Air Force Beats Georgia Tech In Option Bowl Despite Losing Mascot

Dec. 27 at 5 on ESPN2. Join From The Rumble Seat for more Jackets, and SB Nation Denver for more Falcons.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Falcon Mascot Flies Away, And So Does The Ballgame

The Air Force Falcons mascot exited the stadium after a pregame fly-around — nearing the end of the fourth quarter, Air Force falconers were still tracking him throughout Shreveport. I didn’t make any of that up. There’s a military-trained bird of prey loose in Shreveport right now. UPDATE: The falcon has been secured. He was downtown. [Transition sentence.]

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets looked like the superior team for much of the game, outgaining Air Force until the end of the fourth quarter. But a barrage of turnovers and several game’s worth of special teams lapses, including consecutive dropped returns by WR Daniel McKayhan after regular returner Jerrard Terrant had to leave with an injury, negated Tech’s one impressive drive. Which was itself ended by a fumble anyway.

The Falcons pounded out a clutch, time-killing (and timeout-burning) drive late in the fourth, converting multiple first downs and just missing a field goal that would’ve iced it.

Down 14-7 with the ball and under a minute to go, Tevin Washington led Tech within scoring range before throwing a lobbed interception into the end zone. Air Force DE Rick Ricketts also rolled over Washington’s leg on the play, putting the QB on the ground for a moment. He was able to walk off the field.

Tech has now lost six straight bowl games, and has yet to produce multiple offensive touchdowns in a bowl game during the Paul Johnson era. The Jackets finish with their first losing record since 1996.

For more on this game visit From The Rumble Seat and Mountain West Connection.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Falcons Score After Third Jackets Turnover, Lead 14-7

It took two turnovers by the punt return unit and one by the offense to do it, but the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defense has finally given up a touchdown to the Air Force Falcons. It’s a shame — the Jackets D has played very well, giving up only a 14-yard scoring drive to open the fourth. Jared Tew punched into the end zone, and Jonathan Warzenka made up for some of his earlier struggles by strutting in for the two-point conversion.

Air Force’s biggest offensive play remains that second-quarter fake punt, which can be pinned on special teams as well. Plus their first field goal was set up by a punt return. Special teams!

Georgia Tech outgained Air Force 95 yards to 15 in the third quarter, but they don’t put yards on the scoreboard. They do on these modern, fancy video score boards like they have here in Shreveport, but you know what I mean.

Jackets RB Orwin Smith just broke a 23-yard run into Falcons territory. Let’s see if Tech can hang onto the ball here. Thirteen minutes sounds like a long time to add just one touchdown, but this game is flying by.

For more on this game visit From The Rumble Seat and Mountain West Connection.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Three Turnovers In Third Quarter Keep Score 7-6 Jackets

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defense had a great third quarter (yes, the third quarter is already over), forcing three straight three-and-outs to enter the fourth. But special teams mistakes, including two straight fumbled punt returns and another shoddy line-drive punt that gave the Air Force Falcons the ball at midfield, have the Falcons on the verge of taking the lead.

To open the half, Tech put together a positively epic 18-play, 75-yard, eight-minute drive that ended in a Tevin Washington fumble. That’s three turnovers in one quarter. Athleticism advantages are one thing, but no team can expect to beat a disciplined opponent while making mistakes like this over and over.

Washington has 100 yards rushing to go with Anthony Allen’s 82. As expected, neither offense has been able to get much going against the most prepared defenses they’ve faced all year.

Two fumbled punt returns in one minute of football. Unbelievable, but not really.

For more on this game visit From The Rumble Seat and Mountain West Connection.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: A Fast Night In Shreveport, But Nobody's Scoring

With less scoring than the first quarter, the second period of the Independence Bowl went by even more quickly. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Air Force Falcons each put together significant drives, but neither could reach the end zone. Air Force did put together a field goal drive in the half’s closing minute, and at halftime the score is 7-6.

