For Paul Johnson’s final game of his Georgia Tech career, the Yellow Jackets will face Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl.
It’s no secret that Georgia Tech was disrespected in the bowl process. Despite being the 5th best team in the conference and having more fan support than certain other teams, Georgia Tech was selected to travel to Detroit to play the day after Christmas. Obviously not a favorable draw and the fans won’t enjoy it but the players certainly are thankful for it, and for good reason. After starting the season 1-3, Paul Johnson and the players finally settled down, alleviated some of the mistakes, and ended with a 6-2 record.
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- Paul Johnson will have a chance to get his 6th 8 win season with Georgia Tech. Prior to Johnson, the Yellow Jackets had won eight games in a season just eight times in the previous 40 seasons.
- Paul Johnson will have a chance to get his 4th bowl win with Georgia Tech
- This will be the first meeting between the Golden Gophers and Yellow Jackets as well as the first meeting between Georgia Tech and a Big Ten opponent since 2009 when Georgia Tech lost to Iowa in the Orange Bowl.
- If Georgia Tech can rush for 428 or more yards, this team will break the single season record for rushing yards per game. The current record is 342.1 YPG by the 2014 team.
- If Georgia Tech wins, they would be tied for 9th all-time in bowl victories with Nebraska and possibly LSU (if they beat UCF).
On Twitter, I posed a series of prediction polls with varying results but overall, most answers were similar to mine.
Georgia Tech comes into this game with momentum from their previous 8 games but also has some matchups going in their favor. Despite only allowing 170 rushing yards per game, Minnesota’s defense has had some awful defensive performances. In 2 games against Nebraska and Illinois, Minnesota allowed 813 yards on the ground. Both ranked in the top 30 in rushing and the only other team Minnesota faced in that range was Wisconsin and they gained 170 rushing yards (although they still had 5.5 yards per carry). With Georgia Tech easily the best rushing team in the nation, I would expect the Jackets to run wild. I would say above season average for Tech but am hoping to get to 428 yards!
The concern I’ve had all year with Georgia Tech is the passing defense. Playing the soft coverage has been awful this year but for Georgia Tech, hopefully it won’t be a big problem in this game. Minnesota comes into this game averaging just over 200 passing yards per game which is 82nd in the nation. The Jackets defense will hopefully be able to stop Minnesota’s offense.
It’s no secret how good Georgia Tech is at creating turnovers. Currently at 25 takeaways and 12th in the nation, Georgia Tech has been a turnover machine after being awful in recent years. On the other side of the ball, Minnesota is tied for 11th worst in the nation as they’ve lost 25 turnovers.
With multiple matchups favoring Georgia Tech as well as this being the last game of Paul Johnson’s career, I expect this to be a great showing by the Jackets with gatorade baths!
Georgia Tech 45 – 28 Minnesota
My answers to my prediction thread:
Outcome: Georgia Tech by 7+
Rushing Yards: 335-399
Passing Yards: 50-99
Turnovers forced: 2
Longest run: 50-74
Color of Paul Johnson’s Gatorade bath: Orange
MVP: Taquon Marshall