Georgia Tech is looking to stop its streak of five straight bowl losses and avoid a losing season for the first time in 14 years. Here’s a quick preview of this evening’s AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl:
WHO TO WATCH: Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington. It’s unlikely that starter Joshua Nesbitt (broken forearm) will play, so Washington will have one more chance to build his case for being the Jackets’ quarterback of the future. So far, he is 1-2 as a starter. Washington will enter spring practices at the top of the depth chart because of his experience this season, but the job is not guaranteed. A strong performance against Air Force will be needed to match the Falcons’ 32.25 points per game, but it will also give Washington something to build on heading into the offseason.
WHAT TO WATCH: Georgia Tech’s defensive line against the triple option. It’s not accurate to say Georgia Tech has been practicing against this offense all season long. The Jackets face their scout team, which tries to simulate each week’s opponent. Georgia Tech’s size up front won’t be much of an advantage, because Air Force can compensate with its athleticism. The Falcons don’t have to double-team a lot because they can wrap the legs of bigger defenders. The Jackets have struggled to stop the run and rank No. 78 in the country at 169.67 yards per game.
WHY TO WATCH: Old school football at its finest. Georgia Tech leads the nation in rushing (327.0 yards per game) and Air Force (317.9 ypg) ranks second. This game will feature offenses that have combined to average 12.4 pass attempts per game. It could be the quickest bowl game you’ve ever seen.
PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 28, Air Force 24. Paul Johnson defeated the Falcons five straight times when he was head coach at Navy, and has enough talent on the roster and enough staff members familiar with Air Force to do it again. The key is whether the defense can play a disciplined game. The Jackets have struggled in their first season under coordinator Al Groh, but they’ve had ample time to prepare for this game.