Iowa-Georgia Tech: Four Matchups to Watch in the Orange Bowl

Kevin TrahanAnalyst IDecember 20, 2009

While most of the national media has been talking about the Fiesta Bowl and the National Championship, the Orange Bowl may offer the most intriguing match-up of all the BCS bowls.

Georgia Tech's triple option attack will go against Iowa's elite defense in what figures to be one of the most exciting  matchups of the bowl season. Will Iowa's impressive defensive front be able to slow down the rushing attack of Georiga Tech?

Let's take a look at the most intriguing individual matchups.

Georiga Tech Quarterback Josh Nesbitt vs. Iowa Defensive End Adrian Clayborn

Paul Johnson's Georiga Tech offense has perfected the triple option and become one of the most lethal offenses in the game.

With the exception of a game against Miami, the Yellow Jackets flew by their opponents using their outstanding running game. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt is at the center of the triple option attack and has been great both through the air and on the ground, throwing for 1,689 yards and rushing for 991.

But Tech hasn't seen anything like Iowa's defensive front, in particular, defensive end Adrian Clayborn.

For all of those "experts" saying that Iowa can't win because they don't have speed, meet Adrian Clayborn.

He has harrased opposing offenses all season and has caused very good quarterbacks, such as Darryl Clark and Scott Tolzien, to have off days. He penetrates through the line on almost every play and his ability to stop Nesbitt will be one of the keys to the game.

Georgia Tech Running Back Jonathan Dwyer vs. Iowa Linebacker Pat Angerer

While Nesbitt alone has impressive rushing numbers, Jonathan Dwyer adds even more yards to the team rushing total and turns the Yellow Jacket offense into a dual threat unit. He has rushed for 1,346 yards this season and would likely have even more if Nesbitt weren't in the backfield with him.


Once again, Dwyer hasn't seen a linebacker like Pat Angerer all year. Angerer leads the Hawkeyes with 135 tackles and was selected first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association. At 5'11 1/2", 233 pounds, he isn't big for a linebacker, but his determination and strength are unmatched by any of his opponents.

And unlike the other linebackers Dwyer faced in the ACC, he won't be able to run past Angerer, who has the fastest 40 yard dash time (4.5 seconds) of any NFL Draft eligible senior linebacker.

Georgia Tech Receiver Demaryius Thomas vs. Iowa Corner Amari Spievey

Although Georgia Tech is primarily a run-first team, they have stated that they plan to throw the ball early and often to test the Iowa defense. Thomas will likely be at the center of the passing attack, as he leads the Yellow Jacket offense with 1154 yards and eight touchdowns, with most of those yards coming on big plays.

Iowa cornerback Amari Spievey will be responsible for covering Thomas, and if he can make Georgia Tech one-dimensional, Iowa has a very good chance of winning.

Spievey is one of the best corners in the Big Ten and has tremendous speed, along with great hands. He'll definitely have those hands full in Miami, but he and safety Tyler Sash must be at their best to try to shut down the Georgia Tech passing attack.

Georgia Tech Defensive End Derrick Morgan vs. Iowa Offensive Tackle Brian Bulaga

While many see this game to be won at the skill positions, one of the best matchups takes place in the trenches.

Both Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan and Iowa offensive tackle Brian Bulaga are among the best at their respective positions and both figure to be high draft picks if they decide to leave school early for the NFL.

But the player who makes this matchup even more interesting is Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi. Stanzi will be playing for the first time in nearly two months after injuring his ankle against Northwestern on November 7. Bulaga needs to keep Stanzi protected to ensure his ankle isn't reaggravated, but Morgan will be one of the best opponents he sees all season.