2010 Orange Bowl - Iowa vs. Georgia Tech
GT RB Jonathan Dwyer & Iowa LB Pat Angerer
GT RB Jonathan Dwyer & Iowa LB Pat Angerer
Posted Jan 4, 2010

The CFN 2010 Orange Bowl Preview - Iowa vs. Georgia Tech

2010 Orange Bowl

Iowa (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech (11-2)

Miami, FL, Jan. 5, 8 pm Fox

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Team Pages and 2009 Season
IowaGeorgia Tech 


- 2009 CFN Orange Bowl Preview
- 2008 CFN Orange Bowl Preview
- 2007 CFN Orange Bowl Preview
National Rankings
I   GT
93rd Total Offense 12th
10th Total Defense 52nd
86th Scoring Offense 13th
9th Scoring Defense 56th
103rd Rushing Offense 2nd
30th Run Defense 66th
55th Passing Offense 115th
9th Passing Defense 43rd
45th Turnover Margin 22nd
Position Ratings
relative to each other
I 5 highest
1 lowest
3 Quarterbacks 4.5
2.5 RBs 5
3.5 Receivers 3
4 O Line 4.5
3.5 D Line 4
5 Linebackers 3.5
4.5 Secondary 3
4 Spec Teams 4
4.5 Coaching 5
Orange Bowl History
2009 Virginia Tech 20, Cincinnati 7
2008 Kansas 24, Virginia Tech 21
2007 Louisville 24, Wake Forest 13
2006 Penn St 26, Florida St 23 3OT
2005 USC 55, Oklahoma 19
2004 Miami 16, Florida State 14
2003 USC 38, Iowa 17
2002 Florida 56, Maryland 23
2001 Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2
2000 Michigan 35, Alabama 34 (OT)
1999 Florida 31, Syracuse 10
1998 Nebraska 42, Tennessee 17
1997 Nebraska 41, Virginia Tech 21
1996 Florida St 31, Notre Dame 26
1995 Nebraska 24, Miami 17
1994 Florida State 18, Nebraska 16
1993 Florida State 27, Nebraska 14
1992 Miami 22, Nebraska 0
1991 Colorado 10, Notre Dame 9
1990 Notre Dame 21, Colorado 6
1989 Miami 23, Nebraska 3
1988 Miami 20, Oklahoma 14
1987 Oklahoma 42, Arkansas 8
1986 Oklahoma 25, Penn State 10
1985 Washington 28, Oklahoma 17
1984 Miami 31, Nebraska 30
1983 Nebraska 21, LSU 20
1982 Clemson 22, Nebraska 15
1981 Oklahoma 18, Florida State 17
1980 Oklahoma 24, Florida State 7
1979 Oklahoma 31, Nebraska 24
1978 Arkansas 31, Oklahoma 0
1977 Ohio State 27, Colorado 10
1976 Oklahoma 14, Michigan 6
1975 Notre Dame 13, Alabama 11
1974 Penn State 16, LSU 9
1973 Nebraska 40, Notre Dame 6
1972 Nebraska 38, Alabama 6
1971 Nebraska 17, LSU 12
1970 Penn State 10, Missouri 3
1969 Penn State 15, Kansas 14
1968 Oklahoma 26, Tennessee 24
1967 Florida 27, Georgia Tech 12
1966 Alabama 39, Nebraska 28
1965 Texas 21, Alabama 17
1964 Nebraska 13, Auburn 7
1963 Alabama 17, Oklahoma 0
1962 LSU 25, Colorado 7
1961 Missouri 21, Navy 14
1960 Georgia 14, Missouri 0
1959 Oklahoma 21, Syracuse 6
1958 Oklahoma 48, Duke 21
1957 Colorado 27, Clemson 21
1956 Oklahoma 20, Maryland 6
1955 Duke 34, Nebraska 7
1954 Oklahoma 7, Maryland 0
1953 Alabama 61, Syracuse 6
1952 Georgia Tech 17, Baylor 14
1951 Clemson 15, Miami  14
1950 Santa Clara 21, Kentucky 13
1949 Texas 41, Georgia 28
1948 Georgia Tech 20, Kansas 14
1947 Rice 8, Tennessee 0
1946 Miami 13, Holy Cross 6
1945 Tulsa 26, Georgia Tech 12
1944 LSU 19, Texas A&M 14
1943 Alabama 37, Boston College 21
1942 Georgia 40, TCU 26
1941 Mississippi State 14, Georgetown 7
1940 Georgia Tech 21, Missouri 7
1939 Tennessee 17, Oklahoma 0
1938 Auburn 6, Michigan State 0
1937 Duquesne 13, Mississippi State 12
1936 Catholic 20, Mississippi 19
1935 Bucknell 26, Miami  0

If part of the goal and part of the joy of the bowl season is to put a little bit of proof to the opinions, theories, and believes about teams and conferences, then by far this is the most intriguing of all the BCS games because of the Georgia Tech offense.

