Dec. 28, 2013
By Jon Cooper
In what’s become a tradition, Georgia Tech will cap off its 17th consecutive season by playing in a postseason bowl game, taking on Ole Miss in the Franklin America Mortgage Music City Bowl. It’s the second-longest such streak in the nation.
Kickoff Monday afternoon at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., is set for 3:15 p.m. ET (2:15 local time) and can be seen on ESPN. Mark Jones, Brock Huard and Jessica Mendoza are on the call. The game can be heard on WYAY, 106.7 FM, with Brandon Gaudin, Rick Strom and former Yellow Jackets legendary center Sean Bedford doing the honors. Bedford will handle the sideline duties, replacing legendary broadcaster Randy Waters. The game also will air on Satellite radio on channel 91 on both Sirius and XM. Fans also can catch the broadcast and get live stats on RamblinWreck.com.
The Yellow Jackets are headed to their 17th consecutive bowl game, their sixth in the Paul Johnson Era, and are looking to establish their first bowl winning streak since pasting Tulsa, 52-10, in the 2004 Humanitarian Bowl, to conclude the 2003 season, then blasting now fellow ACC member Syracuse, 51-14, in the Champs Sports Bowl to wrap up the 2004 season. The Jackets earned their first bowl win under Johnson in last year’s Hyundai Sun Bowl, knocking off USC, 21-7. Tech is looking to make a splash in its first appearance in the Music City Bowl. A win would help remove the foul taste following their 41-34 double-OT loss to Georgia on the season’s final day and give Tech at least eight wins for the fourth time under Johnson, who is coaching his first game against Ole Miss.
The Rebels are making their 35th bowl appearance all time and second straight under Head Coach Hugh Freeze. They, too, lost ended the regular season on a foul note, dropping their rivalry game, also in overtime, a 17-10 loss at Mississippi State. Ole Miss is looking to continue a run of bowl excellence that has seen victories in five straight appearances, nine of 10 and 11 of 13. Last year, Freeze completed his first season at the helm in Oxford in grand style, walloping Pittsburgh, 38-17, in the BBVA Compass Bowl. They are 0-1 all-time in the Music City Bowl, however, dropping a 49-38 decision to West Virginia in the 2000 meeting.
Sting Daily hopes it hits all the right notes with this numerical look at Monday’s Music City Bowl.
The Series: Today is the fourth meeting between Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, the third in a bowl game, in a series that began in 1946, but was last played in 1971. Georgia Tech leads the series 2-1, winning the only non-bowl game, 24-7 on Oct. 12, 1946. The schools have split postseason matchups, with the second-ranked Yellow Jackets taking care of the No. 7 Rebels, 24-7, in the 1953 Sugar Bowl, while the 17th-ranked Rebels beat Tech, 41-18, in the 1971 Peach Bowl.
17 – The number of seniors playing their final game at Georgia Tech. They include: LB Corey Alford, DE Jeremiah Attaochu, OL Ray Beno, DE Chris Crenshaw, DT Euclid Cummings, DE Emmanuel Dieke, LB Daniel Drummond, OL Jay Finch, A-Back Robert Godhigh, OL Will Jackson, DT Ben Keith, P Sean Poole, PK David Scully, B-Back David Sims, DB Jemea Thomas, LB Brandon Watts and CB Louis Young. Safety Isaiah Johnson is part of the class but is redshirting and will play next season.
.5 – The number of sacks DE Jeremiah Attaochu needs to become Georgia Tech’s all-time leader. Attaochu enters Monday’s game with 31.0 career sacks, tied with Greg Gathers. He also leads all active FBS players (2.5 higher than second-place Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh) and ties him for fifth in ACC history. He is looking for his first sack in a bowl game.
.550 – Georgia Tech’s all-time winning percentage in bowl games. The Yellow Jackets are 23-18 in its 41 postseason games, ninth among FBS teams with at least 25 appearances. The 42 appearances rank 11th amongst FBS schools.
.800 – Georgia Tech’s winning percentage under Paul Johnson when rushing for at least 300 yards. The Jackets are 32-8, 5-1 in 2013, when gaining 300 yards on the ground.
.813 – Tech’s touchdown rate in the red zone. The Jackets have taken it the distance 39 times in 48 visits inside the 20. Only Ohio State (.833 on 50 of 60) is better nationally.
1 – The number of sacks in bowl competition by active players on the Yellow Jackets roster heading into Monday’s game. The sack comes courtesy of cornerback Jemea Thomas, who got it in the 2011 Sun Bowl against Utah. The only other sack by a current Jacket is by safety Isaiah Johnson, who is redshirting. Johnson got his sack in the same game as Thomas.
