Iowa Holds Georgia Tech to 9 First Downs, 156 Yards
by CFP Staff
January 5, 2010
Ricky Stanzi threw two first quarter touchdown passes and Iowa went on to defeat Georgia Tech 24-14 in the Orange Bowl. Stanzi was seeing his first action since suffering an ankle injury that required surgery in the November 7 Northwestern game.
The Hawkeyes' 30th-ranked rushing defense held the nation's 2nd-best rushing offense to 143 yards. The Ramblin' Wreck only managed 156 yards overall and 9 first downs. Georgia Tech's only points in the first 47:30 came off an interception return as it took its 5th straight bowl loss.
Iowa had an inauspicious start as Marvin McNutt fumbled at his own 47-yard line after catching a pass, but Georgia Tech failed to take advantage of the short field and punted. Stanzi then marched his team 80 yards in 7 plays with McNutt scoring on a 3-yard pass.
After a Georgia Tech punt, Stanzi drove the Hawkeyes 83 yards in 4 plays with Colin Sandeman scoring on a 21-yard pass down the right sideline that dropped perfectly over his shoulder.
A rout appeared to be brewing when Georgia Tech had to punt for a third straight time after leading the nation with just 30 punts all year and none in its previous two games. But Jerrard Tarrant intercepted Stanzi two plays later and returned it 40 yards to make it 14-7 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
The score stayed that way until the 3rd quarter when Iowa padded its lead on a 33-yard Daniel Murray field goal after Georgia Tech missed a 41-yarder. But the Jackets closed to within 17-14 early in the 4th when Anthony Allen scored on a 1-yard run to cap an 11-play, 71-yard march in their best offensive showing of the night.
However, Georgia Tech never got past its own 32-yard line the rest of the game and Iowa put it out of reach when Brandon Wegher broke to the end zone on a 32-yard run with 1:56 remaining.
Wegher finished with 113 yards on 16 carries while Stanzi was 17-of-29 for 231 yards.
Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer had 49 yards on 14 carries and QB Josh Nesbitt had 46 yards on 20 rushes. Nesbitt was just 2-of-9 passing for 13 yards.
Iowa's first major bowl victory since the 1957 season Rose Bowl enabled it to reach 11 wins (11-2) for just the second time in school history (2002). It also gave the top four teams in the Big Ten a sweep of their bowl games as Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin also won and all finished the season with at least 10 wins.
The Yellow Jackets were making their first appearance in a major bowl game since the 1966 season Orange Bowl and haven't won a major since the 1955 season Sugar Bowl.
The kickoff temperature was 49 degrees in south Florida making it the coldest Orange Bowl ever played.