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CHICK-FIL-A BOWL
Chick-fil-A Bowl History
Virginia Tech (10-2)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Georgia (8-4)
Schedule/Results / Bowl History
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Date: Saturday, December 30
Time: 8:00 pm EST
TV: ESPN

Game Preview

by Mike Mitchell

Georgia is playing in its 42nd bowl game while Virginia Tech is making just its 20th trip. But the Hokies have garnered more invitations in recent history with 14 consecutive bowl appearances to the Bulldogs' 10.

Georgia has fared better in the won-loss column with seven victories in their last nine bowl games. Virginia Tech is just 6-7 in its previous 13 bowls, but that includes a national championship game loss to Florida State in 1999 and three other BCS/Alliance bowl dates in which it went 1-2. Georgia has played in just two BCS/Alliance Bowls on its run (the Alliance pre-dated the BCS which began in 1998).

The Hokies have never won bowl games in consecutive seasons under Frank Beamer. In fact, the only time the school has ever won two bowl games in-a-row, they were seven years apart - Bill Dooley led Virginia Tech to its first bowl win in history in this game in 1986, and Frank Beamer's first bowl team won the Independence Bowl in 1993.

Virginia Tech is 1-1 all-time in this game which was known as the Peach Bowl through last season. Georgia is 2-2.

The consensus opinion of observers is that this game should be an all-out defensive war. Virginia Tech leads the nation in points allowed with 9.3, yards allowed, and passing yards allowed. Bud Foster's defense also ranks 13th in rushing yards allowed.

Georgia is 9th in total yards allowed, 5th in passing yards allowed, but 21st in points allowed and 31st in stopping the run.

Both teams intercepted 16 passes.

Virginia Tech ranks just slightly ahead of Georgia on offense, scoring 26 points per game to Georgia's 24.7. The Bulldogs, however, averaged 321.1 yards per game to the Hokies' 304.

Virginia Tech is expected to have a healthy Branden Ore in the backfield. Ore left the game against Wake Forest in the first quarter with a high ankle sprain. Even though he missed the last 7-1/2 quarters of the season, he ran for 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns. Kenny Lewis had 210 yards as his back-up but saw meaningful action only in the last two games of the season as Ore's replacement.

Georgia's running game was paced by Kregg Lumpkin with 759 yards and 5 TD's. Fullback Brannan Southerland (6-0, 244) was used frequently in short-yardage and goal line situations and he responded with 7 touchdowns on just 40 carries.

Neither team had a great year throwing the ball, but the Hokies' Sean Glennon would appear to have a big edge over anyone the Bulldogs put behind center. Georgia used three different quarterbacks who combined to throw 11 TD passes and 14 interceptions.

Virginia Tech's Glennon was 157-of-276 (56.9) for 2,097 yards with 11 touchdowns and 8 picks.

Georgia lists Matthew Stafford at the top of the quarterback depth chart for the bowl game. Stafford was 126-of-235 for 1,620 yards. He threw only 6 touchdown passes while being intercepted 12 times and sacked 10 times.

The Bulldogs were far better at pass protection, though, allowing 14 sacks compared to 25 for Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech's receiving corps is talented and deep. Seven pass-catchers snagged at least 12 passes for over 100 yards, four caught 20 passes or more, seven different receivers scored touchdowns, three went over 400 yards, and eight had at least 1 reception of 40 yards or more.

Eddie Royal, the Hokies' leading receiver in yardage with 452, had 1,122 all-purpose yards. Ore had 1,298 yards combined rushing and receiving.

Georgia running backs combined for 43 catches and 430 yards, accounting for a quarter of all receptions. Only two receivers had over 20 catches, and only two caught a pass over 40 yards.