After Close ACC Finish, Georgia Tech Is Headed to the Orange Bowl

Winning a 39-34 thriller over Atlantic champs Clemson, the Yellow Jackets are enjoying their first conference title in 19 years and their first BCS bid in school history. This game was perhaps a little too close for comfort, as Georgia Tech just simply didn’t have an answer for versatile phenomenon CJ Spiller. Receiving the ACC player of the year award, the Yellow Jackets knew coming in that it wouldn’t be easy slowing Spiller down. With 20 carries for 233 yards and four touchdowns, Spiller may have had the best performance of his career Saturday night vs. the Yellow Jackets. Scoring in every quarter of the game, Spiller had 65,000 fans wondering just how he did it. It seemed that every time Georgia Tech would methodically drive down the field, Spiller would have an answer. First drive of the game, Spiller scored on a three-yard run. Then, scoring three straight times (one touchdown and two field goals), Georgia Tech looked to be running away with the game. However, Spiller answered at the last possible second with a 41-yard run with just under three minutes left in the half. At the start of the third quarter, I was paying most of my attention to the kicker. Because while Spiller was exciting and suspenseful to watch, Georgia Tech kicker Scott Blair had scored 10 of their 16 points thus far and was secretly proving to be a valuable weapon. However, quarter back Josh Nesbitt managed to convert those field goals into touchdowns, accounting for both a rushing and passing score in the third quarter. Up by 13 heading into the fourth, Clemson made its last, desperate attempt at pulling off the game. And given the ball with 1:20 to go, and given freshman quarterback Kyle Parker’s success this year, they had a shot. A holding penalty and a string of incompletions later the Tigers were forced into a clutch fourth and two situation. In then end, defensive end Derrick Morgan showed the nation why he’s considered one of the best linemen in the country, tackling Parker for no gain.  Looking ahead, Georgia Tech will be facing off against Iowa in the Orange Bowl, a very intriguing match-up if you ask me. Earlier in the season, Iowa was one of the undefeated “BCS buster” teams and looked to make a run at the national championship. But after back-to-back Big ten losses vs. Northwestern and Ohio State, Iowa’s very fortunate to be sitting where they are now. And really, looking back on their schedule, Iowa’s only signature win all season was Penn State. So, considering that most of Iowa’s wins were thrilling comebacks, I think this will be perhaps the biggest test for the Hawkeye’s thus far. Allowing only 15 points per game, Iowa has a very tough defense. But then again, they allowed 42 points to 83rd ranked offense Indiana and the only team they shut-out is the 98th ranked offense in Minnesota. Looking in on rush defense, Iowa is the 32nd ranked rush defense and has played a few tough running games in Wisconsin and Ohio State. However, no Wisconsin or Ohio State running attack would match up even close to the magnitude of Georgia Tech’s. Ranked second in the nation in rushing yards; this will be the match-up of the game.

Some quick stats; Iowa averages 23 PPG and allows 15 PPG, as Georgia Tech averages 35 PPG and allows 24 PPG. For a prediction, I say Georgia Tech pulls out a exhilarating 27-24 win in OT.

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