If Georgia Tech is going to win the Orange Bowl, it's going to have to have a much better game up front on defense than it did in the ACC Championship.
The Dispatch takes a look at the battles along the line of scrimmage in the Orange Bowl and notes that Dak Prescott is more than capable of having a huge game if his offensive line handles Tech's D-line.
Tech got virtually no pass rush against Florida State in the ACC title game, and Jameis Winston used that cozy pocket to pick apart the Yellow Jackets' pass rush while tailback Dalvin Cook racked up one big run after another.
The lack of a serious pass rush was an ongoing problem for Georgia Tech -- despite KeShun Freeman's spot on ESPN's Freshman All-America team. Against Power 5 opponents, Tech had a sack rate of just 4.1 percent -- the eighth-worst of any Power 5 team. And those numbers made a big difference.
This season, Tech had six games in which it recorded at least two sacks. It was 6-0 in those games and opposing quarterbacks completed 58 percent of their throws with six touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The defense allowed an average of 18 points per game.
In the seven games in which Tech had zero or one sack, the Yellow Jackets were 4-3 and the opposing QBs completed 67 percent of their throws with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. Tech's D surrendered an average of 31 points per game in those contests.
There could be some potentially good news on that front for Georgia Tech as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says Jabari Hunt-Days could potentially return to action after sitting out the fall semester for academic reasons.
Regardless of Hunt-Days' status, however, Prescott figures to be a formidable foe and Josh Robinson adds some extra punch to the Mississippi State ground game. How well Tech can disrupt the Bulldogs' backfield may well tell the story of whether it takes home a win in Miami.
A few more links:
Athlon looks back at the best ACC games of 2014, which not surprisingly, is particularly FSU heavy.
Jimbo Fisher is putting together another stellar recruiting class at Florida State, writes the Tallahassee Democrat.
Larry Fedora is looking for a new defensive coordinator after North Carolina finished dead last in the ACC in passing, rushing and scoring defense, writes the Raleigh News & Observer.
The Pinstripe Bowl is a good opportunity for Boston College to showcase itself as the top program in the Northeast, which could pay dividends on the recruiting trail, writes BC Interruption.
Things are awkward and confusing at Pitt as the Panthers wait for official word on the future of coach Paul Chryst, writes the Post-Gazette.