The Georgia Tech football team learned their post season fate today. Coach Paul Johnson will finish his career in Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Both Georgia Tech and Minnesota will be returning to postseason action after finishing with 5 wins and missing out on a bowl appearance in the 2017 season. Georgia Tech’s last bowl was a 33-18 victory over Kentucky in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl. Minnesota’s last bowl was a 17-12 Holiday Bowl win over Washington State in 2016.
Minnesota finished this season at 6-6 (3-6), tying for 5th in the Big Ten West with Nebraska. In coach P.J. Fleck’s second season, the Gophers and were generally one of the more difficult teams to figure out all year. They opened the season with three non-conference wins, including a 21-14 victory over a strong Fresno State team. Conference season started on a rough note with a big losses to Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State, and Nebraska. The next three games were a roller coaster: a win over Indiana, a blowout loss to Illinois, and a 31-point win over Purdue. They closed the season with a loss to Northwestern and a win over Wisconsin, claiming Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the first time since 2003.
Minnesota finished the season at 58 in S&P+ (compared to 74 for Georgia Tech). They averaged 28.5 points per game while giving up 27.9. On offense, they’re led by redshirt freshman QB Tanner Morgan, who took over for freshman QB Zack Annexstad after Annexstad suffered an injury against Nebraska. Morgan threw for 1269 yards with a 59% completition percentage, 7 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. The Gophers’ top offensive weapon is junior WR Tyler Johnson, who finished second in the Big Ten with 1112 yards recieving and 10 touchdowns. Their top weapon on the ground is freshman RB Mohamed Ibrahim, who rushed for 936 yards and 7 scores on 5.5 yards per carry.
On defense, senior LB Blake Cashman led Minnesota with 104 tackles, 15 of which were for a loss. Junior LB Chris Coughlin also recorded 15 tackles for loss and led the team with 9.5 sacks. Senior DB Jacob Huff was a playmaker in the secondary with 85 tackles, 7 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and a pair of forced fumbles. Freshman DB Terell Smith (from Snellville, GA) is another player to watch in the secondary.
This will be the first game between Georgia Tech and Minnesota. The Quick Lane Bowl has the 9th pick in the ACC selection order, meaning only Boston College and Wake Forest were picked below Georgia Tech. The game will kickoff on December 26th at 5:15 pm.