2011 Hyundai Sun - Utah 30, Ga Tech 27 OT

Posted Dec 31, 2011

2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl

2011 Hyundai Sun

Utah 30, Ga Tech 27 OT

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
17th Total Offense 110th
46th Total Defense 81st
19th Scoring Offense 78th
60th Scoring Defense 18th
3rd Rushing Offense 81st
70th Run Defense 7th
112th Passing Offense 99th
29th Passing Defense 89th
42nd Turnover Margin 14th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
G   U
4 Quarterbacks 2
4 RBs 4
2 Receivers 2.5
4 O Line 2
2 D Line 4
3 Linebackers 4
3.5 Secondary 2.5
2.5 Spec Teams 4
4 Coaching 4
Utah 30 … Georgia Tech 27 OT
- CFN Thoughts on the Sun

Utah: The Utes averagd 43.2 yards per punt. Georgia Tech averaged 37.4. … Jon Hays completed 15-of-31 passes for 193 yards and three scores with a pick … John White ran 26 times for 115 yards and a score …. Shaun Asiata ran five times for 57 yards and a score. … Chaz Walker made 15 tackels with a tackle for loss. … DT Tevita Finau made ten stops.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets ran for 312 yards … Tevin Washington completed 11-of-15 passes for 137 yards and a score. … Preston Lyons ran 18 times for 138 yards and a score, while Washington ran 20 times for 96 yards. … Daniel Drummond made 12 tackles with a tackles for loss.

EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- John White plowed into the end zone from 8 yards out to give Utah a 30-27 overtime victory against Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl on Saturday.

Justin Moore kicked a 34-yard field goal in Georgia Tech's overtime possession to take a three-point lead, but White finished a 115-yard rushing day with the game-winning score on his 26th carry.

The Utes (8-5) tied it in regulation when Jon Hays hit DeVonte Christopher with a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-14 with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter.

The Yellow Jackets (8-5) drove to the Utah 31 with 2 seconds left, but David Scully missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt as time expired. Justin Moore had earlier missed two 42-yard tries for Tech.

Georgia Tech lost its seventh straight bowl appearance and Utah improved to 7-1 in bowls under coach Kyle Whittingham.

Georgia Tech's Preston Lyons, who came in with only 39 carries, rushed for a career-best 140 yards on 18 carries and Tevin Washington passed for 137 yards and ran for 97.

Utah grabbed a 7-0 lead on Shawn Asiata capped the game-opening drive with a 1-yard run.

With David Sims out of with an injury and Orwin Smith also ailing, Georgia Tech relied heavily on Lyons, who put the Yellow Jackets on the board with a 36-yard run up the middle tie the game at 7.

Lyons finished the first half with 129 yards on 12 carries.

Coleman Peterson banked in a 25-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the first half to give the Utes a 10-7 lead.

A 27-yard punt by Utah set up Moore's 32-yard field goal to tie it in the third quarter.

The Yellow Jackets scored again on their next possession. Washington hit Embry Peeples with a 58-yard pass, then found Stephen Hill for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 17-10.

Moments later, Quayshawn Nealy picked off a pass by Hays and returned it down the sideline 74 yards for a touchdown with 4:14 left in the third quarter

Hays hit Kendrick Moeai with a 3-yard touchdown pass with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter to make it 24-17.

Hays went 15 for 31 for 193 yards.

Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5) Dec. 31, 2:00, CBS

Here's The Deal … In terms of bowl preparedness, does it really matter if you start fast, and finish flat? Or if you get out of the gates slowly, yet finish with a flurry? Georgia Tech and Utah are poised to offer their input to the question in El Paso.

For a while, it appeared as if the Yellow Jackets might be one of this season's biggest surprises in college football, jumping out to a 6-0 start and an improbable No. 12 ranking in the polls. And then the schedule brought the team crashing back to reality. Tech won just two more games the rest of the way, fading from both the Top 25 and ACC Coastal Division contention. Still, compared to where the school was slotted before the season started, it ended up exceeding all forecasts by winning eight games. There's one more goal left in 2011, capturing an elusive bowl victory.

