||Hyundai Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl Stadium
El Paso, TX
1:00 pm CST
Georgia Tech's current bowl appearance streak sits at 15, the fourth longest active streak among the FBS, but six consecutive losses means the Yellow Jackets kinda need a win here for more reasons than simply ending what started as a promising season before spiraling out of control on a good note. After starting 6-0 and climbing as high as #12 in the polls Tech dropped four of their last six games, including a humiliating 31-17 pantsing by rival Georgia, to finish 8-4 and 3rd in the ACC Coastal division. Considering their last bowl victory was a 51-14 defeat of Syracuse in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl, no one on the roster has experienced a bowl victory as a Yellow Jacket:
"It's something no one here has done," said defensive end Jason Peters, one of just four seniors to start on defense. "No one here has won a bowl game. It would be an exciting thing for us to go do. It would be a chance to do better with something that we know has been plaguing Georgia Tech for a long time."
Meanwhile, Utah didn't exactly catch fire in their first season in the Pac 12, finishing 7-5 overall and only 4-5 in conference. The Utes had been a mid-major darling before making the jump but as expected their were growing pains in playing a full BCS schedule, losing four of seven to start the season (their first four conference games against USC, Washington, Arizona State, and Cal) before reeling off four straight victories against the murderer's row of Oregon State, Arizona, UCLA, and Washington State (in OT!) and falling 14-17 against Colorado to give their fellow Pac 12 newbies only their second conference win of the season.
Some of Utah's bad luck can be pinned on the loss of starting QB Jordan Wynn against Washington in week four. Backup Jon Hays took his place, throwing for 1,266 yards and nine TDs/seven INTs, but the Utes have relied most heavily on RB John White. He's finished 9th in the nation with 1,404 yards rushing and has 16 total TDs. Considering Tech hasn't been able to stop pretty much anyone on the ground (70th in the country against the run, allowing 162.9 ypg), expect to see a healthy dose of White. Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, the Utes aren't nearly as generous on the ground, giving up only 98.3 ypg, but defending against the triple option will put those numbers to the test.