Mississippi-Georgia Tech Preview
Like Georgia Tech, Mississippi is seeking to end an up-and-down
season in positive fashion at the Music City Bowl.
The Rebels will also try to earn a school-record sixth
consecutive postseason victory when they face the Yellow Jackets on
Monday in Nashville.
Ole Miss secured its second bowl appearance in as many seasons
under coach Hugh Freeze with a four-game win streak that started
with a 27-24 upset of then-No. 6 LSU on Oct. 19. The Rebels,
though, dropped their final two games, including a 17-10 overtime
loss at rival Mississippi State on Nov. 28.
“Of course it hurt,” defensive back Dehendret Collins said. “You
have to bounce back and get ready for the bowl game.”
Ole Miss (7-5) started the season 3-0 – capped by a 44-23 win at
Texas on Sept. 14 – before losing its next three games to SEC
powers Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M. Georgia Tech also opened
3-0, including a 38-14 victory at eventual ACC Coastal Division
champion Duke on Sept. 14, before dropping three in a row.
The Yellow Jackets rebounded to take four of their final six,
but the only victory in the final three games was a blowout of FCS
foe Alabama A&M on Nov. 23. They blew a 20-point lead in a
41-34 overtime loss to rival Georgia the next week.
Georgia Tech (7-5) is appearing in a bowl for the 17th
consecutive year but had lost a program-worst seven straight before
a 21-7 win over Southern California in last year’s Sun Bowl. The
Yellow Jackets are making their first trip to the Music City Bowl,
about 250 miles from campus.
“To play a bowl game within driving distance for our fans, and
to play against a high-quality opponent in Ole Miss, is a great
opportunity,” coach Paul Johnson said. “Ole Miss is a very talented
football team and they are well-coached, so we certainly have our
work cut out for us.”
Freeze also expects to see many friendly faces in the crowd.
“I appreciate the unbelievable support Rebel Nation has provided
our team, and I look forward to seeing a sea of Red and Blue in
Nashville,” said Freeze, whose program plays its home games four
Ole Miss last appeared in this bowl in 2000, losing 49-38 to
West Virginia, but has since won five straight postseason games.
The Rebels are 9-1 in the last 10, including a 38-17 victory over
Pittsburgh in last year’s Compass Bowl.
In its attempt at a school-record bowl win streak, Ole Miss will
try to slow down Georgia Tech’s triple option. The Yellow Jackets
ranked sixth in the FBS with 311.7 rushing yards per game, and that
doesn’t bode well for a Rebels defense which surrendered an average
of 188.4 against major conference opponents.
Tailback David Sims has a chance to become Georgia Tech’s first
player to run for 1,000 yards since Anthony Allen in 2010, having
rushed for 846 with 11 touchdowns for a team that was 22nd in the
FBS with 36.6 points per game.
The Rebels totaled just 20 points in their final two games as Bo
Wallace failed to throw a touchdown pass and had four of his nine
interceptions. The junior threw for only 17 TDs – five fewer than
his sophomore year – but finished second in the SEC with 3,090
Laquon Treadwell earned SEC freshman of the year honors after
making a team-best 67 receptions for 557 yards and five TDs.
Treadwell was part of a highly touted class that included the
nation’s No. 1 recruit, defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, and
offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil.
Wallace will have to be weary of defensive end Jeremiah
Attaochu, who registered 10 of his 12 sacks over the final five
games and earned all-ACC first-team honors. Attaochu’s 31 career
sacks are tied for the most in school history.
Despite his efforts, the Yellow Jackets were second-to-last in
the ACC against the pass, surrendering 243.5 yards per game.
However, they ranked ninth nationally against the run (107.0 ypg)
and in the top 30 in total defense (350.5) and points allowed (22.7
Ole Miss is facing Georgia Tech for the first time since a 41-18
rout in the 1971 Peach Bowl. The Yellow Jackets have won two of
three all-time matchups.