Tech QB Tevin Washington has played well, which seems to be a surprise to most non-Tech fans. Having watched him for a quarter of a season now, the average Yellow Jackets observer has a reasonable amount of confidence in Washington. Before a sack by Rick Ricketts that killed Tech’s last drive before halftime, Washington had 77 yards rushing against a disciplined, option-prepared Air Force D and hadn’t made any major mistakes.

He still doesn’t quite have the dropback passing ability of Falcons QB Tim Jefferson, who has 87 yards passing on 17 attempts. Yep — some option teams pass much more often than Tech does.

The Falcons went for it on fourth down four times in the quarter. Two fourth-down runs were stuffed, and WR Jonathan Warzeka fell down behind the line on another, but a fake punt to Mikel Hunter went for 29 yards and called to mind the successful fake punt the LSU Tigers pulled off against Tech two years ago in the Chick Fil A Bowl.

Tech also tried a fourth-down conversion in scoring territory, but Air Force CB Reggie Rembert skied to tip away a Tevin Washington pass intended for the much taller Kevin Cone.

Warzeka has struggled all around, also flubbing two sure first down catches. This may be some solace to Tech fans tired of Jackets receivers dropping balls all year long. Receivers in run-heavy offenses don’t get a lot of practice time to spend on catching passes — Demaryius Thomas is the exception, and even he had a big drop or two.

For more on this game visit From The Rumble Seat and Mountain West Connection.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Anthony Allen Scores, Jackets Up 7-3

Even as ESPN’s announcers were lamenting the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets loss of QB Joshua Nesbitt, the Wreckbone was wrapping up a 12-play, 69-yard touchdown drive. B-back Anthony Allen pounded in from five yards out, his eighth touchdown of the season. He has 42 yards already, with a 17-yard burst the biggest running play of the day so far.

Pregame jokes about this being the shortest bowl game ever are proving insightful, as the first quarter is already over. Can you imagine driving to Shreveport for two hours of football? Apologies to our many Shreveportian guests.

Air Force QB Tim Jefferson, an Atlanta native, is two of three passing for 18 yards. The Falcons pass a good bit more often than the Jackets do, and with somewhat better efficiency, and Jefferson’s crisp pass to Chaz Demerath for 18 yards was the Academy’s highlight so far.

Tech wins the first-quarter yardage battle 87 to 52, with all but two of the Gold and White’s yards coming on the ground.

For more on this game visit From The Rumble Seat and Mountain West Connection.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Reggie Rembert Return Sets Up Falcons Field Goal

The Air Force Falcons took a 3-0 lead against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets after a 43-yard punt return by star CB Reggie Rembert put Air Force in position to kick a field goal. Tech punter Scott Blair booted a line drive, and Tech’s coverage was unprepared for the ball coming down so quickly Blair recovered to make a diving tackle that may have saved a touchdown.

Neither offense has gotten rolling, though Air Force has gotten 44 total yards on its two drives. Tech gained 18 on its only drive so far before punting.

Air Force’s offensive looks are much more varied than Tech’s, as expected. They run from the I, shotgun sets, bone sets, and a three-back I-formation stack that sort of looks like a quarterback-center unit has lined up behind the actual quarterback.

Tech QB Tevin Washington has 13 yards rushing and completed a screen for two yards. Air Force’s Asher Clark leads all Falcons with 16 yards on the ground.

For more on this game visit From The Rumble Seat and Mountain West Connection.

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Joshua Nesbitt Not Playing In Independence Bowl, Despite Troy Calhoun's Concerns

Injured Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets QB Joshua Nesbitt took the field in warmup pants before today’s Independence Bowl matchup against the Air Force Falcons. Nesbitt broke his arm last month against Virginia Tech, and at the time said he intended to return in time for Tech’s bowl game.

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun had expressed doubt earlier this week in Nesbitt’s status, and after a look through Tech coach Paul Johnson’s quotes we realized it hadn’t explicitly been ruled out. Johnson had only said Nesbitt “probably” wouldn’t play.