Head coach Paul Johnson has done a fine job on the Flats, winning 34 games, including a conference championship, in only four years. A postseason triumph, though, has eluded him. In fact, the Yellow Jackets have been beaten in their last six bowl games, a trend they'd desperately like to reverse. Since 2005, an ironic blowout loss to Utah in the Emerald Bowl, Georgia Tech has rarely shown up in front of a national audience. This version of the program is determined to send the seniors out on a positive note, while giving the underclassmen a little boost before heading into 2012.

In the initial stages of the fall, Utah might have been wishing it had remained in the Mountain West, rather than becoming one of the newest members of the Pac-12. After getting decimated by Cal on Oct. 22, the Utes had dropped their first four league games by an average of 18 points. A week later, though, they stabilized with a blowout of Oregon State, kicking off a four-game winning streak. Heck, heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the team was still in the hunt for a South Division that no one seemed to want. Utah lost its finale to Colorado, but still wound up proving that it belonged in its more competitive digs.

The more Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham gets mentioned for other jobs, the richer he gets. The administration has sweetened his compensation deal, a wise investment in the program's future. Whittingham has won 65 games, including a couple of the BCS variety, since succeeding Urban Meyer seven years ago. As a matter of fact, last December's Las Vegas Bowl loss to Boise State was the first in seven postseason attempts for the coach. He and his Utes will look to get back on the winning track, and are eager to avoid taking a two-game losing streak into the offseason.

Players to Watch: Georgia Tech features a triple-option ground game, but it won't be the only team looking to establish the run in El Paso. It'll be at the core of Utah's gameplan as well. Ever since starting QB Jordan Wynn was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury, the Utes have struggled through the air. The staff has basically had to shrink the playbook and reduce the number of throws for former JUCO transfer Jon Hays, who has stumbled in his expanded role. Enter John White, another junior-college transfer, who has flourished in his Salt Lake City debut. The 5-8, 186-pounder ranks second to Oregon's LaMichael James in Pac-12 rushing, going for more than 1,400 yards and 14 scores. He's a whippet out in space, yet isn't afraid to lower his shoulder to pick up more yards between the tackles.

The Utes' ground game is a one-man gang. Georgia Tech's is far more of collaboration. Five different Yellow Jackets have rushed for at least 400 yards this year, giving the team enough depth to wear its opponents down in the latter stages of close games. The point guard of the attack is QB Tevin Washington, who has rushed for 890 yards and 14 scores, but has disappeared as a dangerous passer. Providing some punch from B-back is David Sims, a converted quarterback who's second on the team with 698 yards. No one, however, concerns the Utah defensive staff as much as Orwin Smith does. The team's A-back is a bona fide gamebreaker, averaging more than 10 yards on his 60 carries, and providing a lethal outlet on swing passes.

Tasked with trying to keep White in check will be junior Julian Burnett, the Yellow Jackets' premier defensive player. Just 5-10 and 222 pounds, the linebacker in a safety's body excels with keen instincts and terrific range. If you follow the ball during the Sun Bowl, No. 40 isn't likely to be far away. He's tough and physical, and does an outstanding job of sifting through traffic in order to make plays. With Utah hoping to keep it on the ground at least 40 times, there'll be plenty of opportunities for Burnett to approach his single-game career high of 13 stops.

Considering the opponent, it's a good thing for Utah that the team ranks No. 7 nationally against the run, giving up less than three yards a game. The Utes are a disciplined bunch, with enough talent up the middle to thwart the Yellow Jackets plans to roll downhill. Plus, the fellas in red are stout at each level, rarely allowing many yards after contact. It all begins up front with underrated, 325-pound NT Star Lotulelei, who should be able to maul the undersized Tech blockers. At linebacker, Chaz Walker, Matt Martinez and Trevor Reilly all had terrific regular seasons. And 230-pound S Brian Blechen, a versatile all-around defender, is like having a fourth linebacker on the field. For the Jackets, this is one of the most fundamentally-sound defenses it'll face all season.

