Hyundai Sun Bowl
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Utah Utes
Dec. 31, 2:00 pm ET
Sun Bowl Stadium (El Paso, Texas)
Line: Georgia Tech -2
Making This All Possible:
Hyundai. The Korean car builder is the title sponsor for 2010 until 2013 and the fact that this coincides with their push into becoming a regular sighting in America? Me thinks not.
The Jackets have had a bit of an up and down 2011 season with a few more downs than ups. The ups include and are limited to ripping off six straight wins, rising up to number twelve nationally and beating a fifth ranked Clemson team. On the side of the lows we have the loss to Georgia, another loss to Virginia Tech and most notably for the first time under Paul Johnson no running back over 1,300 yards. Heck no back over 1,000 yards this season.
Things appear to be in flux in Atlanta as Paul Johnson and defensive coordinator Al Groh attempt to find a recipe that works on both sides of the football. Tevin Washington posted better passing numbers than Josh Nesbitt did in his best season but that included eight interceptions and that “better” was only 1,500 yards for the year.
Get To Know: Utah Utes
Utah is a bit opposite of the Yellow Jackets, the Utes started out rocky but finished strong, excluding their loss to Colorado to close out the regular season. For year one in the Pac-12 the season was the epitome of “meh” but they did finish with a 7-5 record and some hope going forward.
Expect to get the Utah team we’re used to seeing in bowl games this year; well prepared and ready to fight, after last years loss to Boise State. Coach Whittingham has his guys looking for that eighth win to help cap off a season that was not as prosperous as they would have like.
You Should Know…
Georgia Tech, under Paul Johnson has never won a bowl game. The Jackets are close though, last years seven point loss to Air Force was an improvement over their 35 point loss to LSU in 2008’s Chick-fil-A game and their 2009 loss of 10 points to Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
If You’re Going:
It is El Paso bros, the most western of legitimate Texas cities and a place that basically sits in Mexico. Literally we’re talking buddy cities with Juarez one of the less than savory places in recent years. Instead of recommending you get your hang out on there I’m going with what I know, New Mexico. You’re already down there, get in the car and head up to White Sands. One of the coolest places on planet earth.
If You’re Watching At Home:
I think we’ve hammered Mexican food home several times during our bowl trips so we’ll save your stomach. I don’t know any signature foods from Utah and I’m totally cool with that fact. So let’s go simple, easy ATL style for the Jackets and just grab some Chick-fil-A. Doesn’t matter if it is just the sandwich, the spicy chicken sandwich, some nuggets or a whole party platter; watch the Yellow Jackets while crushing delicious CFA, as you prepare to watch the CFA bowl later tonight. Winning.
Utah just left the Mountain West a conference where they played Air Force on the regular and were quite successful against the wing-t and option approach out of the Falcons. While Paul Johnson’s attack is not identical the prep for the game is similar. Work on discipline, be at the right spots and make sure to tackle everybody to avoid a mistake. This is a team that can prepare well and given the simplicity of Georgia Tech’s attack I expect the Utes to see success when it comes to stopping the option.
For the Jackets this game is about how they combat John White IV and the Utah offense. Keep the game close and hopefully the offense can grind on the Utes defense to find those big plays that they thrive on. If the Utes are able to score early then the Jackets are at a serious disadvantage when Washington is forced to throw the football more than expected.
Utah 26, Georgia Tech 20
Get To Know: Georgia Tech