How do you stop the Yellow Jacket option offense? Good linebackers, lots of discipline, and the time prepare. However, Navy was able to rock against Missouri and Air Force ripped up Houston, but for Georgia Tech to come up with a big offensive performance would be a whole different level for the option.

Tech's magnificent ground game finished second in the nation behind Nevada averaging 307 yards per game, but outside of the opener against Jacksonville State, only one team had more than a week to get ready for the attack, Miami, and the fired up, athletic Canes were able to allow just 95 yards and a score. Georgia held Tech to 205 yards, and that, along with the Miami game, were the team's two worst rushing games this year. They also happened to be the two losses.

As good as the offense has been this year, it was even hotter at the end of last season ripping off 881 yards and nine touchdowns in dominant wins over Miami and Georgia. LSU had more than month off to prepare for Paul Johnson's offense, allowed just 164 rushing yards, and won in a 38-3 Chick-fil-A blowout. Now it's up to Johnson and his veterans in the backfield to show that the offense really can fly in primetime, and it's time for the ACC to show that it can play a little bit.

Virginia Tech gave the conference a 20-7 win over Cincinnati in last year's Orange Bowl, but that was treated with a collective yawn. That Bearcat team wasn't the killer that this year's team was, and PR-wise, the Big East gets less respect than the ACC. The Hokie win was the ACC's first in the Orange Bowl since 1996 (Miami won the 2004 game over Florida State, but it was still in the Big East at the time). Iowa might not be one of the elite of the elite teams, but a win over the Big Ten would be a big deal for the ACC, and it would cement Georgia Tech as a bona fide star to watch out for as long as Johnson is at the helm.

Iowa's run defense allows 122 rushing yards per game, but it's better than the stats show allowing just eight rushing touchdowns on the year, with three coming in the loss to Ohio State and three to Michigan in a win, and has only allowed more than 200 yards once (Ohio State). This might not be the prettiest of teams, defining the term winning ugly, but it's a smart, disciplined team that has found ways time and again this season to pull out close games when they appeared to be dead.

The Hawkeyes needed a few blocked kicks in the final seconds to avoid embarrassment against Northern Iowa, were saved by four takeaways against Penn State, held on late against Michigan, mounted an epic, last-second touchdown drive to beat Michigan State, and managed to slug by bad teams like Arkansas State while beating a good one like Wisconsin. Not getting much in the way of respect after losing heartbreakers to Northwestern and Ohio State before a lousy performance in the 12-0 win over Minnesota, Iowa can make this a second straight sweet offseason after pounding South Carolina in last year's Outback.

Iowa hasn't been a bad bowl team under Kirk Ferentz, but the last BCS-level bowl the program won was the 1958 Rose Bowl over Cal. Since then the Hawkeyes are 0-for-4 in the big spotlight games and weren't remotely close in any of them. But this is a far different team than the 2002 group that was blasted by Carson Palmer and USC in the Orange, and it's much tougher than the 1990 team that lost to Washington in the Rose. The Hawkeyes will provide the toughest test of the year for the Yellow Jacket offense, but the Iowa offense has to find something that works, too.

The team has lived and died all year on its defense and the ability to come through in the clutch, but few teams have been better under adverse in-game conditions as Georgia Tech and it knows how to win tight games just as much as Iowa does. No matter what the outcome, for fans who like to study trends and tendencies, there will be plenty to analyze.

Players to Watch
: It's relatively simple. Whomever wins the battle between Georgia Tech QB Josh Nesbitt and Iowa LB Pat Angerer will probably lead his team to the win.

Nesbitt is a smart, tough gamer who doesn't flinch in the face of adversity and is as cool as they come in the clutch. He's great at making the right reads on the option and he has a nice combination of speed in the open field and toughness to barrel his way for tough short runs. While he ran for 991 yards and 18 touchdowns, scoring at least once in each of the last eight games, he struggles as a consistent passer hitting on just 48% of his throws for 1,689 yards and ten touchdowns with four interceptions. However, he makes his passes count hitting home run after home run to Demaryius Thomas, a future NFL target who caught just 46 passes on the year, but averaged 25 yards per grab.

