Music City Bowl College Football Handicapping: Ole Miss Rebels vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

2013 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Ole Miss Rebels vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

LP Field – Nashville, Tennessee
Monday, December 30, 2013, 3:15 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Ole Miss -2 1/2
Current Line: Ole Miss -3 
Opening Total: 57 1/2
Current Total: 56
Opening Money Line: Ole Miss -145 / Georgia Tech +125
Current Money Line: Ole Miss -155 / Georgia Tech +135

Ole Miss is a 3 point favorite against Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl in Nashville Monday.
Ole Miss is a 3 point favorite against Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl in Nashville Monday.

The 7-5 Ole Miss Rebels and 7-5 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets meet in Monday’s Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville. The two schools have met twice previously in bowl games. Georgia Tech beat Ole Miss 24-7 in the 1952 Sugar Bowl but the Rebels won 41-18 in the 1971 Peach Bowl. That was the last meeting between the schools and it happened a year after Archie Manning graduated from Mississippi. Overall, Georgia Tech leads the series 2-1.

Ole Miss went 3-5 in the SEC West this season. The Rebels are 22-12 in bowl games all-time. Since 1992, Mississippi has won 9 of their last 10 bowl games, including 5 straight games. The lone loss in that span came in this bowl in 2000 to West Virginia 49-38. The Rebels beat Pittsburgh 38-17 in last year’s BBVA Compass Bowl in Mobile.

Georgia Tech went 5-3 in the ACC Coastal Division. The Yellow Jackets were tied with Miami and Virginia Tech for second behind 6-2 Duke. Georgia Tech is 23-18 all-time in bowl games. Although the Yellow Jackets are playing in a bowl for  the 17th straight season, Georgia Tech beat USC 21-7 in the Sun Bowl in El Paso last season to snap a 7 game bowl losing streak. Georgia Tech has not played in a bowl game in Tennessee since the 1972 Liberty Bowl.

Ole Miss is coached by Hugh Freeze. The Rebels have home wins over SE Missouri State 31-13, LSU 27-24, Idaho 59-14, Arkansas 34-24, and Troy 51-21, along with road wins at Vanderbilt 39-35 and Texas 44-23. Ole Miss has road losses at Alabama 25-0, Auburn 30-22 and Mississippi State 17-10 in overtime to close out the regular season, along with home losses to Texas A&M 41-38 and Missouri 24-10. The rebels have lost 2 straight games after a 4 game winning streak. Mississippi is 6-6 ATS and the total is 6-6 this season. The Rebels were 4 point favorites against rival Mississippi State and the total was 53.5.

Ole Miss is outscoring teams 30-24 this season. Mississippi is #59 in scoring and #39 in points allowed out of 125 FBS teams. The Rebels are averaging 473.4 total yards including 285.6 passing and 187.8 rushing yards. Ole Miss is #22 in total offense, #24 in passing and #43 in rushing nationally out of 125 teams. On defense, the Rebels are allowing 376.5 total yards including 221.2 passing and 155.2 rushing yards. Mississippi is even in turnovers with 20 takeaways and giveaways. The Rebels average  44 penalty yards per game and opponents average 44. Ole Miss is 97/209 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 79/190. The Rebels have forced 19 sacks and allowed 25 this season. Ole Miss is 31/41 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns, and opponents are 38/44 with 29 touchdowns. The Rebels have a punt return and a fumble return both for touchdowns and have allowed a pick six.

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace has completed 64.4% of his passes for 3,090 yards with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 118 carries, 269 yards and 4 touchdowns. Back-up Barry Brunetti usually takes a few snaps a game. He has completed 57.9% of his passes for 294 yards and 6 touchdowns, and also has 56 carries, 279 yards and 4 touchdowns. Third string quarterback Robert Ratliff has thrown for 24 yards and two picks.

