Independence Bowl Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Vs Air Force Falcons
December 26th, 2010- By Alex Groberman
It will be all about the rush when Georgia Tech and Air Force square off in the Independence Bowl on December 27 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
In a battle of two teams that absolutely love to run, the game may ultimately come down to who can stop the rush when these two teams meet.
Georgia Tech comes into this game having been ranked first in FBS with 327 rushing yards per game. Air Force, meanwhile, wasn’t too far behind coming in second with nearly 318 yards. The only difference between the way these two squad approach the game is that Georgia Tech utilizes a spread version of the option offense while Air Force prefers a triple option.
Combined, these two teams have put up a paltry 299 throwing attempts. That total tells the whole story when it comes to these squads’ offensive philosophies.
Georgia Tech comes into this game possibly without their biggest, most versatile player.
Quarterback, Josh Nesbitt broke his arm on November 4th in a game against Virginia Tech, and as such, it’s unclear whether he will be able to suit up for this one. Sophomore Tevin Washington will be the likely replacement if Nesbitt is out, but he can’t even come close to putting up the starter’s production.
A first team all ACC pick last year on his way to leading Georgia Tech to a conference title, Nesbitt leads the squad this season with 10 touchdowns and 734 rushing yards. On top of that, he’s passed for 674 yards and seven touchdowns through nine games.
His backup, however, has only been good for 289 yards and three touchdowns rushing and 292 yards and twotouchdowns passing.
Much of the credit for the team’s ability to effectively run the ball lands squarely on the shoulders of Anthony Allen who put up a staggering average of 138.3 yards in the last four games of the season. This comes on the heels of him putting up 86.5 yards per game over the team’s first eight games.
Despite Allen’s play though, Georgia Tech lost four its final five games on the year including a 42-34 defeat at the hands of rival Georgia on November 27. As it stands, the team averaged nearly 32 points in their first seven games as a opposed to 20.6 in their last five.
While the offense has been sporadic this year, the defense has been awful in the team’s last five games as they attempted to adjust to a new defensive plan. After giving up 23.1 points per game in their first seven outings, they proceeded to give up 30.4 points in their last five games of the year.
As Georgia Tech appears to worsen, Air Force in turn is peaking to close the year. They have won three consecutive games by a total score of 125-65 and wrapped up the regular season with an impressive win over UNLV on November 18.
The team is led on the ground by junior, Asher Clark, who has totaled five touchdown and 1,001 for the year. Assuming their defense plays well and their running attack is strong, this team is coached well enough to ride the wave of momentum they have built up to close out the year. Having played in the Armed Forces Bowl in the last three years, in particular blowing out Houston 47-20 last season, they appear ready for a change.
This team also played in the Independence Bowl in 1983 and 1984, and proceeded to secure wins in both outings.