Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi State: 5 Things You Need To Know For Orange Bowl

By Jerry Landry

Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi State: 5 Things You Need To Know For Orange Bowl

Orange Bowl College Football Mascot
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC knocked off four SEC East teams two weeks back, and now its No. 2 gets a shot at an SEC West team. Mississippi State, a team that likes to run the football, will try to preserve purported SEC supremacy against Georgia Tech, a team that lives to run the football. Before you get too psyched for this physical matchup, here are five things you need to know for the Capital One Orange Bowl.

5. DeAndre Smelter Is Out With An ACL Tear

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets WR DeAndre Smelter
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

5. DeAndre Smelter Is Out With An ACL Tear

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets WR DeAndre Smelter
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Yellow Jackets run the ball 80 percent of the time, DeAndre Smelter is more than just a luxury that will be missed. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound wideout was also an excellent blocker for those runs, and he’s a difference-maker when you need to get down the field in a hurry. Without Smelter, Georgia Tech can’t afford to fall too far behind the Bulldogs.

4. Mississippi State Is 25th Against The Rush

Mississippi State Bulldogs College Football Defense
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

4. Mississippi State Is 25th Against The Rush

Mississippi State Bulldogs College Football Defense
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Calling Georgia Tech’s offense a “rushing attack” is a little insulting, especially when it’s really the read-option offense on steroids. What will determine whether the Bulldogs' touted run defense means anything is if each player can stay on his assignment, if the ends can maintain their edges, and if the remainder of the front seven can fill the gaps -- and do so against a speedy and chaotic backfield. Seems simple enough.

3. Time to Prepare Hurts Georgia Tech’s Triple-Option Effectiveness

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Triple-option
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

3. Time to Prepare Hurts Georgia Tech’s Triple-Option Effectiveness

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Triple-option
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech is 1-5 in bowl games under Paul Johnson, and this has a lot to do with the extended layoffs between the end of the college football regular season and bowl season. Mississippi’s talented defense will be further fortified given their 26 days to prepare for Paul Johnson’s Flexbone offense.

2. Dak Prescott Can Run The Ball Too

Dak Prescott Mississippi State Bulldogs Quarterback
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

2. Dak Prescott Can Run The Ball Too

Dak Prescott Mississippi State Bulldogs Quarterback
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Thomas isn’t the only one who is known to scamper across the gridiron, Dak Prescott has run for nearly 1000 yards himself (939), and has escaped for 494 yards on the ground in six games against the stingy SEC West.

1. Mississippi State Is More Battle-Tested

Mississippi State Bulldogs Running Back Josh Robinson
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

1. Mississippi State Is More Battle-Tested

Mississippi State Bulldogs Running Back Josh Robinson
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs have braced through two SEC trials by fire this season, going 3-0 in a three-game stretch against LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn. In November, the Bulldogs played Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss in which they finally broke down, going 1-2 in that stretch. All six of those opponents are favored in their bowl games. What Mississippi State had to endure could be the telling tip in predicting the victor of this punishing matchup.

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