremiah Attaochu all rank in the top 21nationally in sacks per game.
So does Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound junior college transfer from Fishers, Ind., who led the Big Ten with 9.5 sacks.
‚ÄúHe is very athletic, he‚Äôs long,‚Äù Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. ‚ÄúHe reminds me of our Leonard Floyd. I‚Äôm interested to see how big he is on the hoof when we get there. He looks like he might be a little bit heavier, but he‚Äôs got some range and is extremely athletic.‚Äù
Gregory was second in the Big Ten tackles for loss with 17 and led the team in quarterback hurries with 17. He returned an interception for a touchdown and caused and recovered a fumble.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a really good player,‚Äù said Georgia offensive tackle Kolton Houston, who has rotated in behind starter John Theus at right tackle while Kenarious Gates holds down the left tackle spot.
Gates is one of three offensive lineman playing their last game for the Bulldogs, along with guards Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette.
The Cornhuskers average nearly three sacks per game and rank 15th nationally.
Quarterback Hutson Mason, in his first college start, took some time before he trusted the protection set for him by his offensive line. He was sacked five times at Georgia Tech, four by defensive end Jeremiah Attachou.
‚ÄúA lot of them were my fault,‚Äù Mason said. ‚ÄúThey were doing some stuff up front and I was just being too fast in my progressions. I‚Äôve just got to trust my pocket a little bit more.‚Äù