Georgia Tech will not have to face USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Monday.
Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said Thursday that Barkley is out with a shoulder injury, and freshman Max Wittek will get the start. Wittek started in place of Barkley in the regular-season finale against Notre Dame, throwing for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to the Irish.
It was never really certain whether Barkley would be able to play in the bowl game, though Kiffin seemed to hold out some hope when he said his star quarterback would be re-evaluated in El Paso. Facing a team without a preseason Heisman candidate is at least some good news for a Jackets defense that has been inconsistent this season, though it still must find a way to slow down receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods.
Interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly told The Atlanta Journal Constitution this month that he would not game plan any differently despite the Trojans' quarterback uncertainty.
Of Wittek, he told the newspaper, "He made some unbelievable throws in the Notre Dame game. He’s got a really, really strong arm, can throw the ball downfield, probably as far as anybody we’ve seen distance-wise. And then when you have good people around you -- you’ve got good running backs, you’ve got good receivers, you’ve got a good offensive line, that usually makes your quarterback even better."