The 2013 edition of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl could be one of its most interesting. Both Ole Miss and Georgia Tech enter with the same record, but reached them in entirely different ways, particularly on offense.
Ole Miss Rebels (7-5 overall, 3-5 SEC) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5 overall, 5-3 ACC)
2013 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Monday, December 30, at LP Field
Ole Miss Season Results – W39-35 at Vanderbilt, W31-13 SE Missouri State, W44-23 at Texas, L25-0 at Alabama, L30-22 at Auburn, L41-38 Texas A&M, W27-24 LSU, W59-14 Idaho, W34-24 Arkansas, W51-21 Troy, L24-10 Missouri, L17-10 (OT) at Mississippi State.
Overall Bowl Record: 22-12 (Last – 1/5/2013 W38-17 Pittsburgh at Compass Bowl)
Georgia Tech Season Results – W70-0 Elon, W38-14 at Duke, W28-20 North Carolina, L17-10 Virginia Tech, L45-30 at Miami, L38-20 at BYU, W56-0 Syracuse, W35-25 at Virginia, W21-10 Pittsburgh, L55-31 at Clemson, W66-7 Alabama A&M, L41-34 (2OT) Georgia.
Overall Bowl Record: 23-18 (Last – 12/31/2012 W21-7 Southern California at Sun Bowl)
Ole Miss employs a spread offense much like many around college football, but it was a bit of a surprise to see the Rebels actually run the ball 24 more times than they passed it this year. The most dangerous threat out of the backfield is Jeff Scott. Though hampered with injuries, which caused him to miss four full games, Scott still accounted for 497 yards and four touchdowns rushing. He also returned a punt for a score this year. Donte Moncrief and Laquon Treadwell lead a balanced receiving group, the pair combining for 115 yards per game and 10 touchdowns.
On defense, the Rebels were paced by Serderius Bryant and Cody Prewitt with 70 total tackles each. Prewitt had 50 solos and intercepted six passes. Andrew Ritter was 15-for-21 kicking field goals and has long range.
Georgia Tech, on the other hand, runs a traditional triple-option running-based offense, something much more common in the ‘70s or ‘80s. When smooth, it is one of the most exciting and beautiful offenses to watch. Tech ran the ball 664 times and passed only 186 times this season. Part of why they run so much is the fact that passing is often difficult, only completing 46.8% and throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, 12-11.
Vad Lee runs the show, and has dynamic ability, but decision-making is still a work in progress at times. Twelve different Tech rushers totaled more than 100 yards with David Sims’ 846 leading the way, with eleven TDs. Robert Godhigh is the breakaway threat averaging an astounding 10.1 yards per carry on 69 carries. Godhigh also caught 21 passes for 20 yards a pop. DeAndre Smelter caught a team-high four touchdowns.
The single best player in this game is likely Tech’s DE
Jeremiah Attaochu, the all-American garnered 12 sacks, 15½ tackles for loss, and was generally a menace for all who opposed him. Jemea Thomas led with 73 tackles including 62 solos.
Tech lost 10 fumbles and turnovers, along with the lack of passing game, tends to hinder them. But they were among the nation’s leaders scoring a touchdown 81% of the time in the red zone, 39-of-48. Tech wants to grind things out and Ole Miss wants to speed things up. It really does come down to the quarterbacks, each with so much of the burden. The Rebels seemed to lose their way down the stretch. Wallace seemed to lose his confidence. Expect a close, exciting game—and a Georgia Tech victory 34-30.