Independence Bowl: 10 Things You Need to Know About Air Force Vs. Georgia Tech
On December 27, Air Force will face Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl.
Without further ado, here are 10 things you need to know about the game.
The Bowl pits MWC No. 3 (Air Force) vs. ACC No. 7 (Georgia Tech).
The game will be played at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. This gives GT a geographic advantage; a team from the South has won the last three times (Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Georgia).
However, Air Force boasts a 2-0 record in Independence Bowl games. This will be GT's first appearance.
Troy Calhoun is in his fourth season with Air Force. He sports a 33-18 record, including 1-2 in bowl season.
Paul Johnson has coached Georgia Tech for three seasons. He previously coached at Georgia Southern and Navy. He has a 2-4 bowl record, 0-2 with Georgia Tech.
Air Force Coming In
Air Force is on a bit of a roll, winning its past three games by at least 15 points. The Falcons seem to have righted the ship after consecutive losses to San Diego State, TCU and Utah.
An 8-4 season is par for the course under Troy Calhoun. He should have no problem getting his team to play on December 27th.
Georgia Tech Coming In
GT comes in on a cold streak, having lost four of its past five games.
After last year's trip to the Orange Bowl, this season has to feel like a letdown. With GT mired in a slump in the midst of a disappointing season, coach Paul Johnson will have a tough job motivating his team to play.
Air Force Offense
Air Force averages the second most rushing yards per game at 318. QB Tim Jefferson leads a tepid passing offense that is 115th in the NCAA at 119.5 yards per game.
Georgia Tech Defense
GT surrenders 26.2 points per game. They give up lots of yards too: 169.7 rushing yards and 209 passing yards per game. Air Force will not test them aerially but will pose a tough test for their rushing defense.
Georgia Tech Offense
GT statistically has the best running attack in the nation with 327 yards a game. With a ground game that good, why pass?
Starting QB Joshua Nesbitt did not play the last three games due to injury. Nesbitt intends to lead the Yellow Jackets in their bowl game. If he returns, the GT offense will get a nice boost.
Air Force Defense
Air Force gave up 22.3 points per game. They are fifth in passing yards allowed, surrendering just 156.7 yards per game.
Their running defense is another story, giving up nearly 200 yards per contest. Against the nation's best rushing attack, that isn't going to cut it.
Why Should We Watch?
If you are a passing aficionado, this game is not for you. This game will be about running, running and more running. Due to less than stellar defenses, Air Force and Georgia Tech should combine for more than 600 rushing yards.
Are those leather helmets?
What to Expect
This should be a good game. Due to the similarity of their offenses, the game should be close throughout. If one should fall behind by three scores, don't expect a comeback. Neither has the quick strike ability or suffocating defense necessary to climb out of such a deficit.
I give the edge to Air Force. They come in on a three-game winning streak and have faced an arguably tougher schedule, including a game against the nation's stingiest defense, TCU.
However, should QB Joshua Nesbitt return, GT might get the boost necessary to pull out the victory.
Prediction: Air Force 34, Georgia Tech 24