Thursday, December 29, 2005

Battle by the Bay


VS


Georgia Tech (7-4, 5-3) vs Utah (6-5, 4-4) San Francisco, CA 4:30 ET ESPN


Line: GT –8; Total: 46
ATS: GT 5-6 Utah 2-7-2
O/U: GT 3-8 Utah 6-5
Games over 46: GT-3 (Under-8)
Games over 46: Utah-8 (Under-3)

Georgia Tech and Utah will meet for the first time in the Emerald Bowl at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco. The Yellow Jackets will need to fight disappointment after being passed over by other bowls to beat a Utah team, which won 3 of its last 4 contests. Georgia Tech is one of two teams (Southern Cal) to beat 2 Top 10 teams this year (Auburn, Miami). Both the Utes and Jackets played North Carolina this season; Georgia Tech defeated the Tar Heels in Atlanta 27-21 while Utah lost 17-31 in Chapel Hill.

Georgia Tech Offense:
Key Players:
QB Reggie Ball (1,907 Passing Yards, 379 Rushing Yards, 14 TD)
RB PJ Daniels (821 Rushing Yards, 157 Receiving Yards, 4 TD)
WR Calvin Johnson (869 Receiving Yards, 6 TD, 2nd Team AA)
98th in Scoring Offense (19.3)
48th in Rushing Offense (156.2)
81st in Total Offense (345.7)

Utah Defense:
Key Players: CB Eric Weddle, LB Spencer Tooner, DL Steve Fifita
58th in Scoring Defense (25.4)
64th in Rushing Defense (152.3)
61st in Total Defense (372.8)

Georgia Tech Defense:
Key Players:
DE Eric Henderson, LB Gerris Wilkinson, FS Dawan Landry
16th in Scoring Defense (18.4)
11th in Rushing Defense (98.0)
10th in Total Defense (296.4)

Utah Offense:
Key Players:
QB Brent Ratliff (3 GP, 261 Passing Yards, 4 TD)
RB Quinton Ganther (1000 Rushing Yards, 6 TD)
WR Brian Hernandez(634 Receiving Yards, 3 TD)
43rd in Scoring Offense (29.3)
15th in Passing Offense (286.6)
12th in Total Offense (466.0)

Turnovers:
Georgia Tech: +0.82 per game
Utah: -0.09 per game

Record vs Bowl Teams:
Georgia Tech: 3-4
Utah: 1-2

Georgia Tech Best Win: @ Miami (9-2) 14-10
Georgia Tech Worst Loss: @ Va Tech (10-2) 7-51

Utah Best Win: @ BYU (6-5) 41-34
Utah Worst Loss: @ San Diego St (5-7) 19-28

Key Injuries:
Utah: QB Brian Johnson, WR John Madsen

GT: OT Brad Honeycutt

Prediction:
Georgia Tech is clearly the better team in this matchup bringing in one of the best defenses in the nation. The Yellow Jackets are +26 this season in sacks made versus sacks allowed. For Tech to win, they must put the ball in the hands of PJ Daniels and their defense. Utah will need to slow the running game and force Reggie Ball to beat them in order to have a good chance. Utah will be starting Junior college transfer Brett Ratliff, who made his first start against BYU and threw four TD passes. Ratliff is a dual-threat QB, the same type who has Georgia Tech trouble this season because of their aggressive style. Both Calvin Johnson and PJ Daniels should have big days against a weak Utes Defense. The big key for Tech will be the play of QB Reggie Ball. In 20 wins as a starter, Ball has thrown 30 TD to 14 INT. In 15 losses, the Junior has thrown just 6 TD passes and 25 INT. Ball had a rough outing last game against Georgia, so expect him to bounce back with a steady performance.
Georgia Tech 28 Utah 17

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