Keeping Nesbitt under wraps is Job One for the Iowa. Tech lost two games this year with Nesbitt running for 29 yards against Miami and 41 against Georgia. Those were two of his three worst rushing games of the season (he ran for 39 yards in a blowout over Duke, but threw for 195 yards and two scores), and Iowa's run defense that has been so strong all year has to stop him at the point of attack and keep him from getting a chance to make more than one read. That's where Angerer comes in.

Michigan State's Greg Jones was the best linebacker in college football this season and Alabama's Rolando McClain won the Butkus, but Angerer was as good as anyone finishing fifth in the nation in tackles and came up biggest in the biggest games making 14 stops against Penn State, 13 against Ohio State, and to close out the year, he made 16 tackles against Minnesota. Even in the loss to Northwestern he came up big with 17 stops. With his quickness, ability to read and react behind the defensive tackles, and his ability to sniff out quarterback runs, he was made for this game. It wouldn't be shocking if he finished with 20 tackles.

Iowa QB James Vanderberg stepped up and was solid when thrown into a tough situation late in the year, but the offense should run a bit better with its leader back. Ricky Stanzi was never pretty, threw 14 interceptions to his 15 touchdown passes, doesn't run, doesn't have a big arm, and doesn't make enough good reads on a regular basis, but he has a knack for sparking an offense that's relatively short on firepower. He missed most of the Northwestern loss and was out against Ohio State and Northwestern with an ankle injury, but he's ready to go and he needs to be sharp. While he might give Georgia Tech a few interceptions, or at least a few chances, he'll keep the chains moving and is the leader who'll calm everything down when things get tight.

Georgia Tech will win if ... it runs for more than 205 yards. Georgia Tech came up with 95 net yards against Miami and 205 against Georgia, and lost both games. The running game rumbled for 300 or more against everyone else except Mississippi State, running for 213 yards, but the Yellow Jackets scored four times on the ground and got a season-high 266 passing yards.

Winning the turnover battle is also a must. Iowa isn't the type of team that can keep up in any sort of shootout, and if the Georgia Tech offense is working, the Hawkeye attack will try to throw to get back in the game and that's when the takeaways will come. Iowa is at its best when the defense is swarming, can dictate the action by coming up with several stops to get the Tech attack off the field, and by taking the ball away. The Yellow Jackets are stingy with the ball, not throwing enough to lose many interceptions (just five on the season) while only losing 12 fumbles, with six coming in two games, both wins, but Iowa has a way to make good offenses screw up. This isn't an Iowa defense that forces a lot of fumbles, but it makes a lot of big plays on short to midrange passes. Nesbitt can't screw up, while Morgan Nesbitt and the Tech secondary have to take advantage of the chances Stanzi will provide.

Iowa will win if ... the linebackers don't focus only on Nesbitt. It bears repeating that this really is the most crucial part of this game. Iowa was able to get into the backfield against Ohio State, but the defensive front got pushed around, pounding away for a tough running day from Daniel Herron, and the linebackers didn't do enough against Brandon Saine, who tore off 103 yards and two scores averaging 9.4 yards per carry. Terrelle Pryor didn't run wild, but he was able to move around enough to complete 14-of-17 passes partially because the linebackers were so worried about stopping him from taking off. Michigan didn't get a big running day out of QB Tate Forcier, but he was able to read the plays well enough to get the ball to Brandon Minor and Michael Shaw, who each ran well enough to keep the chains moving. The Wolverines and Buckeyes didn't gouge the Iowa defense, but they did enough to keep the chains moving. If Iowa spends most of its time trying to stuff Nesbitt first, Dwyer and Anthony Allen will be gone.

Offensively, Iowa has to get an ultra-efficient day out of Stanzi. The problem is that he's not an ultra-efficient passer. He's bound to be rusty after not throwing a pass in anger for almost two months, but Georgia Tech's secondary can be beaten. Tech won't respect the Iowa running game in the least meaning that Stanzi will have to be extremely careful with his short-to-midrange passes early, especially to his fabulous tight end Tony Moeaki , and he can't afford to melt down early like he did against Indiana, throwing five interceptions. Stanzi has four multi-interception games this year, but Iowa won all four. The Hawkeyes won't have the same luck if a few picks lead to a Georgia Tech lead.

