Dec. 30, 2011
EL PASO, Texas – Georgia Tech, playing in a bowl game for the 15th consecutive season, will take on Utah Dec. 31 in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas (2:00 p.m. ET/CBS).
The Yellow Jackets, 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC (tied for second in the Coastal Division), will make their second Sun Bowl appearance and first since 1970. Tech will play Utah for just the second time.
The Jackets, picked to finish fourth in the Coastal Division, surprised the experts with their 6-0 start while producing staggering numbers on offense. Tech went 2-4 down the stretch against an extremely difficult schedule (wins over No. 6 Clemson and on the road at Duke; losses on the road to Virginia and Miami, and home defeats against No. 10 Virginia Tech and No. 13 Georgia.
Tech, one of the youngest teams in college football (just 10 scholarship seniors on the roster), leads the ACC in rushing offense (316.8 yards per game), total offense (459.6) and scoring offense (34.9).
Utah, 7-5 and 4-5 in the Pac-12, closed the season by winning four of its last five games and the Utes went 3- 0 in 2011 against non-conference competition (Montana State, BYU, Pittsburgh).
The Utes, 12-4 all-time in bowl games including 6-1 under coach Kyle Whittingham, was in contention for the Pac-12 South Division title until an upset loss to Colorado on Nov. 25. Utah is in its first season in the Pac-12.
The only previous meeting between Georgia Tech and Utah came in the 2005 Emerald Bowl — a 38-10 Utes’ victory in San Francisco, Calif.
BRIEFLY ABOUT THE HYUNDAI SUN BOWL
– The Sun Bowl, along with the Sugar Bowl, are the second-oldest bowl games behind the Rose Bowl. The inaugural Sun Bowl was played in 1935.
– The Hyundai Sun Bowl’s association with the ACC began last year when Miami represented the league against Notre Dame.
– A crowd of 54,021 attended last year’s Sun Bowl.
GEORGIA TECH HAS STRONG BOWL TRADITION
– With its 15th consecutive bowl appearance, Georgia Tech has a tie for the fourth-longest active streak. The Yellow Jackets trail only Florida State (30), Florida (21) and Virginia Tech (19).
– Tech will make its 40th bowl appearance overall, tying for the 12th-most nationally.
– With a record of 22-17 in bowl games, Tech has the ninth-highest bowl winning percentage nationally and a tie for the 10th-most bowl victories.
– Despite its long success in bowl games, the Jackets will be attempting to snap a streak of six consecutive losses in bowl games.
– Georgia Tech was the first school to win each of the four traditional major bowls — the Rose, Orange, Sugar and Cotton. It completed that feat in 1955.
– Following the 2009 season, Tech played in a BCS bowl game — the Orange Bowl — against Iowa.
– Tech’s first bowl game was the 1929 Rose Bowl — the famous “Wrong Way Riegels” game against California.
NOTING THE YELLOW JACKETS
– Georgia Tech ranks in the top 20 nationally in 11 different categories: third down percentage (1st), rushing (3rd), punt return defense (6th), red-zone offense (12th), fewest penalties (12th), fewest penalty yards (13th), total offense (17th), sacks allowed (17th), tackles for loss allowed (18th), scoring offense (19th) and passing efficiency (19th).
– Georgia Tech is one of just four FBS schools rushing for more than 300 yards per game, and the Yellow Jackets are one of eight teams that have converted at least 50 percent of their third-down attempts.
– The Yellow Jackets finished tied for second in the ACC’s Coastal Division despite preseason predictions that picked Tech fourth.
– With a win in the bowl game, Tech would have nine wins for the third time in four seasons under Paul Johnson and for the 10th time in the last 55 years.
– The Jackets are 485 yards shy of producing 6,000 yards of total offense for the season.
– There are just 10 scholarship seniors on the Tech roster (11 total).
– The Yellow Jackets have produced eight one-play touchdown drives. Last season Tech had zero.
– Tech has produced seven touchdown drives of 90 yards or longer, which are the most by any team nationally. The Jackets have seven TD drives that lasted seven minutes or longer.
– Junior quarterback Tevin Washington, senior Roddy Jones and junior Orwin Smith give Tech three current career 1,000-yard rushers. Senior Embry Peeples enters the bowl game 24 yards shy of 1,000 career rushing yards.
– Smith averages 10.3 yards per carry and has rushed for a touchdown once every 5.45 carries (11 TDs, 60 attempts).
– Nine of junior Stephen Hill’s 26 receptions have been of 40 yards or longer, including three 70 yards or longer. Hill averages more yards per reception (30.2) than any player in all of the NCAA, regardless of division.
– Junior linebacker Julian Burnett ranks fifth in the ACC and 32nd nationally in tackles (113). He has 44 more tackles than any other Tech player.
– Coach Paul Johnson is 12-3 at Tech in games decided by five points or less.
– Tech threw at least two touchdown passes in a game four times this season (but no TD passes since Oct. 1). Last season it had one game with two TD passes (at Wake Forest).
– Tech had a 100-yard receiver four times and a 100- yard rusher six times this season.
– The Yellow Jackets have played 10 true freshmen – DB/PR Zach Laskey, LB Kyle Travis, LB Tremayne McNair, LB Nick Menocal, CB Jamal Golden, OL Shaq Mason, WR Jeff Greene, WR Darren Waller, DB Corey Dennis and LS Sean Tobin.
– Tech has used two players to kickoff (Justin Moore, David Scully), two placekickers (Moore, Scully), two punters (Sean Poole, Chandler Anderson), four kick returners (Orwin Smith, Tony Zenon, Roddy Jones, Embry Peeples) and two punt returners (Zach Laskey, Jemea Thomas).
– The Jackets are out-scoring opponents 115-55 in the first quarter and 104-44 in the third quarter, but are being out-scored 103-73 in the fourth quarter.
– Tech has had 141 offensive possessions this season and has scored 56 touchdowns.
– Georgia Tech, with a bowl game victory, could possibly finish ranked in the top 25 for the third time in the last four years.
– Tech began the season 6-0 for the first time since 1966 and 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since 2006.
DID YOU KNOW? Georgia Tech team dentist, Dr. Aaron King, was on the Yellow Jacket staff in 1970 when they played in the Sun Bowl.