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2013 FAM Music City - Ole Miss 25, GT 17

2013 FAM Music City - Ole Miss 25, GT 17

2013-2014 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2013 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Franklin America Mortgage Music City Bowl
Ole Miss 25, Georgia Tech 17
Basically … Ole Miss got two touchdown runs from Bo Wallace and a 28-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief on the way to a 23-7 lead, but Georgia Tech fought back in the fourth quarter getting a 38-yard Harrison Butker field goal and a 72-yard touchdown catch from a wide open Darren Waller to pull within six. The Rebels held on thanks to the defense with a forced fumble from Serderius Bryant leading to a safety and a little bit of a cushion, and a Senquez Golson interception on a last gasp drive to seal the victory. Robert Godhigh ran for an eight-yard touchdown for the Yellow Jackets in the first quarter, but the high-powered rushing attack was held to 151 yards.

- Ole Miss outgained Georgia Tech 221 rushing yards to 151.
- Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace completed 22-of-32 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and he ran 13 times for a team-high 86 yards and two scores.
- Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief caught six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
- Georgia Tech QB Vad Lee completed 5-of-17 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and he ran 16 times for 24 yards.
- Georgia Tech S Jamea Thomas made 15 tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss.
- Georgia Tech CB D.J. White made 13 tackles with a pick and three broken up passes with two forced fumbles.
- Ole Miss LB Serderius Bryant led the Rebels with eight tackles and a forced fumble with two tackles for loss.

CFN PREVIEW

Georgia Tech (7-5) at Ole Miss (7-5) Dec 30, 3:15, ESPN

Here's The Deal … No one ever goes into a season dreaming of the Music City Bowl, but it's not a bad place for these two to be.

No, Georgia Tech hasn't been able to take full advantage of the success of the 2009 ACC championship-winning season – even if it now comes with an asterisk – but this turned out to be a decent year considering the wild inconsistencies and major swings.

It was lost in the shuffle as the season went on, but the Yellow Jackets destroyed Duke 38-14 way, way back in mid-September, but that turned out to be the highlight with a three-game stretch of losses all but making them irrelevant before the ACC season got into high gear. But now this is a chance for redemption. Now it's a chance for Paul Johnson to bring a bit more respect to his program that's been among the very good over the last few years, but not among the true elite. Now it's a chance to show that it's possible for the triple option offense to work against a strong SEC team, even if there's time to prepare for it.

Johnson's team came up with one of the bigger shockers of the 2012-2013 bowl season with a 21-7 Sun Bowl win over USC, but that Trojan team was a shadow of its former self. A bowl win is a bowl win, especially when it stops a brutal run of seven straight bowl losses. Now just 3-6 in bowl appearances, Johnson and Georgia Tech need a win. After getting blown out by Clemson and losing just about every key game this year, including the rivalry game to an Aaron Murray-less Georgia, the spotlight is on.

One program's Music City Bowl is another program's treasure, and while Ole Miss isn't a stranger to the post-season circuit lately, and it's on a nice five-game run since losing the Music City to West Virginia in 2000, this will still be seen as a big step forward for a program on the rise under Hugh Freeze.

The Rebels closed out the regular season with a resounding thud, getting run over by Ole Miss and losing the Egg Bowl to Mississippi State to ruin a nice run over the eased-up second half of the season. The loss to the Bulldogs was a bit out of place for a team good enough to rip through Texas and all but push Mack Brown out of a gig, even if it didn't finally happen until a few months later, and it was strong enough to beat Vanderbilt and shock LSU. Other than the MSU game, the other four losses were more than forgivable, losing to Alabama and Auburn on the road, losing late in a tough battle with Texas A&M and losing to Missouri by 14. For a program that's on the rise with a great talent base and a terrific head coach at the helm, this is a bowl that really does matter.

Perception is everything to recruits, and with Auburn in the BCS championship, Nick Saban back at Alabama, LSU not expected to slip, and Arkansas improving, Ole Miss needs to look the part.

And so does Georgia Tech.

What has winning this game meant in the past? Not too much, but it's been a generally fun and competitive game over the last several seasons with eight games in a row decided by eight points or fewer before last season's 38-24 Vanderbilt win over NC State. The SEC has taken five of the seven games since going to the ACC vs. SEC format.

Players to Watch: Can Vad Lee show that he's really going to be the main man for Georgia Tech over the next few years? The sophomore didn't take off for big yards like Yellow Jacket quarterbacks normally do – rushing for 489 yards and eight scores – but he took over when he had to against Georgia with 63 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 232 yards and two touchdowns. However, he only completed 48% of his passes with two picks in the loss, and that's his problem. He's a good deep ball thrower, but he's not consistent and missed far too often. It's simple; when he's on, Tech wins, completing fewer than half of his passes in four of the five losses, and going at or over the 50% line in in every victory except for the Alabama A&M blowout, completing just one of three throws.

Will the Ole Miss defense be healthy enough to handle Lee and the Georgia Tech running attack? The time off should be a huge help, but All-America safety Cody Prewitt is still trying to get healthy. The junior led the team with 70 tackles, but he was at his best when the ball was in the air spreading out six picks including two in the final two games of the season. At 6-3 and 214 pounds, he has the body of an SEC safety, and he can pop. If everything works the way it's supposed to, he should put up massive numbers against the Tech attack.

Last season, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace had a huge problems with interceptions, including two in the bowl win that gave Pitt life. He became more careful with the ball this season, and the results have followed taking fewer chances and improving his year, throwing for more yards while slowing down the mistakes giving away nine picks. However, three of them came in the loss to Mississippi State and seven of the nine came in four losses. Mistake-free for the most part, he went without an interception in seven games. If he doesn't make any big errors, Ole Miss should be fine.

Trying to bring the pressure is Georgia Tech senior Jeremiah Attaochu, a tweener of a pro prospect as either a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 rush end but no matter where he lines up, the 6-3, 242-pounder is a pure pass rusher with 12 sacks on the season including four against Georgia and ten in the final five games. Lightning quick off the edge, he doesn't have to generate sacks to be effective; he just has to make Wallace sweat a bit.

Georgia Tech will win if … the running game hits the 300-yard mark. The Yellow Jacket offense can strike deep from time to time, but it's the ground attack that has to carry the team and has to set the tempo right away. Miami was able to get by with a 45-30 win even though Tech cranked out 335 yards on the ground, but everyone else struggled when the Paul Johnson attack got rolling. The Yellow Jackets were 6-1 this season when hitting the 300-yard mark and have gone 31-7 since 2009 when getting over three bills. Ole Miss has yet to give up 300 yards this season, but 0-4 when allowing more than 200.

Ole Miss will win if … all the young defensive players can just stay put. Stopping Georgia Tech is all about discipline and staying in the right gaps, but this is a young Rebel team that's still trying to come together through inexperience and injury. Ole Miss has the talent and the athleticism to stay with Tech, but it can't get caught up in the intricacies. The Rebel secondary is good enough to handle the Tech receives one on one, and the safeties and linebackers can cheat up and concentrate just on Lee and where he's going with the ball. On the other side, what's good for the Yellow Jacket is good for the Rebel. Ole Miss is 5-0 this season and 11-0 over the last two seasons when running for over 200 yards.

What Will Happen: Ole Miss will look night-and-day different than it did against Mississippi State. The Rebels will be fresher, healthier, and they'll look and be a half step quicker than the Yellow Jackets at every turn in a good, sound win that will make this even more of a hot team going into the offseason.

Prediction: Ole Miss 45 … Georgia Tech 27
Line: Ole Miss -3 … o/u: 68
Buy tickets for this game at TicketCity

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