What will happen: Iowa has spent the entire year trying to prove to the world that it really is good enough to warrant all the attention, and this game will finally provide the proof. With the time to prepare, the linebackers will be disciplined, the offense will be boring, but effective, and the time of possession will be decidedly in Iowa's favor. Much will be made of the Tech offense vs. the Iowa defense, and rightly so, but it'll be the play of the Hawkeye offense, particularly the line, that will ultimately be the story. The Yellow Jacket offense will have its moments, but not enough of them as the solid Big Ten bowl season will end with a bang.

CFN Prediction: Iowa 26 … Georgia Tech 20 ... Line: Georgia Tech -4

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Best Hawkeye Bowl Moment: For the 11 members of the Big Ten conference, success is measured in terms Rose Bowl berths and victories. For the Hawkeyes, that level of success hasn't reached their campus since the latter half of the 1950s. Iowa beat Oregon State and Cal in 1957 and 1959, respectively for their only Rose Bowl victories. The 38-12 win over the Golden Bears was particularly impressive as the offense rolled up 441 of its 528 total yards on the ground.

Best Yellow Jacket Bowl Moment: Tech boasts a nifty 22-15 bowl record, including 8-7 since 1985. 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.

Iowa Bowl History (12-10-1)
2009 Outback Iowa 31, South Carolina 10
2006 Alamo Texas 26, Iowa 24
2006 Outback Florida 31, Iowa 24
2004 Capital One Iowa 30, LSU 25
2003 Outback Iowa 37, Florida 17
2002 Orange USC 38, Iowa 17
2001 Alamo Iowa 19, Texas Tech 16
1997 Sun Arizona State 17, Iowa 7
1996 Alamo Iowa 27, Texas Tech 0
1995 Sun Iowa 38, Washington 18
1993 Alamo Cal 37, Iowa 3
1991 Holiday Iowa 13, BYU 13
1990 Rose Washington 46, Iowa 34
1988 Peach N.C. State 28, Iowa 23
1987 Holiday Iowa 20, Wyoming 19
1986 Holiday Iowa 39, San Diego State 38
1985 Rose UCLA 45, Iowa 28
1984 Freedom Iowa 55, Texas 17
1983 Gator Florida 14, Iowa 6
1982 Peach Iowa 28, Tennessee 22
1981 Rose Washington 28, Iowa 0
1958 Rose Iowa 38, Cal 12
1957 Rose Iowa 35, Oregon State 19
Georgia Tech Bowl History (22-15)   
2008 Chick-fil-A LSU 38, Georgia Tech 3
2007 Humanitarian Fresno State 40, Georgia Tech 24
2006 Gator West Virginia 38, Georgia Tech 35
2004 Champs Sports Georgia Tech 51, Syracuse 14
2003 Humanitarian Georgia Tech 52, Tulsa 10
2002 Silicon Valley Fresno State 30, Georgia Tech 21
2001 Seattle Georgia Tech 24, Stanford 14
2000 Peach LSU 28, Georgia Tech 14
1999 Gator Miami 28, Georgia Tech 13
1998 Gator Georgia Tech 35, Notre Dame 28
1997 Carquest Georgia Tech 35, West Virginia 30
1991 Aloha Georgia Tech 18, Stanford 17
1990 Citrus Georgia Tech 45, Nebraska 21
1985 All-American Georgia Tech 17, Michigan State 14
1978 Peach Purdue 41, Georgia Tech 21
1972 Liberty Georgia Tech 31, Iowa State 30
1971 Peach Mississippi 41, Georgia Tech 18
1970 Sun Georgia Tech 17, Texas Tech 9
1966 Orange Florida 27, Georgia Tech 12
1965 Gator Georgia Tech 31, Texas Tech 21
1962 Bluebonnet Missouri 14, Georgia Tech 10
1961 Gator Penn State 30, Georgia Tech 15
1959 Gator Arkansas 14, Georgia Tech 7
1956 Gator Georgia Tech 21, Pittsburgh 14
1955 Sugar Georgia Tech 7, Pittsburgh 0
1954 Cotton Georgia Tech 14, Arkansas 6
1953 Sugar Georgia Tech 42, West Virginia 19
1952 Sugar Georgia Tech 24, Mississippi 7
1951 Orange Georgia Tech 17, Baylor 14
1947 Orange Georgia Tech 20, Kansas 14
1946 Oil Georgia Tech 41, St. Mary's 19
1944 Orange Tulsa 26, Georgia Tech 12
1943 Sugar Georgia Tech 20, Tulsa 18
1942 Cotton Texas 14, Georgia Tech 7
1939 Orange Georgia Tech 21, Missouri 7
1928 Rose Georgia Tech 8, California 7