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If you're a fan of good old fashion triple option football, the Independence Bowl is for you! The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will take on the Air Force Falcons. These two teams basically mirror each other, and they will both have to find out how they can beat a team at their own game, something that neither team really does on a regular basis. We have all the ins and outs and news and notes for NCAA football betting fans to sink their teeth into for the Independence Bowl!
Independence Bowl Matchup: Air Force Falcons vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Date: Monday, December 27th, 5:00 ET
Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Independence Bowl Line: Air Force -2.5
Falcons Notes: The Falcons are going to potentially be at full strength for the first time in a couple months. The triple option assault really was never quite the same without RB Jared Tew, who broke his leg ten weeks ago, has worked hard and is back on a track to play on Monday night in Shreveport in what will be the last game in his career. The senior has only rushed for 540 yards and three TDs this year, but he would have easily been a 1,000+ yard rusher if not for his injury. Instead, RB Asher Clark got the job done, making it to 1,001 yards and five scores. The glue to the offense has been QB Tim Jefferson, Jr. The junior has really been the key man in this offense for about two and a half seasons and was really cut loose this year with a chance to shine. He threw for 1,342 yards and ten TDs, and he rushed for 769 yards and 15 scores. All of those numbers were a career high. This offense averaged 320.8 yards per game this year on the ground, good enough for No. 2 in the land. It also put together 32.2 points per game and dropped at least 35 points on the board in its last three. The defense has had some rough points this year. Down the stretch, the Falcons averaged 26.4 points per game, which was a far cry from the 16.4 points per game average from the first month and a half of the year. What we have to remember about the Falcons is that they played a very difficult schedule this year that included road games against the Oklahoma Sooners, San Diego State Aztecs, and TCU Horned Frogs, while the BYU Cougars, Navy Midshipmen, and Utah Utes all paid a visit to Colorado Springs.
Yellow Jackets Notes: A year after going to the Orange Bowl, the Ramblin' Wreck really just didn't live up to their potential. GT only went 6-6 this year and is lucky to be playing in a bowl game this year, especially after losing four of its last five games on the campaign. The big downfall came when QB Josh Nesbitt was knocked out for the season. Nesbitt wasn't having the type of stats this year that he was hoping for. He was thought to be a Heisman Trophy contender in this, his final campaign in the Peach State. Without the services of WR Demaryius Thomas, who was a first round choice in the NFL Draft of the Denver Broncos, Nesbitt never really had a chance to throw the ball all that much. He went just 39-of-105 for 674 yards with seven scores against four picks. Now, QB Tevin Washington has been called into duty just a tad prematurely. Washington is the man that was recruited by Head Coach Paul Johnson to be his second triple option quarterback, but if he doesn't pick it up from his first real attempts this year at trying to lead an offense, he is going to be in a lot of trouble. Washington rushed for 383 yards and threw for 376, accounting for six TDs. It also didn't help G-Tech that RB Jonathan Dwyer elected to go to the NFL this year, a real shock for a man that was once collecting accolades in the ACC year in and year out. Instead, RB Anthony Allen ran for 1,225 yards and six TDs on the year. Just as Air Force ranks No. 2 in the country on the ground, Georgia Tech is No. 1 at 327.2 yards per game. However, whereas the Falcons have already proven that they can stuff up the rushing attacks of fellow triple options, the Yellow Jackets ranked just No. 72 on the ground at 157.0 yards per game.
The Final Word: Georgia Tech really just didn't look good this year, especially with Washington under center. The team only beat two bowl teams this year, and the Middle Tennessee State Red Raiders and North Carolina Tar Heels don't provide the same type of challenge that the Falcons do. With Tew back in the lineup, Air Force really is that good of a team this year, and this might be a legitimate Top 25 team. The Falcons simply are the better team, and there is a reason why Georgia Tech was a two TD underdog against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Independence Bowl Free Pick: Air Force -2.5
Independence Bowl Prediction: Air Force 37 – Georgia Tech 27