Pac-12 newcomer Utah heads to El Paso to take on Georgia Tech in the 2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl. Utah went 4-5 in Pac-12 play this year and finished 7-5 overall. Fortunately for the Utes, they did not have to play against the top two teams from the Pac-12, Oregon and Stanford, this season. The Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech started the season 6-0 but finished with an 8-4 overall record. The biggest victory for Georgia Tech came on October 29th when they beat #5 Clemson 31-17.
When Georgia Tech is on Offense
Georgia Tech was 19th in the country in scoring at 34.9 points per game. The Yellow Jackets like to run, run, and run some more. Georgia Tech averaged 316.8 yards per game on the ground this season, 3rd best in college football. Quarterback Tevin Washington is the key to the Yellow Jackets offense. Washington only threw for 1515 yards, but he was the leading rusher with 890 yards and 14 touchdowns. David Sims (698 yards), Orwin Smith (616), Roddy Jones (438), and Embry Peeples (422) all had over 400 yards rushing for Georgia Tech. Smith and Peeples averaged 10.3 and 11.1 yards per carry respectively. When Georgia Tech does throw the ball they look to Stephen Hill who averages over 30 yards per catch and has 785 yards receiving this year.
Utah’s defense was 17th in the country allowing only 19.7 points per game. However, Utah did not face any offenses like Georgia Tech’s this season and had to spend a lot of time in the film room in preparation. The Utes’ defense was great against the pass with 30 sacks and 19 interceptions this season, unfortunately for the Utes they won’t get many chances to defend the pass against Georgia Tech.
When Utah is on Offense
Utah’s offense ranked 78th in the nation in scoring at 24.6 points per game. Quarterback Jon Hays completed 57% of his passes with 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. DeVonte Christopher was the top receiver for the Utes with 38 catches for 589 yards. John White IV had the 6th most carries in college football this season with 290 carries for 1404 yards. White is nursing an ankle injury and is listed as probable for the Hyundai Sun Bowl. The Utes need White as close to 100% healthy as possible when they take on Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets gave up an average of 25.8 points per game this season. Georgia Tech’s defense only came up with 20 sacks in 12 games this season. Georgia Tech will be successful if they can force Utah into obvious passing downs.
2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl Pick Against the Spread
Oddsmakers currently have Georgia Tech favored by 2.5 points over Utah. Georgia Tech will score points against Utah and I don’t think the Utes have enough weapons on offense to keep pace. I like Georgia Tech to win and cover the 2.5 points.
2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl Prediction
Georgia Tech – 31
Utah – 21