1 – The number of touchdowns in bowl competition, rushing or receiving, by players on the Yellow Jackets roster heading into Monday’s game. It belongs to David Sims, who caught a three-yard pass from Vad Lee to open the scoring in last year’s Sun Bowl against USC.
2 – The number of times Georgia Tech has played on Dec. 30. They are 0-2, but it’s been a while since playing on the date. They lost in the 1961 Gator Bowl to Penn State, 30-15, and in the 1971 Peach against Ole Miss, 41-18.
2 – The 2013 Yellow Jackets’ rank in scoring offense in school history. Tech’s 36.6 points per game rank third in the ACC and 22nd in the country.
3 – The number of teams in the nation that rank in the top 10 nationally in both rushing offense and rushing defense. Georgia Tech’s 311.7 rypg rank sixth in the country, while their 107.0 rypg allowed rank ninth. Ohio State and Wisconsin also are top 10 in rushing offense and rushing defense.
4 – The number of wins in four games this season when winning the turnover battle. Tech is 24-5 under Johnson when committing fewer turnovers (.828).
5 – The number Yellow Jackets to earn All-ACC honors. OG Shaq Mason was first-team, DE Jeremiah Attaochu was second team, while running backs David Sims and Robert Godhigh and OG Will Jackson were honorable mention.
6 – The number consecutive losses in bowl games against SEC teams. Tech is 3-6 all-time vs. the SEC, with one of those wins coming against Ole Miss. It should be noted that the streak includes four losses from 1960-71. The most recent two losses against the SEC came against LSU, in 2000 and 2008.
6 – The number of wins in eight games by Georgia Tech this season when scoring first. Tech is 35-8 (.814) under Paul Johnson when drawing first blood. Ole Miss also has six wins when scoring first. It is 6-0, but 1-5 when opponents score first.
7 – The number of wins in eight games by the Yellow Jackets this season when holding opponents to 30-or-fewer points. They are 41-15 (.732) in such games under Paul Johnson.
11 – The number of points Georgia Tech needs in the Music City Bowl to reach 25,000 all time.
12 – The number of drives of 80-or-more yards by the Jackets. They’ve allowed three this season.
12.4 – A-Back Robert Godhigh’s nation-leading yards per play average. He’s accounted for 1,114 yards (694 rushing, 420 receiving), on 90 touches (69 carries, 21 receptions).
13 – The number of Godhigh’s touchdowns out of his 16 career scores that have come in the second half of games. Tech is 9-2 when he gets into the end zone. 14 – The number of plays of at least 30 yards made by Godhigh. That’s fourth among FBS players.
20 – The number of sacks Attaochu has recorded in November and December games. He totals 11 in August/September and October (5.5 in each month).
17.79 – Georgia Tech’s average yardage per pass completion — 1,548 yards on 87 completions. That leads the nation. Baylor (17.46) and LSU (16.07) are next.
23.2 – The Yellow Jackets’ points allowed per game in 2013. That’s the lowest since 2009, is nearly six points fewer than the D allowed in 2012 (29.1) and snapped a three-year stretch that saw points allowed increase every year, totaling almost a touchdown.
54 – The number of career games Jamea Thomas will have played once he takes the field Monday. That would tie former teammates T.J. Barnes (2009-12) and Rod Sweeting (2009-12) for the most in school history.
61 – The number of rushing yards B-Back David Sims needs to break into the school’s all-time top 10. Sims enters Monday’s game with 2,214 rushing yards, 11 behind former teammate QB Tevin Washington (2009-12), and 60 behind David Sims (1974-76 — no relation).
62 – The number of solo tackles made this season by Jemea Thomas That’s 23 more than the nearest member of the defense (Brandon Watts and Quayshawn Nealy each have 39 solo stops) and are three more than the number of total tackles by the nearest Jacket (Watts has 59).
74 – The school-bowl-record length of linebacker Quayshawn Nealy’s interception return in the third quarter of the 2011 Sun Bowl against Utah. Nealy’s pick-six of a Jon Hays pass gave Tech a 24-10 lead, but would be their final touchdown, as the Jackets fell, 30-27 in overtime.
186 – The school-bowl-record amount of receiving yards gained by Calvin Johnson in the 2007 Gator Bowl against West Virginia. Johnson also caught two TD passes from Taylor Bennett, making him the most recent of four Jackets to catch two scoring aerials in a bowl game, but Tech fell to the Mountaineers, 38-35.
307 – The NCAA-Bowl-record total rushing yardage gained by P.J. Daniels against Tulsa in the 2004 Humanitarian Bowl. Led by Daniels, who also ran for four touchdowns and totaled 24 points, also school records, the Jackets crushed the Golden Hurricanes, 52-10.