Tevin Washington will get the start. Air Force’s offense is a couple plays into its first drive, and if this is any indication of what we’re in for … well, with two defenses that came into bowl season with experience against option-run offenses, and then got to spend a month practicing for specific attacks, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a low-scoring bowl game.

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Independence Bowl: Air Force Wearing Red, White, And Blue Against Georgia Tech

Oh, come on; how is Georgia Tech supposed to compete against a service academy decked out in the colors of Ol' Glory? The Air Force Falcons are taking the field in alternate red, white, and blue uniforms, at least one of which features the word FREEDOM on the name plate. Can't tell if they all say FREEDOM, or if each player is dubbed with a noun from a set a la South Carolina's and Utah's Wounded Warrior Project unis.

Pic via @macontechtalk:

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The Falcons have tended to be the swaggest of the three FBS academy teams -- even with Army going camo -- at one point sporting star-spangled helmets to boot. Tech is countering with its all-whites, having learned its lesson about wearing special bowl uniforms after its mustard-blues contributed to a Chick Fil A Bowl loss to LSU and last year's Orange Bowl arrow'd duds didn't help much against Iowa.

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Independence Bowl: Comparing The Option Offenses Of Georgia Tech And Air Force

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Air Force Falcons both employ run-heavy, option-based offenses. You only have about four hours from the time this joint was published left to joke about how little time this game will take, because only a seasoned ironist should joke about such a thing after the game is actually over.

The teams don’t run the exact same offense, however. Air Force’s is a modernized form of the classic triple-option offense run by previous coach Fisher DeBerry, while Tech runs the strain Paul Johnson has been developing since finding himself offensive coordinator at Hawaii. Of course, modernizing a classic option offense means incorporating some of Johnson’s work, and Air Force has had plenty of chances to get a look while playing Navy every year.

Still, they’ve retained their own identity. The Falcons run from a variety of formations, including shotgun and I-formation varieties, while the Jackets tend to operate exclusively out of some form of bone, typically the flexbone.

Air Force also uses a tight end much of the time, while Tech doesn’t line anybody up at tight end. Though Jacket A-backs are in position to take on many of the tasks normally expected of a tight end, such as blocking and running pass routes, they don’t line up on the line of scrimmage.

In the video below, you can see Air Force’s varied looks, including a Jacketly flexbone:

Both offenses rely on the same core principles of option football, from misdirection and distribution reads to cut blocking. Lots and lots of cut blocking will happen in Shreveport tonight. As far as intricate blocking assignment differences and playcalling tendencies go, there are certainly differences, but none that would really interest the common fan.

Mainly the shotgun thing. Johnson’s offense has only worked from the shotgun once that I can recall, in this year’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs in a situation that would’ve compelled just about any team to back the quarterback up.

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Joshua Nesbitt Injury: Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun On The Possibility Of Nesbitt Playing

During all of Georgia Tech's bowl preparations, coach Paul Johnson has said that Joshua Nesbitt will not play and that Tevin Washington will be the starting quarterback. He was quoted as saying that "he's out," but he never officially closed the book. "He's probably not going to play," he said, changing from a definitive answer to one with a loophole. "That'd be a real reach, I think."

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun thinks that his team might see a surprise Monday evening. When asked if Nesbitt might return from his injury, the coach answered, "We realize there's a very strong possibility that could occur." 

Interesting.

Johnson has kept all of his bowl practices closed to the media and to fans, so no one can say if Nesbitt has been practicing. But no one can say that he hasn't been, either.

Tech fans have spent four years watching the quarterback, and have been amazed at his toughness countless number of times. If there is anyway he can help the team win, he will do it. 

Maybe #9's career isn't over just yet. 

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: One Last Game For 20 Tech Seniors

The majority of the Yellow Jacket players will return to work for spring practice after tomorrow's game is decided. For 20 Georgia Tech seniors, tomorrow will be the last day that they wear the gold and white.

The senior class is a surprisingly diverse group. 6 were part of the 2006 recruiting class, 3 were in the 2007 class, 5 players transfered in from another school, and the last 6 came to Tech as walk-ons.

