Dec. 27, 2014
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – For the seventh time in program history, and the second time under head coach Paul Johnson, the Capital One Orange Bowl officially welcomed Georgia Tech to Miami as the Yellow Jackets arrived in South Florida just after 10 p.m. ET on Friday night.
The city rolled out the Orange Carpet as dozens of Orange Bowl committee members welcomed the Yellow Jackets and their traveling party of approximately 250 people.
“We’re extremely excited,” said ACC Coach of the Year Paul Johnson. “That is the number one goal in our program every year. We’re excited to be here. The last few games we played Clemson, Georgia, Florida State so we are accustomed to playing in this kind of game.”
The 12th-ranked Yellow Jackets bring a 10-3 record to its Orange Bowl match-up on New Year’s Eve versus seventh-ranked Mississippi State (10-2), which arrived earlier Friday in Miami.
Georgia Tech returned from a brief holiday break and practiced Friday in Atlanta before departing for Miami.
“We had a good practice this afternoon,” said Johnson. Then we made the trip. We felt like that is a good way to do it.”
The Orange Bowl matches up two of the nation’s best dynamic, play-making quarterbacks in Georgia Tech sophomore Justin Thomas and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott. The duo have combined for 1,904 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns, while passing for 4,590 yards combined and 41 TDs.
“(This is) very exciting,” said Thomas. “We set our goals and reached them. We did big things this year. Now it is time to finish the job. We just need to come out the same way we did the last game. We need to come out with high intensity. We need to start fast. And we need to keep the offense moving forward.”
Tech’s bowl week schedule kicks into high gear on Saturday morning as members of the team visit a local children’s’ hospital. The Yellow Jackets practice at 1 p.m. with an Orange Bowl Welcome Party set for Saturday night.
“The greeting coming off the plane was a great — what a great feeling,” said senior linebacker and Lakeland, Fla., native Quayshawn Nealy, “As soon as we got off the plane all of this humidity, I’m from Florida, but still this Miami heat is crazy. But for this game we are definitely excited, ready to get out there and play.”