Georgia Tech will win if … Washington gives the Utah defense a reason to respect the passing game.

No, the junior won't have to channel his inner-Joe Hamilton for his Yellow Jackets to get out of El Paso with the W, but he must be the curator of some degree of balance and versatility on offense. When Georgia Tech was really rambling in the early going, Washington was downright exploitative over the top, throwing 10 touchdown passes and just a single pick during the first five games. He was gobbling up big chunks of real estate, mainly in the direction of dynamite WR Stephen Hill. When the Washington-to-Hill connection started to sputter, it became a little easier for opponents to defend the running game. Utah is too tough on defense to be beaten by a blatantly one-dimensional attack.

Utah will win if … White is able to carry his team to the tape.

Hays is a work-in-progress, top WR DeVonte Christopher is not 100% and the secondary is the strength of the Georgia Tech D. The Utes are unlikely to have a big day through the air. As was the case throughout much of the season, the onus will fall on White to provide the offensive spark. When the junior rushed for at least 100 yards this season, his team was a perfect 7-0. In the team's five losses, he carried the ball 76 for just 243 yards. Utah cannot afford mediocrity from its best producer, especially versus a suspect Yellow Jackets run defense giving up 4.5 yards per carry.

What Will Happen: One month is far too much time to prepare for the Georgia Tech offense … particularly when the Utah defense is doing the preparation.

Whittingham will have his troops ready for this meeting. He usually does at this time of year. From front to back, the underrated Utes defense is stout, making opponents earn every point. They'll load up to stop the option, flooding running lanes with sure-tackling linebackers and safeties. The Yellow Jackets will struggle to pop long gainers, forcing Washington to assume a larger role as a passer than the team would like. While Utah will have its own issues on offense, a steady diet of White will keep the chains moving, and Hays from having to do too much.

CFN Prediction: Utah 28 … Georgia Tech 23
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Georgia Tech -3.5   O/U: 50.5 
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Georgia Tech has lost six straight bowl games and Utah won nine in a row before last year's clunker to Boise State. I know Boise State, and Georgia Tech - whose offense gets stopped cold by anyone with a few days to prepare for it - you're no Boise State.

By Richard Cirminiello 
The best tool for stopping Tech's triple-option is time. The Utes will have it, along with a slew of underrated and disciplined players on defense.

By Matt Zemek
Utah just doesn't have an offense. As long as Tevin Washington can function, the Jackets should thrive.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
You know what they say about defending the option with more than a week to prepare? Look out, Yellow Jackets.

By Russ Mitchell
GT has the nation's third best rushing offense. Utah has the seventh best run defense. IT'S SHOWTIME! (Neither team is from Texas and neither is known to really travel that well. What's the Sun Bowl thinking? Can't be simply wanting a good match-up...can't be... We'll put the investigate team on it.)

By Terry Johnson
Georgia Tech's rushing offense, which ranks third in the country, faces a Utah defense that allows less than 100 yards per game, and only 3.0 yards per carry.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Teams that have time to prepare for Georgia Tech generally fare pretty well, but Utah is not the same caliber, even with a decent defense.     
Best Bowl Moments

Best Yellow Jacket Bowl Moment: Tech boasts more than 20 bowl wins. The Jackets did most of their big-game damage in the 1940s and 1950s; however, it was the 1991 Florida Citrus Bowl which means the most to today's generation of Tech fans. Led by the passing of Shawn Jones and the running of William Bell, Bobby Ross' team pummeled Nebraska, 45-21, en route to an unbeaten season and the UPI's share of the national championship.