The 2010 Senior Class          

Anthony Allen, RB

Transferred from Louisville

Ben Anderson, DE

Class of 2006

Anthony Barnes, LB

Class of 2006

Austin Barrick, OT

Class of 2006

Sean Bedford, C

Walk-on

Scott Blair, K

Walk-on

Mario Butler, CB

Class of 2007

Kevin Cone, WR

Transferred from Shorter

Lucas Cox, RB

Transferred from Connecticut

Correy Earls, WR

Class of 2006

Mario Edwards, S

Transferred from Virginia Tech

Anthony Egbuniwe, LB

Transferred from Tulsa

Robert Hall, DE

Class of 2006

Brad Jefferson, LB

Class of 2007

Zack Krisch, OL

Walk-on

Jeff Lentz, LS

Walk-on

Joshua Nesbitt, QB

Class of 2007

Patrick Nordmann, S

Walk-on

Onu Okebie, WR

Walk-on

Dominique Reese, CB

Class of 2006

 

In their time at Tech, this senior class compiled 33 wins, 20 ACC victories, 7 wins over ranked opponents, 1 ACC Championship, and the school's first ever BCS bowl game.

The class features the highest scoring pair of teammates in school history (Blair and Nesbitt), who combined for 452 points. A former walk-on (Bedford) was twice named to the All-ACC First Team. The son of a former Tech star (Cone) transfered to Tech to follow in his father's steps, earned a scholarship, and then found his into the starting lineup. A pro-style quarterback, recruited by Chan Gailey, stuck through the transition to a new coach and became the ACC's all-time rushing leader for a quarterback and has written his name all over the Tech record books. A former walk-on (Blair) ranks fifth all-time in scoring for Tech, and is the school's all-time leader in field goal percentage. 

To all 20 of the Yellow Jackets that will play in their final game tomorrow, thank you for the hard work you put in at Tech. And thank you for all the great memories you have given the fans. 

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: The Jones Family's Christmas Vacation

For teams playing in the pre-New Years bowls, players usually spend Christmas on the road and away from their families. This year, I am sure that Rod and Angel Jones were thrilled when the Independence Bowl announced its participants. You see, they have four children: Theo, Taylor, Darius, and Roddy. Darius is a running back for Air Force, and Roddy is an a-back for Georgia Tech. 

Darius is a sophomore. Like his brother Roddy, he played his high school football in Atlanta at Chamblee High School. He is 5'9" and weighs 160 pounds. In his freshman season, he got 12 carries for 56 yards and scored a touchdown. This season, he has rushed the ball 8 times for 73 yards. 

Roddy is finishing up his redshirt junior season. In his three years at Tech, he has had 184 carries for 1371 yards, an impressive 7.5 yards per carry. He broke onto the scene in 2008 when he tallied 214 rushing yards against rival Georgia, helping to break a long losing streak to the Bulldogs. Like his younger brother, he too is 5'9", but weighs in at 202 pounds. 

So what is tomorrow going to be like for Mr. and Mrs. Jones? The pair will be found in the first half in the Air Force section, and will move to the Georgia Tech side after halftime. As for what they will be wearing, they already have their wardrobe picked out: 

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Tomorrow will be very memorable for both of the brothers and their parents as well. 

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Three Jackets Suspended For Missing Curfew

More bad news out of Shreveport for Jackets fans. Days after four players were ruled ineligible due to academic issues, three players will miss the first half on Monday against Air Force for missing curfew. The three players -- senior OLB Anthony Egbuniwe, junior DB Michael Peterson, and freshman DB Louis Young -- all contributed this year and their absence will definitely have an impact on the first half of play.

