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Air Force began the last drive of the game with the ball on their own nine-yard line and with 10:57 by leading Georgia Tech 14-7. The Falcons then methodically drove the ball down the field and along the way converted a key fourth down to keep the ball with a Tim Jefferson quarterback sneak. The Falcon offense stalled at the 20-yard line in what was to be the go ahead field goal but the attempt by Zack Bell was wide left.
Georgia Tech then had one last chance to and had the ball with 1:48 at its own 20 and quarterback Tevin Washington moved Tech down the field by throwing and passing the ball. Tech moved the ball all the way down to inside the Air Force 30-yard line, but had no timeouts and had to start passing the ball. This is where Tech was wishing they had top receiver Stephen Hill who was out for failing to meet academic requirements.
Tech quarterback Tevin Washington threw a deep pass in the end zone which to what he thought was an open receiver, but Air Force defensive back Jon Davis came out of nowhere to pick off that pass to seal the victory for Air Force. This was Davis' third interception on the year and is the often overlooked defensive back for Air Force after All-American Reggie Rembert and then Anthony Wright, Jr.
This game was a very competitive game, but it was a sloppy game on both sides. Air Force seemed to go for it on fourth down and came up short more often than not. The Falcons ended up going two-for-five on fourth down attempts and then on third down they were only 6 of 18. Air Force gave up many chances by not converting on third down and then going for it on fourth down which the Falcons rarely converted.
Georgia Tech also had their chances, but they turned the ball over four times, two were muffed punts. The turnover that cost them the game was the fumbled punt late in the third quarter which gave Air Force the ball deep in Georgia Tech territory. Air Force went on to score the go ahead score by running back Jared Tew and then the Falcons completed the two-point conversion to be up seven points.
While winning the game was the priority for Air Force, but during the game their live falcon mascot went missing for most of the second half, plus the falcon never did its pregame ritual of flying into the stadium. The falcon was eventually found and safely returned after being found on the top of a building nearby the stadium.
The third quarter resulted in no points and missed opportunities by Air Force who failed to take advantage of three Georgia Tech turnovers. Tech's only sign of offense in the quarter was the opening drive where they marched 75 yards down the field and took up over half of the third quarter, but then quarterback Tevan Washington fumbled the ball in the redzone. That was the only sign of offense that Georgia Tech would have in the third quarter.
The Georgia Tech defense did do a very good job of stifling the Falcon offense by forcing them on a three-and-out three times in the third quarter. The two fumbled punts are what did in Georgia Tech in the third quarter, because the last one which was at the end of a quarter gave Air Force the ball in the redzone.
It took Air Force only four plays and 14 yards to score the go ahead score. The touchdown was scored by Jared Tew who is in his first action since breaking his leg back in October. Air Force then went for two and was converted by Jonathan Warzeka to give Air Force a 14-7 lead.
Both teams are going for it on fourth down just about any time they have the chance. So far in the first half there have been 12 fourth down attempts with two punts, two field goals and eight plays where either team went for it. On those fourth down attempts Air Force converted one of their four attempts while Georgia Tech has made one of the their two attempts. In one of only three punts in the first half, Georgia Tech boomed one deep and gave Air Force the ball with 56 seconds left, at their own 19-yard line and Air Force had two timeouts to work with.
Air Force then went into passing mode as Tim Jefferson moved the Falcons down the field by completing four-of-seven passes. The first three completions went for 11, 19 and 17 yards respectively to put Air Force in position for at least a field goal. After a seven yard pass interference penalty against Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu, and another seven yard pass the Falcons went for the end zone a few times but failed to convert. So, the Falcons who have had some issues in the kicking game brought out Zack Bell to attempt a 41-yard attempt which he made, and what is the point of icing a future Air Force Cadet.
So far the game is moving quite along as expected with these two option offenses, but the scoring is very similar to the game when Air Force played Navy which featured little scoring in a 14-6 Air Force win.
Air Force has missed out on a few chances to score points in this game. They completed a fake punt to get a drive alive, but only to on a few plays later have wide receiver Jonathan Warzeka drop a pass that could have been a touchdown or at worse give the Falcons the ball in the red zone. On that same drive on a fourth down play Warzeka was tackled for a loss on a running play.
Neither team has gotten into a groove or has been able to convert on third or fourth down. Georgia Tech has the best drive of the game when they scored the touchdown in the first quarter. Expect for both teams to make some half time adjustments and be more conservative on fourth downs by perhaps punting instead of going for it.
