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Orange Bowl

Iowa vs Georgia Tech

1/5/09

3* Key Release

If you are a fan of smash mouth football then this is the BCS Bowl Game for you. Since Head Coach Paul Johnson has taken over at Georgia Tech he has installed his triple option rushing attack and it has worked wonders for this team. When Johnson first became the new coach for the Yellow Jackets after coming from Navy a lot of people had serious questions about how effective his offense would be in a BCS conference like the ACC, but he has proven everyone wrong. In his first season he went 9-4 including finishing tied for 1st in the ACC Coastal Division, and he followed that up with an 11-2 record and an ACC Title.

Georgia Tech has struggled during bowl season the last several years going 0-4 in their last 4 games, and if they are going to break that losing streak they are going to need to get that running game working early, because this is a good Iowa Hawkeyes football team.

Iowa started the year off an amazing 9-0 including wins over Penn State and Wisconsin, but after finishing their year off 1-2 with losses to Northwestern and Ohio State all hope of a Big 10 title went out the window, but they still squeaked by into the Orange Bowl. The Hawkeyes and Head Coach Kirk Ferentz do not want to end this season on a bad note after such a great start which should make this matchup, which is not very attractive on paper, very intriguing.


PRIMETIME MATCHUP


This Iowa Hawkeye defense is ranked 3rd in the Big 10 in total and scoring defense allowing 287 yards and 16 points per game, but the most important stat for this game is their 5th ranked rush defense that is allowing 122 yards per game. The strength of this Iowa defense is their #1 ranked pass defense that is only allowing just 165 yards per game, but since they are facing a Georgia Tech offense that will only throw the ball a handful of times the whole game that won’t matter too much in this game.

There is only one way to stop this Yellow Jacket offense and that is to control the line of scrimmage and stop the run early and force them to have to pass the ball which would play right into Iowa’s strength. The only problem is that everyone that has faced Georgia Tech this season knew exactly what they were going to do, but very few were able to slow down this triple option rushing attack.

QB Josh Nesbitt and RB Jonathan Dwyer have both had huge season this year. Nesbitt has rushed for just under 1,000 yards this year and he leads the team with rushing TDs with 18. Dwyer is the team’s leading rusher with over 1300 yards and 14 TDs on the season. That 1-2 punch is ranked 2nd nationally in rushing per game with 307 yards and is putting up 35 points per game which puts them ranked 1st in scoring offense in the ACC. The thing that makes this offense so difficult to stop is you never know who is going to get the ball, so Iowa is going to have to somehow figure out a way to stop this run early and often or this Yellow Jacket offense will control time of possession and this game will be over.



THE FINAL VERDICT


Iowa has had success against some of the best rushing attacks in the Big 10 this season. Against Wisconsin they held the Badgers to just 87 yards rushing, but they have also struggled in some games like against Ohio State when they gave up 229 yards rushing. The Hawkeyes have not seen an offense like this all season, and you can watch as much tape as you want, but the only way to figure out how to stop this type of offense is by playing against it.

Georgia Tech does a great job of keeping their opposing defenses guessing even though the defense knows what is coming. You never really know who is going to be running the ball till he is right in your face, and just when you think you have them figured out they drop back and go vertical with star WR Demaryius Thomas. Although Thomas doesn’t get many passes thrown his way per game that hasn’t stopped him from having a huge season.

But while Georgia Tech may get their yards, they have played plenty of teams this year that we feel weren't as good as Iowa, and failed to put much of a gap between them and these teams on the scoreboard. They beat Clemson by 3, lost to Miami, Beat Florida State by 5, squeaked by Wake Forest by a field goal and lot to Georgia by 6. Iowa would give all of those teams trouble.

The Georgia Tech offense is difficult to prepare for when you only have a week to do it. But the Hawkeyes have had almost a month and a half to concentrate on nothing but stopping Georgia Tech.

Also remember that Georgia Tech also needs to stop Iowa. Iowa managed to put points on the board against a couple of the better defenses in the Nation in Penn State and Ohio State. The Georgia Tech defense was lit up like a Christmas tree on more than a few occasions this year.

Tech played a schedule perhaps a field goal tougher than Iowa did. We'll take that into consideration when comparing yards per point numbers here, however in spite of the schedule, Iowa's numbers are much better than Techs. Their defensive number is among the best in the nation at a whopping 23 in road games and 19 overall. Very good. Compare that with Techs defensive number of 14. Below average, especially for a Bowl team. Tech has the better numbers by a couple of points offensively but they'll be facing perhaps their toughest test all year in Iowa's defense.

We think Iowa is the better team here. The line on this game should probably be closer to pick em yet Tech money has poured in since the game was first posted at Tech -3.5. We may even be able to grab +6 by game time. 3* Iowa +5.5


 

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