Egbuniwe transitioned from defensive end to outside linebacker in Al Groh's 3-4 defense and started all 12 games this season. One of the emotional leaders on the team, the senior tallied the fifth most tackles on the season with 59 and had 3 tackles for a loss. Louis Young is listed in the two-deep and been a top reserve all season, while Peterson has seen time at corner and played on special teams.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Predictions Roundup

According to picks by national writers that I was able to find, Air Force seems to have a slight edge over Georgia Tech. Your local SB Nation writers are leaning the other way and think Tech will break the bowl slide on Monday. Hey, we never said we were unbiased.

Source Winner Notes
Rivals.com Falcons Of the four writers, three pick Air Force, with Gerry Ahern the only one predicting a Tech victory. The Yahoo! users can't decide and list it is a pick-em.
USA Today Jackets Tech pulls out a close win with the 8-writer panel, getting 5 votes and Air Force collecting 3.
CBS Sports Falcons Another panel leaning in favor the cadets, with Air Force getting four of the five picks.
Fanhouse Jackets Brett McMurphy is doing his bowl picks against the spread and likes Georgia Tech +2½.
Sports Illustrated Falcons The two SI writers, Stewart Mandel and Cory McCartney, both picked Air Force and think that it will be a one possession game.
What If Sports Jackets What If Sports not only has Tech winning, but their computers have the victory coming by more than one possession. The Jackets also won in 71% of their simulations.
SB Nation Atlanta Jackets Jason Kirk, this site's senior editor, thinks the game will be a 21-17 victory for Georgia Tech. He did say that he had zero confidence in the pick, however.
From The Rumble Seat Jackets Both writers are picking Tech to win, with Bird predicting a 31-20 score and Winfield expecting it to be 40-27.
Dawg Sports Jackets T. Kyle King points to Paul Johnson's success over Air Force while at Navy as his reasoning.
Mountain West Connection Falcons Jeremy Mauss of Mountain West Connection thinks Air Force wins 28-24 and believes the Falcon defense will be the deciding factor.
ACC Blogger Jackets Brandon Rink thinks Tech pulls out a close victory, winning 31-28.
ESPN Bloggers Split Heather Dinich, ESPN's ACC blogger, picks Tech to win 28-24. Andrea Adelson, their national writer, likes the Falcons to win 27-17.

 

If the game is as close as just about everyone is predicting, it will be a lot of fun to watch. Just don't tune in late, as you could miss the entirety of what might be the shortest game in history. 

As for my pick? It's about dang time Tech gets a bowl win. It would be nice to head into an off-season coming off a positive note. 

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: How's The Shreveport Weather?

As of Friday, it looks like the weather will not be a storyline in the 2010 Independence Bowl. Kickoff should be in the 40s, and the mercury will stay above freezing for the duration of the game. There is a 10% chance of precipitation, so rain will not come into play. So, as of now, the weather in Louisiana for Monday is nothing to worry about. I would have suggested bringing an extra jacket, but both Colorado and Georgia have been quite cold recently anyways. 

I have added a weather widget below to help make it easier to keep up with the predicted weather.

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Independence Bowl, Georgia Tech Vs. Air Force: Checking The Lines From Vegas

According to our partner Odds Shark, Air Force is a 2-point favorite. Bodog.com lists the Falcons at -3. 

Both lines seem to be about right to me, mainly based on the fact that Tech struggled to end the season, losing four of their last five games. Air Force, on the other hand, won three straight to finish the campaign. The Falcons lost four games all season, including one possession losses to #7 Oklahoma, #8 Utah, and San Diego State. Their other defeat came against #5 TCU. For those keeping score at home, half of their losses came to teams playing in BCS games.

One area that may favor Georgia Tech is strength of schedule. Despite those close losses to three good teams, the cadets didn't face much of a challenge in their wins. They did beat the other two service academies, but only faced the 83rd strongest schedule according to Phil Steele. The Jackets actually surprised me with their ranking, coming in at the 48th spot. Considering the generally weak ACC, Kansas' abysmal season, and Georgia's .500 record, 48th is relatively good

The over/under for the game is 56. My initial thought is to take the under. These triple-option battles tend to be lower scoring than normal because the defenses are familiar with the offenses. The option offenses that are based so heavily on precision and timing can also struggle given the rust of a long layover, which helps to favor the defense. In an effort of full disclosure, however, I don't have much confidence in the under. This very easily could be a game that lights up the scoreboard with quick strikes from both teams. 

