Music City Bowl 2013: Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss TV Info, Predictions and More
The famous Music City Bowl provides us with an entertaining matchup between Georgia Tech and Ole Miss. This could end up being the best non-BCS bowl game of the 2013 season.
Two years under head coach Hugh Freeze, two straight bowl appearances for Ole Miss. The Rebels haven't played in two straight bowl games since the first two seasons under Houston Nutt. Mississippi's only other appearance in the Music City Bowl resulted in a loss to West Virginia in 2000.
Georgia Tech has reached a bowl game every season since 1997 but is 1-4 under head coach Paul Johnson in bowl games. However, that lone win came last season in the Sun Bowl. This will be the Yellow Jackets' first appearance in the Music City Bowl.
These two schools have met three times in the past, and Georgia Tech has won two of the three.
Date: Dec. 30
Time: 3:15 p.m. ET
Place: LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.)
Ole Miss Keys to Victory
Pressure, Pressure, Pressure
Ole Miss doesn't sack the quarterback a whole lot (18), but 78 tackles for loss was good for fifth-best in the SEC. This is a good indication of how fast this defense can be and how everybody plays like their hair is on fire.
This is a youthful bunch that does a wonderful job of flying to the football and making plays in the backfield. These type of plays help force turnovers and put running offenses in a bad spot. And as we all know, Georgia Tech butters its bread in the running game.
Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
The Rebels offense is already tough to defend with the amount of playmakers on that side of the ball. But it's the no-huddle and uptempo offense the team uses that really starts creating problems for the opponent.
This pace really confuses the defense and helps create mismatches and blown coverages due to players being out of position and sometimes not even ready for the play. It's important Ole Miss runs a quick offense but is also able to limit the mistakes.
Georgia Tech Keys to Victory
Take Advantage of Throwing Opportunities
It's no secret that Georgia Tech is a running offense with an average of 311.7 rushing yards per game. The passing game is almost nonexistent with an average of 129 passing yards. The defense will be preparing for the run more times than not, and that will provide the Yellow Jackets with the opportunity to make plays through the air.
Ole Miss is likely going to load the box more times than not and dare Vlad Lee to throw the ball. There won't be many times when he connects on a big passing play, but those one or two could be the difference in the ball game.
Get After the Quarterback
Bo Wallace can be a turnover machine. It was a problem last season, and it's starting to creep back into his game this year with four interceptions in his last two games. The game plan is always the same against him: Get pressure, and he'll make mistakes. The good news is that Georgia Tech has two pass rushers who have more than five sacks on the season.
This team can get after the quarterback with regularity and is certain to dial up plenty of blitzes against Wallace and his offensive line. Force a few interceptions, and the Yellow Jackets can win.
Players to Watch for Ole Miss
Laquon Treadwell, Wide Receiver
Treadwell is one of the fastest wide receivers in the country. He catches a lot of short passes and is a threat to score every time. He has seven games with at least five receptions, and 11 of those catches have produced 15 or more yards. He's also a versatile receiver who can line up just about anywhere on the field, and he's even thrown four passes.
Treadwell will continue to play a big role for Ole Miss and will certainly see a lot of action in this bowl game.
Robert Nkemdiche, Defensive Lineman
Another freshman, this time on the defensive side of the ball. Nkemdiche hasn't exactly had the stat-filled season everybody was hoping for, but he has been a critical piece on defense and gives offensive linemen somebody to worry about each week. He's a handful with his variety of pass-rush moves and brute strength. As if that weren't enough, the coaching staff is using him more and more on offense.
Nkemdiche is getting a lot more comfortable and is due for a breakout performance against a team that loves to run the ball.
Donte Moncrief, Wide Receiver—Moncrief is another receiver to watch during the game. He has terrific height at 6'3" and runs excellent routes. He's a tough cover for any cornerback.
Players to Watch for Georgia Tech
David Sims, Running Back
Sims is a powerful running back and an unfair matchup in the triple option. He's 6'0", 225 pounds and is a lot like a human bowling ball once he gets downfield. He's extremely difficult to tackle and often bounces off defenders who are brave enough to step in his way. Sims always keeps his legs turning and usually falls forward for extra yardage.
He's carried the ball 151 times for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, and he'll once again get the bulk of the touches.
Jemea Thomas, Defensive Back
Thomas is the leading tackler for Georgia Tech with 73 on the season, but he's also one of the biggest playmakers on this defense. Not only is he a tackling machine, but he's also intercepted two passes, has two sacks, forced a couple of fumbles and batted down eight passes. Thomas has great anticipation on the field and is comfortable playing close to the line of scrimmage.
As usual, he'll make a big play at some point for the Yellow Jackets.
Jeremiah Attaochu, Linebacker—Attaochu is a rangy athlete at 6'3", 242 pounds. He covers a ton of ground and has experience playing both defensive end and linebacker. He's a fun player to watch.
What They Are Saying
After the bowl announcement, head coach Paul Johnson took to Twitter to campaign for the Yellow Jackets fanbase to show up:
We're excited for opportunity to play in @MusicCityBowl against Ole Miss, looking forward to seeing a lot of gold and white in Nashville!— Paul Johnson (@GTPaulJohnson) December 9, 2013
Atlanta and Nashville are about a four-hour car ride from one another, according to MapQuest. Assuming many Georgia Tech fans will have a few days off, there's little excuse for the place not to be packed with them.
As for the actual matchup, Andrew Jones of Fox Sports brought up an interesting question:
Ole Miss-GT in the Music City Bowl is a good matchup, too. Which GT team will show up?— Andrew Jones (@AJonesACC) December 9, 2013
Georgia Tech has been up-and-down throughout the year, sometimes losing a few games in a row. However, wins over Duke and a close contest against Georgia proved that there is potential with this team. Hopefully, the good Yellow Jackets show up.
After the Rebels' win over Arkansas, head coach Hugh Freeze said that he likes the pace his team is maturing at, per Mike Herndon of The Mississippi Press:
But a great sign for our program in Year Two is that we're able to win an SEC football game when we may not play our best, he said. I hope it's a sign that we're maturing, we're heading a little in the right direction. We're still young in a lot of places and it shows maybe in the maturity.
Here's to hoping both teams get off the bus and provide us with a quality contest.
I see this game going either way. The running game of Georgia Tech can really eat up the clock, and the defense is feisty enough to give Ole Miss fits. If Bo Wallace turns the ball over at a high rate, the Yellow Jackets should have no problem winning the game.
However, I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that the Rebels squeeze out the victory. Wallace doesn't turn the ball over, and the playmakers are able to put points on the board. Considering the Yellow Jackets have no passing game, it's tough to see them keeping up with all of the firepower of Ole Miss.
The Rebels defense will fly to the football and force Georgia Tech to make plays in the passing game, something it hasn't been able to do much this season. It's a clash between two different teams, and with this type of matchup, you have to go with the more balanced team that is capable of moving the ball more than one way.
Give me Ole Miss in a thriller.
Rebels win 35-28