Running back I’Tavius Mathers has 82 carries, 505 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 5 catches. Jeff Scott has 67 carries, 493 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 16 catches for 107 yards. Scott also has a punt return for a touchdown. Jaylen Walton has 97 catches for 470 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 27 catches  for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Wide receiver Donta Moncrief has 53 catches for 825 yards and 5 touchdowns. Ja-Mes Logan has 44 catches for 583 yards and 3 touchdowns. Laquon Treadwell has 67 catches for 557 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Evan Engram has 20 catches, 265 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is out for the season with an ankle injury. Another tight end Charlie Scott is questionable with a foot injury. Tight end Christian Morgan is out for the season with a knee injury. Vince Sanders and Jordan Holder will also get some catches. Receiver Korvic Neat is out for the season with a knee injury. Four defesnive players and 2 offensive linemen are listed on the Ole Miss injury report.

Georgia Tech is coached by Paul Johnson. The Yellow Jackets opened the season 3-0, lost 3 straight, went on another 3 game winning streak and finished the season 1-2. Georgia Tech has home wins over Elon 70-0, North Carolina 28-20, Syracuse 56-0, Pittsburgh 21-10, and Alabama A&M 66-7, along with road wins at Duke 38-14 and Virginia 35-25. The Yellow Jackets have road losses at Miami 45-30, BYU 38-20, and Clemson 55-31, along with home losses to Virginia Tech 17-10 and Georgia 41-34 in double overtime to close out the regular season. Georgia Tech is 5-6-1 ATS and the total is 8-4 this season. The Yellow Jackets were 2.5 point underdogs against Georgia and the total was 58.5.

Georgia Tech is outscoring teams 37-23 this season. The Yellow Jackets are #22 in scoring nationally and #29 in points allowed nationally. Georgia Tech is averaging 440.7 yards per game (#41 nationally) on offense including the nation’s fourth leading rushing attack at 312.1 yards per game. The passing game is an after thought at best for the triple option Yellow Jackets and Georgia Tech is #120 in passing at 128.6 yards per game. On defense, the Yellow Jackets are allowing 350.5 yards per game (#22 nationally), including 243.5 passing yards (#86) and 107 rushing yards (#10). Georgia Tech is -5 in turnovers with 22 giveaways. The Yellow Jackets are 91/176 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 61/164. Georgia Tech is 43/48 scoring in the red zone with 39 touchdowns and opponents are 28/37 with 24 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets have two pick sixes and a fumble return for a touchdown, and has allowed 2 pick sixes this season. Georgia Tech averages 41 penalty yards per game and opponents average 51. The Yellow Jackets have forced 32 sacks and allowed 12 this season.

Quarterback Vad Lee has completed 47.2% of his passes for 1,414 yards with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also has 166 carries, 489 yards and 8 touchdowns. Back-up Justin Thomas has thrown for 131 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions along with 32 carries for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Running back David Sims has 151 carries for 856 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with a 2 catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Robert Godhigh has 69 carries for 694 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 21 catches, 420 yards and  2 touchdowns. Zach Laskey has 79 carries, 458 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 3 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.  Synjyn Days has four rushing touchdowns.  Tim Byerly, Charles Perkins, and Matt Connors each have 2 rushing touchdowns.

Receiver DeAndre Smelter has 21 catches, 345 yards and 4 touchdowns. Darren Waller has 15 catches for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michael Summers has 10 catches for 211 yards. Four defensive players (including 3 defensive backs) and three offensive linemen are listed as doubtful or out Monday for Georgia Tech.

Ole Miss is 4-0-1 ATS in neutral site games, 3-0-1 in bowl games, 18-5 in non-conference games, 5-2 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 7-3 after a straight up loss, 2-6 after scoring less than 20 points, and 1-4 on grass.

Georgia Tech is 5-1 ATS after allowing 40 points or more, 6-2 after a straight up loss, 1-3-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 2-6-1 overall and on grass, 1-4 against SEC teams, 1-5 in bowl games, and 0-6 against teams with winning records.

Both of these teams lost in overtime to their arch-rivals to close out the regular season. They both need to put those heartbreaking losses behind them for the bowl game. Ole Miss isn’t terrible at stopping the run, but they aren’t exactly great either. They will face a lot of running plays against Georgia Tech obviously. If the Rebels can hold them to around 200 yards on the ground or less, then Ole Miss should win. I do think this will be a high scoring game though.

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