Archive for December, 2009

Iowa Hawkeyes vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – Orange Bowl Odds

December 17, 2009

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets won a lot of games this year by hanging on to small leads while the Iowa Hawkeyes kept winning games by coming from behind with last-minute scoring drives.

Maybe we should just skip the game, spot Georgia Tech the two points, give Iowa the ball and play the last minute.

That wouldn’t be much fun, but don’t be surprised if this is a close game decided in the last minute.

The Yellow Jackets are 4-point Orange Bowl Odds favorites and the over/under is 51.

The big question going in to this game is whether the Hawkeyes be able to stop the Yellow Jackets triple-option spread offense.

Georgia Tech has the second best running game in the nation averaging 307.2 yards.

Jonathan Dwyer, the primary running back, picked up an astounding 6.1 yards per carry.

Astounding that is until you see Anthony Allen’s 9.8 yards per carry. Allen picked up almost 600 yards with a limited number of touches.

The running backs are complemented by mobile quarterback Josh Nesbitt who ran the ball for 991 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Like other quarterbacks running the spread offense, Nesbitt gets most of his offense on the ground. He isn’t asked to pass very often and when he does pass it is mostly to spread the coverage out to open up more room for the runners.

All of the running Nesbitt and the running backs do opens up a lot of room for big passing plays.

This is reflected in his passing numbers. His completion percentage is just 47.7%, but he gets his high quarterback rating of 156.8 on the strength of 10 touchdowns against 4 interceptions and a whopping 11.04 yards per attempt.

The Iowa Hawkeyes kept winning games in the last minute and stayed undefeated for most of the season while not getting the respect they deserve from NCAA football blogs and news papers.

The Hawkeyes haven’t faced a spread offense this year so it will be interesting to see how they adapt.

Coach Kirk Ferentz does have about a month to game-plan and prepare so it will be curious to see how his players respond.

Iowa’s defense gives up the run a little in exchange for locking down the pass.

They’ve only given up an average of 164.7 yards per game in the air, but allowed almost as much on the ground at 122.0 yards per game.

This isn’t going to work against Georgia Tech who will be happy to pound the ball on the ground.

Before you write Iowa off, they have been able to come up big for important games and at important times. They did fall short in overtime against Ohio State, but that was without quarterback Ricky Stanzi.

It’s never easy to judge how players will perform under pressure, but the Hawkeyes have faced a lot of pressure situations this year and, more often than not, come out victorious.

For all of their experience under pressure though, the only way the Hawkeyes are going to win this is with a brilliantly conceived and executed game-plan.

And I don’t see it happening.