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Stephen Hill, Mario Edwards Academically Ineligible For Independence Bowl

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets sophomore WR Stephen Hill and senior safety Mario Edwards have been ruled academically ineligible to play in the Independence Bowl against the Air Force Falcons, the school announced today. Both have been year-long starters for the Jackets.

Hill is the team’s No. 1 receiver, but caught more than two passes in only one game this year. He had huge shoes to fill this year, taking over for departed first-round draft pick Demaryius Thomas, and most Tech fans have been disappointed. He’s been able to get open, but has dropped far too may passes, including multiple touchdowns. He’ll be replaced by … well, by somebody who’s caught fewer than 10 passes this year. The Falcons were already expected to pass more than the Jackets, and it looks like that’s only gotten more likely.

The team also listed DE Robert Hall and LB Anthony Barnes as ineligible to participate, though apparently not due to grades.

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Independence Bowl Preview: Checking In With From The Rumble Seat

From The Rumble Seat, SB Nation's Georgia Tech blog, has done a great job previewing next week's bowl game and I wanted to point y'all in their direction for some more information on the game.

Q&A With Mountain West Connection - An interview with Jeremy Mauss, a great writer who takes on the tall task of covering just about all of the Mountain West teams for SB Nation. The topics covered include the recent MWC exodus, BCS fairness, and the revenge-over-Paul-Johnson factor for Air Force. 

Air Force and Tech Series History, 19771978, and 1979 - Georgia Tech won all three match-ups under Coach Pepper Rodgers. In 1977, Tech won 30-3 while rushing for 374 yards on the ground. In 1978, the Yellow Jackets went to Colorado Springs and beat the Falcons 42-21,  who were in their first year under Coach Bill Parcells. The defensive coordinator? Some guy named Al Groh. In 1979, Parcells resigned before the season. Al Groh was still in as assistant. He did hire a new defensive backfield coach, another name you might recognize: Chan Gailey. Tech was led on offensive by the father of a current player, but head over to find out who.

The Game Of Field Position - Quote from the first paragraph: "The first thing I noticed was that they remind me a lot of the 2009 Yellow Jackets." Uh oh. 

Rank The Toughest Bowl Match-ups - How would you rank the strength of our bowl opponents over the last decade?

Some Key Stats - FTRS compares the two teams in some major stats. And from the look of things, this is going to be a very close, hard-fought game.

Falcon Defense Has Triple Option Experience - How has the Air Force defense faired against Navy in the last three years? 

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Joshua Nesbitt Injury: Playing In Independence Bowl 'Probably Not Going To Happen'

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Doug Roberson reports Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson is skeptical about quarterback Joshua Nesbitt’s chances of playing in the Independence Bowl. “Probably not gonna happen,” Johnson is quoted as saying. The quarterback visited a doctor earlier today.

Nesbitt broke his arm a little over a month ago against the Virginia Tech Hokies, and at the time had insisted he’d be ready in time to play in the team’s bowl game. He said earlier this week that he was feeling better, but not well enough to play.

He’ll be remembered as a Georgia Tech fan favorite and the first quarterback to show Johnson’s offense could work in a BCS conference, leading Tech to the 2009 ACC championship and Orange Bowl. He holds the conference’s career record for rushing yardage and touchdowns by a quarterback.

Tevin Washington is likely to start the bowl game against the Air Force Falcons.

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Independence Bowl Predictions: Georgia Tech And Air Force Are The Same Football Program

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Air Force Falcons have even more in common than just running unusual option-based running offenses and 3-4 defenses. Their strength of schedule this year has been almost the same, they both recruit Atlanta hard, Al Groh has coached for both (though this applies to about 66 percent of all football teams at any level), and Tech A-back Roddy Jones’ brother plays for the Falcons.