Best Ute Bowl Moment: The Utes set the bowl bar pretty doggone high for future teams to reach, beating Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and becoming the first non-automatic qualifier to ever get invited to a BCS bowl game. In January of 2009, Utah raised the bar a notch higher if not several, shocking Alabama, 31-17, to finish unbeaten and No. 2 in the country behind Florida.

Sun Bowl History
2010 Notre Dame 33, Miami 17
2009 Oklahoma 31, Stanford 27
2008 Oregon State 3, Pitt 0
2007 Oregon 56, South Florida 21
2006 Oregon State 39, Missouri 38
2005 UCLA 50, Northwestern 38
2004 Arizona State 27, Purdue 23
2003 Minnesota 31, Oregon 30
2002 Purdue 34, Washington 24
2001 Washington St 33, Purdue 27
2000 Wisconsin 21, UCLA 20
1999 Oregon 24, Minnesota 20
1998 TCU 28, USC 19
1997 Arizona State 17, Iowa 7
1996 Stanford 38, Michigan St 0
1995 Iowa 38, Washington 18
1994 Texas 35, North Carolina 31
1993 Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 10
1992 Baylor 20, Arizona 15
1991 UCLA 6, Illinois 3
1990 Michigan State 17, USC 16
1989 Pitt 31 Texas A&M 28
1988 Alabama 29, Army 28
1987 Oklahoma State 35, West Virginia 33
1986 Alabama 28, Washington 6
1985 Arizona 13, Georgia 13
1984 Maryland 28, Tennessee 27
1983 Alabama 28, SMU 7
1982 North Carolina 26, Texas 10
1981 Oklahoma 40, Houston 14
1980 Nebraska 31, Mississippi State 17
1979 Washington 14, Texas 7
1978 Texas 42, Maryland 0
1977 (Dec.) Stanford 24, LSU 14
1977 (Jan.) Texas A&M 37, Florida 14
1975 Pitt 33, Kansas 19
1974 Mississippi State 26, North Carolina 24
1973 Missouri 34, Auburn 17
1972 North Carolina 32, Texas Tech 28
1971 LSU 33, Iowa State 15
1970 Georgia Tech 17, Texas Tech 9
1969 Nebraska 45, Georgia 6
1968 Auburn 34, Arizona 10
1967 UTEP 14, Mississippi 7
1966 Wyoming 28, Florida State 20
1965 UTEP 13, TCU 12
1964 Georgia 7, Texas Tech 0
1963 Oregon 21, SMU 14
1962 West Texas A&M 15, Ohio 14
1961 Villanova 17, Wichita State 9
1960 New Mexico State 20, Utah State 13
1959 New Mexico State 28, North Texas 8
1958 (Dec.) Wyoming 14, Hardin-Simmons 6
1958 (Jan.) Louisville 34, Drake 20
1957 George Wash 13, UTEP 0
1956 Wyoming 21, Texas Tech 14
1955 UTEP 47, Florida State 20
1954 UTEP 37, Southern Miss 14
1953 Pacific 26, Southern Miss 7
1952 Texas Tech 25, Pacific 14
1951 West Texas A&M 14, Cincinnati 13
1950 UTEP 33, Georgetown 20
1949 West Virginia 21, UTEP 12
1948 Miami-Ohio 13, Texas Tech 12
1947 Cincinnati 18, Virginia Tech 16
1946 New Mexico 34, Denver 24
1945 Southwestern (TX) 35, New Mexico 0
1944 Southwestern (TX) 7, New Mexico 0
1943 Second Air Force 13, Hardin-Simmons 7
1942 Tulsa 6, Texas Tech 0
1941 Case Reserve 26, Arizona St 13
1940 Arizona State 0, Catholic 0
1939 Utah 26, New Mexico 0
1938 West Virginia 7, Texas Tech 6
1937 Hardin-Simmons 34, UTEP 6
1936 Hardin-Simmons 14, New Mexico State 14

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