A key fourth-and-one conversion by quarterback Tevan Washington on Georgia Tech's own 40 yard line was the key play in a 12-play drive that ended up in Georgia Tech scoring on a five yard touchdown run by Tech running back Anthony Allen.
The 12-play drive were on the ground with Allen and Washington combining for 30 yards on the drive. The touchdown was Allen's eighth on the year and on the day he has already piled up 43 yards on 10 carries with a long of 17 yards with all of the yards coming in the first quarter.
The first quarter comes to an end and as projected this bowl game is shaping up to be one of the quickest of the bowl season. So far there have been only five passes combined by the two schools, three by Air Force and two by Georgia Tech. If there are to be any more passes expect that to come from the Air Force side since they do tend to throw more then the Yellow Jackets.
Air Force defensive back Reggie Rembert returned a punt 43 yards to set up an Air Force field goal. The return put the ball on the Georgia Tech 39 yard line. Quarterback Tim Jefferson then moved the offense 15 yards on five plays where Falcon kicker Zack Bell drilled a 42-yard field goal for the early lead.
Air Force fullback Jared Tew is back in the lineup for today's game as excpected and so far has two carries for five yards in today's contest. However Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt will not play in today's game. There was some speculation late last night that he may play today, but he is in warmups on the Georgia Tech sideline.
Air Force also broke out their Thunderbird uniforms for today's game which they wore against Navy and Army this year.
Rod and Angel Jones could not have been more excited when it was announced that Georgia Tech would be playing Air Force in the Independence Bowl. The two are proud parents of Georgia Tech running back Roddy Jones and Air Force Darious Jones who is also a running back.
Roddy is a redshirt junior and on the year piled up 336 yards rushing, four scores and averaged 6.72 yards per carry, while his younger brother who is a sophomore and has seen limited action this year and has had eight carries but is averaging over nine yards per touch.
So what are two parents suppose to do with two of their children who are playing against each other. The easy answer is to get a split jersey with one side for Air Force and one side for Georgia Tech. During the game they will spend the first half in the Air Force section and the second half with the Georgia Tech contingency.
Regardless of this outcome, these two parents will be at a game they will cherish for a long time.
With kick off just over an hour away it is time to scour the web to see who picks who in the Independence Bowl.
Air Force receives four of the five picks from the CBS crew.
Of the four writers, three pick Air Force, with Gerry Ahern as the only one predicting a Georgia Tech victory.
In the eight person panel, Georgia Tech gets five votes while Air Force gets three votes to win.
Brett McMurphy is doing his bowl picks against the spread and is taking Georgia Tech at +2½.
Joseph Duarte who covers Rice for the Houston Chronicle picked every bowl game and has Air Force in this matchup.
What If Sports
What If Sports has Tech winning 21-14 and with Air Force needing 14 fourth quarter points in a failed comeback try.
ESPN ACC Blogger
Heather Dinich picks Georgia Tech to beat Air Force, 28-24. Her reasoning is because
dominated Air Force when he was at Navy. AccuScore
The computer simulation program predicts Air Force to win 32.6 to to 26.3 and 61 percent of the time.
My personal pick is Air Force winning 28-24 and believes the Falcon defense will be the deciding factor.
ESPN National Blogger
Andrea Adelson picks Air Force to win 27-17. Her reasoning is because Joshua Nesbitt is out for Georgia Tech.
From the Rumble Seat
The three head writers predict a Georgia Tech win, but in a sloppy game.
Air Force receives four of the five picks from the CBS crew.
For the past three weeks the status surrounding Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt has been that he is very unlikely to play. Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun is saying that he believes there is a strong possibility that Nesbitt will play in today's game. Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has said little on Nesbitt's status since they arrived to Shreveport for bowl practices:
"He's out," but he never officially closed the book. "He's probably not going to play," he said, changing from a definitive answer to one with a loophole. "That'd be a real reach, I think."
This could just be coaching gamesmanship and is trying for a mental edge against Air Force who may not have prepared for Nesbitt as much since he has been said to be likely out of the bowl game. Johnson has closed all the bowl practices to the media -- perhaps to see what Nesbitt could do -- so perhaps there could be a sighting of Nesbitt this afternoon.
A few weeks ago when the odds came out for the bowl games Air Force was a 2.5 favorite over Georgia Tech. Now the game has seen a very slight change in the point spread to favor Air Force now by a full field goal over the Ramblin' Wreck. The point spread only being three is somewhat surprising since Georgia Tech just announced that seven players are suspended for Monday's game; three are out for a half and four are out the entire game.
