Friday, December 30, 2011
Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Utah
By Heather Dinich
Georgia Tech will be playing in its 15th straight bowl game, but is looking for its first bowl win under coach Paul Johnson. Here is a quick preview of Saturday's 2 p.m. ET game:
WHO TO WATCH: Quarterback Tevin Washington. He has had an inconsistent season and finished on a sour note, throwing a pair of interceptions in the 31-17 loss to rival Georgia. The Yellow Jackets are obviously a run-based team, but they have not thrown a touchdown pass since Oct. 1. Still, his 890 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns are the second-most by a quarterback in school history. He enters the bowl game ranked sixth in the ACC in rushing, fifth in scoring and ninth in total offense.
WHAT TO WATCH: Utah’s defense against Georgia Tech’s spread option offense. It’s not just the triple option, and technically, the Yellow Jackets only run the triple option about 20 percent of the time. The thing is, it usually works. Georgia Tech has the nation’s No. 3 rushing offense (316.8), but Utah ranks seventh nationally in rushing defense (97.0). The Yellow Jackets rank 19th nationally in scoring offense (34.9), while the Utes rank 18th nationally in scoring defense (19.7). Something’s gotta give.
WHY TO WATCH: Georgia Tech is trying to snap a six-game bowl losing streak. The Jackets have lost to Air Force, Iowa and LSU under Johnson, and haven’t won a bowl game since Dec. 21, 2004, when they beat Syracuse, 51-14. The team that started the six-game losing streak? Utah in the 2005 Emerald Bowl.
PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 28, Utah 24. The Utes couldn’t handle a floundering Colorado team that had just one league win in the regular season finale, and this will be a much more difficult challenge. Those within Georgia Tech’s program are tired of hearing about the six-game losing streak, and Johnson is at his best when he’s got something to prove. Georgia Tech will catch Utah off guard with several big plays, control the clock and in turn the game.