356 – The school-bowl-record amount of total offense accounted for by Joe Hamilton in the 1997 Carquest Bowl against West Virginia. Hamilton passed for 274 yards, while rushing for 82 more, with three touchdowns, in earning MVP honors in the 35-30 win.
371 – The school-bowl-record amount of rushing yards gained by Georgia Tech in the 2004 Humanitarian Bowl against Tulsa. That came on 54 rushing attempts, which is actually 25 fewer than Tech’s bowl record, set in the 1965 Gator Bowl against Texas Tech, a 31-21 victory.
514 – The school-bowl-record amount of total offense produced in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl win over Syracuse.
10 Things To Know About Ole Miss (plus why the Rebels might root for Georgia Tech to win the coin toss)
.647 – The winning percentage of Ole Miss all-time in bowl games. The Rebels are 22-12 in their previous 34 appearances. Only Southern Cal’s .660 percentage (31-16) ranks higher among FBS schools (minimum 25 appearances) than the Rebels.
3 – The number of coaches in Ole Miss history that have gone to bowls in each of their first two seasons with the Rebels. Freeze joins David Cutcliffe, who won the 1998 and ’99 Independence Bowls, beating Texas Tech, 35-18, then Oklahoma, 27-25, and his predecessor, Houston Nutt, who won back-to-back AT&T Cotton Bowl Classics, as his No. 20 Rebels upended No. 8 Texas Tech, 47-34, in the ’09, then took care of Oklahoma State, 21-7, in the ’10 game.
3 – The number of fourth-quarter touchdowns thrown in a losing effort by then-freshman quarterback Eli Manning in Ole Miss’ previous trip to the Music City Bowl in 2000.
4 – The number of times in the last six games that the Ole Miss offense has produced at least 500 yards of offense. The Rebels started with a 525-yard effort against LSU — the most allowed by the Tigers this season — on Oct. 19, had 572 against Idaho the following weekend, 531 vs. Arkansas on Nov. 9, and 751 against Troy on Nov. 16.
10 – The strength of Ole Miss’ 2013 schedule according to Jeff Sagarin. Included amongst the Rebels’ five losses this season are defeats at then-No. 1 Alabama, at current No. 2 Auburn, against then No. 9 Texas A&M, and No. 8 Missouri, the SEC East champ. Their other came in overtime at Mississippi State. Ole Miss also had a stretch of four straight games where they met three top-10 teams, (at then-top-ranked Alabama, at Auburn, vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, and vs. No. 6/8 LSU). They ended that stretch by upsetting LSU.
19/214 – The number of completions and total yards junior quarterback Bo Wallace needs to set school-single-season records. Wallace, in his second season as starter, heads into the Music City Bowl with 261 completions, 18 behind Eli Manning’s school record of 279, set in 2002. Wallace’s 3,359 yards of total offense currently rank third in school history, trailing Eli, who holds the school-record with 3,572 set in 2003, and is 213 yards behind his own 2012 total.
67/557/5 – Freshman wide receiver Laquon Treadwell’s school freshman records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. He better than doubled the old receptions mark (31, set two years ago by Donte Moncrief), and has blown past the marks for yardage (465, set in 2002 by Mike Espy) and touchdowns (4, set in ’11 by Moncrief). Treadwell’s 46.4 receiving yards per game and five TDs lead all freshmen. He was second in receptions in SEC play (6.8 catches per game). Moncrief, by the way, ranked fourth in the SEC in receiving yards (79.5) in conference play this past season.
70/10.5 – The team-leading number of tackles and tackles for loss by junior linebacker Serderius Bryant. The Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List candidate is second on the team with 3.0 sacks and his 1.05 TFLs per game tie for fifth in the SEC. Bryant did that damage even with missing two games.
473.0 – The Rebels’ total offense per game. That ranks fifth in the SEC and 21st nationally. Ole Miss also is third in the conference and 24th in the nation in passing offense (285.6 ypg).
5,676 – The total offense gained by Ole Miss heading into Monday’s game. Every yard the Rebels gain will add on to their school-single-season record.
5 – The number of times in 2013 that Ole Miss won the coin toss but lost the game. The Rebels won the coin toss nine times during the season, but were only 4-5, and saw their luck spiral downward thereafter in five of the last seven games in which they won the flip. They put up four of their lowest-scoring games of the season among those five games. Having played at Auburn, at Alabama, and against Missouri, may also have contributed. They also lost 17-10 in the Egg Bowl at Mississippi State. The fifth loss was a 41-38 defeat to Texas A&M. The Rebels were 3-0 when losing the coin toss, including upsetting LSU.
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