Each team’s turnover margin is more or less a wash. And they finished first and second in the nation in rushing yards, with Air Force running the ball a mere three more times than did Tech.

But there are some critical differences, and several of them should worry Jackets fans.

Though both finished near the very bottom of the nation in passing, the Falcons were considerably more efficient through the air. Over three more yards per attempt, twice the touchdowns, and a completion percentage almost 15 points higher. And Air Force doesn’t get passed on either, allowing over a yard per attempt less than Tech through the air.

One obvious key in Tech’s favor: Air Force has a very bad rushing defense, 100th in the nation and allowing almost 200 yards per game. Tech’s isn’t much better, and has allowed steady running days by almost every team it’s faced, but at least that’s one clear and very important edge.

If Tech can hang onto the ball, they can compete with anybody, as they proved in Blacksburg, where they did not really hang onto the ball all that well. I’m gonna hesitantly pick Tech to win, if only due to what should be a strong win-one-for-Joshua-Nesbitt sentiment among the team’s seniors.

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Joshua Nesbitt Injury: Broken Arm Healing, But Could Still Keep QB Out Of Bowl Game

Macon.com’s Coley Harvey reports injured Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets QB Joshua Nesbitt is feeling better, has his cast off, and will see a doctor on Friday. That meeting will go a long way toward figuring out whether his broken arm has healed enough for him to play in the team’s Dec. 27 Independence Bowl against the Air Force Falcons.

Nesbitt told Harvey that if he feels like he did Tuesday, he wouldn’t play. He plans to continue helping quarterbacks Tevin Washington and David Sims with game preparation and film work.

The senior QB was injured in Tech’s Nov. 4 game against the Virginia Tech Hokies while trying to tackle a defender. Shortly after breaking his arm, he declared his intent to return for Tech’s eventual bowl game.

Washington has started since, rushing for 334 yards and passing for 372 in a little over three games, somewhat nearly pulling off road upsets against the Hokies and Georgia Bulldogs.

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2010 Bowl Game Odds: Georgia Tech Early Independence Bowl Underdog Against Air Force

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets began the week as +2 Independence Bowl underdogs against the Air Force Falcons, though the spread has increased to +2.5. The over/under started at 56, and there it remains.

Tech coach Paul Johnson doesn’t have a good bowl record, 0-2 at Tech and 2-4 overall. Critics usually attribute that to opponents having extra time to figure out his offense, though in his two bowls as Jackets coach the team faced defenses with personnel perfectly suited to counter his attack. Not making excuses at all — that’s just the way it is.

And shouldn’t the same apply to Falcons coach Troy Calhoun, since Air Force runs an option-based offense as well? Calhoun is 1-2 in bowls in his career, though all three of his bowl appearances have been in the Armed Forces Bowl, for whatever that’s worth. The Falcons are 7-8 in bowls since the beginning of previous head coach Fisher DeBerry’s time on campus, when the team began using the system it’s adapted into its current offense.

A game like this, between two very similar teams, will come down to execution. Tech has fumbled 12 more times this season than Air Force has. There’s also some uncertainty about Tech’s quarterback situation. They’ll either play a recovering and possibly rusty Joshua Nesbitt or the still-inexperienced Tevin Washington.

Click for more college football odds, including every 2010 bowl game.

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Independence Bowl Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Vs. Air Force Falcons

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will meet the Air Force Falcons in the 2010 Independence Bowl. The Falcons are one of the handful of teams around the nation running an offense very similar to Paul Johnson's run-heavy option attack. They're currently second in the nation in rushing yards per game, behind only Tech. Obvious joke is obvious: get ready for a fast game.

Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun was the Wake Forest Demon Deacons offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2003, going 1-2 against the Jackets. He's been rumored to be in the running for various higher-profile head coaching jobs, including the Tennessee Volunteers. He isn't a member of Johnson's spread option coaching tree, but retained portions of longtime Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry's more classic triple option attack. Calhoun has added a no-huddle look and mixes up formations more frequently.