The over/under is at 56 which might be a little bit low since the combined points per game both Air Force and Georgia Tech per game is 60 points. Out of those suspensions six of the seven play defense with five that either start or are on Georgia Tech's two deep.
The likely return of return Jared Tew for Air Force will cause more problems for the Tech defense, but at least on the Georgia Tech side they are certain that quarterback Tevin Washington will be playing over Joshua Nesbitt who is still recovering from a broken arm, and most certainly would be rusty by not playing any football during the past six weeks.
The game should still be close even with Air Force most likely getting Jared Tew back and Georgia Tech missing seven players for all or part of the game. Tech did not lose any of their key offensive players and this game will come down to who's offense performs the best.
Air Force takes on Georgia Tech in what will be a battle of the rush in Monday's Independence Bowl. Georgia Tech and Air Force are number one and two nationally when it comes to running the ball; Tech averages 327 while Air Force averages 318 per game. They both average just over 5.6 yards per attempt and run the ball 58 times per game. The rushing game will be the story of the game and the obligatory jokes will be 'how fast will this game be' or 'how many passes will either team throw.'
These offense are both potent and have big play ability within the triple option offense. Air Force had as 26 rushing plays of 20 or more yards on the season which was good for 12th in the nation while Georgia Tech lead the nation with 43 rushing plays of 20 plus yards. Look for big plays from both sides, especially since both teams rushing defense are not good at all. Air Force is 100th and Georgia Tech came in at 79th in the nation in stopping the run.
Individual players to watch for on Air Force are first and foremost quarterback Tim Jefferson. He is the choreographer of the Troy Calhoun offense while being second on the team in rushing behind running back Asher Clark. The big stat with Jefferson is his 15 touchdowns which more than triples Nathan Walker who is second in rushing touchdowns with six. Air Force runs the ball with so many different players and ended up with eight that had more then 100 yards on the season. One back Air Force is hoping to get back for the bowl game is Jared Tew who broke his right fibula in the San Diego State game back on Oct. 16th. Tew performed well in early bowl practices and while Tew was sounding like he was going to play the coaches were cautiously optimistic about Tew's status for Monday's game.
While the Falcon offense is predicated on rushing the ball over 50 times a game they have a passing game that is quite good. Quarterback Tim Jefferson is one of the few Academy signal callers that can throw a nice deep ball. Jefferson averages 20.47 yards per attempt, so the Georgia Tech defense better stay focused and not have their safeties cheat by sneaking up to stop the run.
Georgia Tech's offense has been out with quarterback Joshua Nesbitt since Nov. 4th with a broken arm and while he wanted to suit up one more time for his team Nesbitt is not going to be able to play against Air Force. Nesbitt's replacement has been Tevin Washington has proven to be a competent back-up and has been able to run Paul Johnson's offense fairly well. The downside with Washington is that he does not have the deep ball touch that Nesbitt has.
In addition to Nesbitt being out, Georgia Tech will be without seven players for all or part of Monday's game. Four were suspended for not qualifying academically. Those four players include senior defensive end Robert Hall and senior linebacker Anthony Barnes as well as sophomore wide receiver Stephen Hill and senior safety Mario Edwards, both listed as starters on the latest depth chart.
The other three players who will have to sit out the first half for breaking their Friday night curfew, and they are are senior defensive end Anthony Egbuniwe, junior defensive back Michael Peterson and freshman defensive back Louis Young. All three of those players saw action in all 12 games this year with Egbyniwe being the most effective player out.
The Tech offense will be in trouble by missing wide receiver Stephen Hill who was the teams leading reception. Hill was their deep threat, but for Georgia Tech's sake they hope to not have to throw the ball that often. They will be running the ball at Air Force with Anthony Allen who has rushed for 1,228 yards as well as scoring six touchdowns. Georgia Tech goes just as deep as Air Force when using various rushers in each and every game.
The coaching matchup will be interesting since Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson has went 6-1 against Air Force when he was at Navy and could be seen as an advantage against Air Force.
While this game will feature quite a bit of offense, the Air Force secondary is one of the best in the country and could be the difference if Georgia Tech is forced to pass. The Falcons have defensive back Reggie Rembert who was named to the American Football Coaches Association first team.
The only guarantee in this game is that there will be at least 600 yards of rushing combined by both teams.