Music City Bowl: Jackets and Rebels both need win to cap season

PHOTO: USA Today Sports

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5) vs Ole Miss Rebels (7-5)

Monday, December 30th @ 3:15 PM (ESPN)

Line: Ole Miss by 3

How Georgia Tech got here: Georgia Tech started out 3-0 with wins over bowl-bound Duke and UNC. They would lose their next three to Virginia Tech, Miami and BYU before righting the ship with three straight wins. They finished the year losing to Clemson and blowing a big lead against in-state rival Georgia.

How Ole Miss got here: Ole Miss started off the college football season on a Thursday night with a thrilling victory at Vanderbilt. Two weeks later they went to Texas and blew out the Longhorns. They proceeded to go 4-5 in their last nine and limped to the end of the season with a loss to Missouri and then an OT loss to in-state rival Mississippi State. The highlight of their season was a win over #6 LSU.

For Georgia Tech to win: Against Georgia, the Yellow Jackets were able to hit some early passes and it was the difference in the game (at least early). Georgia Tech makes their bones running the ball but when they are able to throw it puts them at a big advantage. In wins, the Jackets threw 8 TD passes against 4 INT. In losses, they threw 3 TD passes against 8 INT. On defense, the Jackets need to play well in the red zone. Ole Miss is the 13th best team in the SEC (only Florida is worse) in scoring in the red zone and the Jackets have to limit keep them to their 53% TD rate.

For Ole Miss to win: Teams that run the ball well, don't like getting ran on and Ole Miss needs to get it's running game going early. In losses, the Rebels run for just 109 ypg but they run for 243 in wins. On defense, the young Rebels have to play assignment football against Paul Johnson and Tech's offense a limit getting hit with the big play. 

Key Player (Georgia Tech): Vad Lee, QB. Lee has to make good decisions with the ball in the option but what might be more important is what he does through the air. Lee is completing just 41% of his passes in losses and he's completing just 38% of his throws in the 4th quarter. Not only will he have to orchestrate where the ball goes in the option but he also needs to keep the defense honest with his arm.

Key Player (Ole Miss): Bo Wallace, QB. Will the real Bo Wallace please stand up? Is it the player that completed 69.7% of his passes in wins with 12 TD against 2 INT. Or is it the player who completed just 58.9% of his passes in losses with 5 TD vs 7 INT? 

Key Stat: In 1932, when the Southeastern Conference formed, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss were both charter members of the league. Georgia Tech left the conference in 1964. Despite playing in the same conference for over 30 years, the two teams met just twice during that time with the Jackets winning both games. The two teams also played in 1971 with the Rebels coming out on top.

About Kevin Causey

Dry humorist, craft beer enthusiast, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Comeback.