The Falcons went 8-4 in the Mountain West Conference, coming just a few points short of 11-1 and upsets of the Oklahoma Sooners and Utah Utes. Atlanta, Georgia's own Tim Jefferson quarterbacks the Falcons attack, throwing for 1,342 and running for 769. Asher Clark, also from Georgia, is the featured running back. LB Jordan Waiwaiole is among the team's leaders in tackles, tackles for loss, turnovers, and sacks.


Next Game

Air Force Falcons
@ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Monday, Dec 27, 2010, 5:00 PM EST
Advocare Independence Bowl - Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

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Passing

Passing Rushing Sacks
G Rating Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD INT Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Sack YdsL
Connor Dietz 4 103.0 5 7 71.4 67 16.8 9.6 1 0 16 57 14.3 3.6 1 - -
Tim Jefferson Jr 12 83.0 71 136 52.2 1342 111.8 9.9 10 6 142 777 64.8 5.5 15 - -

Rushing

Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg TD
Asher Clark 12 174 1001 83.4 5.8 5 4 7 .600 1.8 0
Wesley Cobb 3 5 13 4.3 2.6 0 0 0 0 0 0
Drew Coleman 4 3 22 5.5 7.3 0 1 7 1.8 7 0
Tony Daniels Jr 1 1 11 11 11 0 0 0 0 0 0
Connor Dietz 4 16 57 14.3 3.6 1 0 0 0 0 0
Jon Escamilla 1 1 4 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cody Getz 10 23 132 13.2 5.7 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kyle Halderman 12 34 232 19.3 6.8 2 14 254 21.2 18.1 2
Mikel Hunter 8 10 134 16.8 13.4 2 5 106 13.3 21.2 1
Tim Jefferson Jr 12 142 777 64.8 5.5 15 0 0 0 0 0
Marquez Jones 1 3 19 19 6.3 1 0 0 0 0 0
Darius Jones 4 8 73 18.3 9.1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Anthony LaCoste 1 1 21 21 21 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brent Michaels 1 1 5 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Southworth 5 13 48 9.6 3.7 1 0 0 0 0 0
Jared Tew 7 110 540 77.1 4.9 3 0 0 0 0 0
Nathan Walker 12 98 453 37.8 4.6 6 0 0 0 0 0
Jonathan Warzeka 12 40 315 26.3 7.9 4 17 394 32.8 23.2 3

Receiving

Receiving
G Rec Yds Y/G AVG TD
Asher Clark 12 4 7 .600 1.8 0
Drew Coleman 4 1 7 1.8 7 0
Chaz Demerath 7 13 193 27.6 14.8 2
Kevin Fogler 1 2 67 67 33.5 0
Joshua Freeman 4 4 122 30.5 30.5 0
Kyle Halderman 12 14 254 21.2 18.1 2
Brandon Hirneise 3 3 31 10.3 10.3 0
Mikel Hunter 8 5 106 13.3 21.2 1
Zach Kauth 6 14 253 42.2 18.1 4
Jonathan Warzeka 12 17 394 32.8 23.2 3

Kicking

Field Goals PAT
G 0-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ FGM FGA PCT XPM XPA PCT pts
Erik Soderberg 11 - - - - - 5 10 50.0% 43 44 100.0% 58


Falcons Football Schedule

Northwestern St. Sat 09/04 W 65 - 21
BYU Sat 09/11 W 35 - 14
@ Oklahoma Sat 09/18 L 24 - 27
@ Wyoming Sat 09/25 W 20 - 14
Navy Sat 10/02 W 14 - 6
Colorado St. Sat 10/09 W 49 - 27
@ San Diego St. Sat 10/16 L 25 - 27
@ TCU Sat 10/23 L 7 - 38
Utah Sat 10/30 L 23 - 28
@ Army Sat 11/06 W 42 - 22
New Mexico Sat 11/13 W 48 - 23
@ UNLV Thu 11/18 W 35 - 20
@ Georgia Tech Mon 12/27 5:00 PM EST





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