Point/Counterpoint: Is Georgia Tech a good match-up for Iowa?

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 08, 2009 7:30 AM

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In the words of Will Smith, welcome to Miami.

Now that the Hawkeyes are officially bound for a BCS bowl, it’s time to start talking about whether No. 10 Iowa can knock off the No. 9 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The Hawkeyes will need to stop the most prolific offense in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the fourth-best offense in the country if they want to return to Iowa City with an orange-filled trophy.

Stopping Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack is a daunting task. The Yellow Jackets average 35 points and 307 rushing yards per game.

In spite of all this, defensive coordinator Norm Parker and the Hawkeye defense will, without a doubt, be up to the challenge.

Most of Iowa’s games this season have come down to key plays on the defensive side of the ball. This game will be no different — solid defense should determine which team hoists the Orange Bowl trophy.

Although Iowa hasn’t played a team with the running style of Georgia Tech, the Hawkeye defense has limited its opponents to an average of 122 rushing yards per game and has only given up more than 200 rushing yards one time all season.

The Hawkeyes will avoid getting stung by the Yellow Jackets if the defensive line limits Georgia Tech’s yards after contact. Linemen Adrian Clayborn, Broderick Binns, Karl Klug, and Christian Ballard will keep Yellow Jacket quarterback Josh Nesbitt and running back Jonathan Dwyer at bay.

Another overlooked aspect of this matchup is that Iowa, in fact, has an offense, too.

Georgia Tech is a middle-of-the-road defense, ranked sixth in its conference in total defense with 357 yards per game.

Although Iowa is ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten in most offensive categories, the Hawkeyes have battled through adversity and found ways to win.

With Ricky Stanzi back under center and Iowa playing its typical Norm-Parker style of defense, the Hawkeyes should have the extra, Vitamin C-like boost to lead them to its first BCS bowl victory.

— by Mitch Smith

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The Jan. 5, 2010, clash between the No. 10 Hawkeyes and the No. 9 Yellow Jackets will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Not only that, but the Orange Bowl will also see a classic battle — a high-powered Georgia Tech offense matching up with a stout Iowa defense.

Georgia Tech’s version of a prolific attack is vastly different version from what the norm has become in college football. Instead of throwing the ball down the field, the Yellow Jackets rely on head coach Paul Johnson’s option scheme.

And in 2009, the option has been a pretty good option for Georgia Tech. The Jackets will enter South Beach, Fla., touting the country’s 11th-best scoring offense, amassing more than 35 points per contest.

Wisconsin’s 21st-ranked scoring offense is the best the Hawkeyes have seen all season. And no offense to Bucky, but the Badgers don’t compare with an explosive Tech squad.

The Yellow Jackets are led by Josh Nesbitt at quarterback and Jonathan Dwyer at “a-back.” Nesbitt is among the swiftest signal-callers in the nation.

Dwyer, his partner-in-crime, is not only speedy, but the 235-pounder also won’t hesitate to kindly excuse himself from oncoming defenders.

Just when an opposing defense thinks all it has to do is key in on the option, junior wideout Demaryius Thomas makes defensive coordinators think twice. Recording a reception of at least 50 yards or more in nine games this season, Thomas is the definition of a home-run threat.

And Nesbitt has proven he has more than enough of an arm to get it to him.

If the Iowa defense is forced to stay on the field for long periods of time — as it often has this season — the Hawkeyes will be in trouble.

— by Jordan Garretson

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