Stepping up in the bowls: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech and Air Force run similar option offenses, and they enter the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl with the nation’s top two rushing offenses, respectively. They’re not mirror images, though. Air Forces uses a tight end, lines up in the I-formation on occasion, and has a few more “bells and whistles,” according to Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, who defeated the Falcons five straight times when he was coaching at Navy.

In order to make it a sixth, who needs to step up?

Georgia Tech’s defensive line: The Jackets’ size advantage won’t be much help in this game because Air Force is quick and athletic up front. They don’t have to double team a lot because they can wrap the legs of bigger defenders. Georgia Tech is determined to get a hand on the offensive tackles to keep them from getting to the linebackers. Defensive end Izaan Cross told Sting Daily he expects to be left unblocked at times, and hopes to get numerous chances to make plays. Somebody is going to have to if they’re going to stop Air Force, which averages 317.92 rushing yards per game. The Jackets have struggled to stop the run and rank No. 78 in the country at 169.67 yards per game. Georgia Tech’s defense has struggled some to adjust to first-year coordinator Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme, but if the Jackets are going to snap their five-game bowl losing streak, it has to start up front.