Sun Bowl Key Matchup
Posted on: December 29, 2011 6:04 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
A look at the key matchup that could decide the Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington, QB, and Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech vs. Utah secondary
Utah's rushing defense ranks No. 8 nationally, giving up just 98.25 yards per game on the ground. Their front seven is solid, and they get great play from their defensive tackles. If they can get a push on the line and disrupt Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington with his reads, fakes, and pitches; the Utes can hope to force Washington to move the ball through the air.
The Yellow Jackets' sophomore quarterback completed just 46.7 percent of his passes on the season, and only threw for more than 100 yards once in his final six games. After throwing nine touchdowns in his first five games, Washington has failed to reach the end zone through the air since Oct. 1. There has been no single event to describe the drop-off - Washington has still performed well running the ball and the offense - just head-scratching passing plays where Washington simply misses the open man.
More often than not, that open man is 6-foot-5 wide receiver Stephen Hill. Hill led the Yellow Jackets in receiving this season with 785 yards on only 26 receptions. He has the frame and athletic ability to sneak downfield and make plays on jump balls. When a defense commits too many men to the run, Hill is able to beat the coverage and find open space downfield. Washington just struggled to hit him at times down the stretch of the regular season.
Utah would probably prefer the Sun Bowl be a low scoring game, giving John White IV enough carries to wear down Georgia Tech's defense. The Utes' defense has been among the best in the Pac-12 in limiting the big play, and their 17 passing touchdowns allowed is tied for second in the league. Utah has picked off opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season, fourth best among FBS teams, and could have plenty of opportunities with Washington under center. However if the secondary sleeps on Hill, the Utes could give up the big play they can't afford against a ball control team like Georgia Tech.
Keep up with all the latest on Georgia Tech and Utah at the Sun Bowl Pregame
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Tags: ACC, Bowl Predictions, Bowl Projections, Bowl Schedule, Bowl Season, CBS Sports Bowl Preview, Chip Patterson, College Football Bowl Games, David Sims, John White, John White IV, Jon Hays, Kyle Whittingham, Norm Chow, Orwin Smith, Pac-12, Roddy Jones, Stephen Hill, Sun Bowl, Sun Bowl Preview, Sun Bowl Projections, Sun Bowl Scores, Sun Bowl Showdown, Tevin Washington