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2016 TaxSlayer Bowl: Staff Predictions for Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky

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The FTRS staff is confident, but cautious, about Georgia Tech’s chances.

NCAA Football: Virginia at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With the TaxSlayer Bowl set for Saturday at 11:00am, here’s what the FTRS staff expects to see when Georgia Tech takes the field against Kentucky.

Kieffer Milligan: Georgia Tech 35, Kentucky 31

There will be a limited number of drives in this game, but offensive efficiency(or defensive inefficiency) will lead to a high scoring affair. Neither of these teams have shown a propensity for stopping the run, and both teams are adept at running. The team that wins the game will do so by sticking to the game plan (read: not getting cute and passing the ball) and making red zone stands on defense.

Conner Knapp: Georgia Tech 38, Kentucky 30

Jackets rush for 400+ yards and Justin Thomas throws and rushes for 100 yards in his Yellow Jacket sendoff.

Josh Brundage: Georgia Tech 38, Kentucky 24

Georgia Tech wins an easy one here, with Kentucky scoring a cosmetic touchdown late to make it look closer than it was. The Wildcat D is baffled by the flexbone and the Tech defense tightens, forcing the Kentucky offense into errant throws.

Ben Tankersley: Georgia Tech 42, Kentucky 20

Justin Thomas goes out in a big way here. Think Orange Bowl performance but better.

MagnaCarterGT: Georgia Tech 31, Kentucky 21

I am admittedly a bit unfamiliar with this Kentucky team, so let's see here..... [puts on reading glasses] "The Kentucky Wildcats are a college football team....." [squints] "....who annually participate in the East division of the Southeastern Conference." The East is the bad division, right? Or are they just the non-Bama division? Anyway Tech is already 2-0 in the SEC East, putting them in serious contention for "team who gets to get destroyed by Alabama in Atlanta". Kentucky has a pair of 1000 yard rushers in Stanley Williams and Benny Snell Jr., and that's great! Georgia Tech hasn't had much trouble against the run. But Kentucky has. That's going to be a problem for them.

There will be points, and no one is going to see it, because this game kicks off opposite of the Citrus Bowl, but hopefully a few people DVR it. Tech should end up with a few more of those point thingys than the 'Cats.

Danny Duncanson: Georgia Tech 38, Kentucky 31

This game has all the makings of a shootout. Kentucky's offense finished the season on fire, scoring less than 35 points only once in their final 5 games (a 24-27 loss to georgia). As we all know, Tech finished the season on a similarly strong note, riding explosive plays to wins in 5 of the last 6 games. I think both defenses are going to have a tough time getting stops, as both teams have the ability to run the ball effectively and hit big plays over the top. This game could very well come down to which defense can make a stop or get a turnover when it matters most. Strange as it may seem, I trust the Yellow Jacket defense to come through more than I trust the Wildcats.

I think Tech is the better team in this game by roughly a touchdown. If the defense can limit star RBs Boom Williams and Benny Snell early in the game and force the ball into QB Stephen Johnson's hands, the Yellow Jackets could win pretty easily. On the other hand, if the defensive line can't stand their ground against the Wildcat's running game, it could be a long afternoon. But at the end of the day, I just can't see this senior class and especially Justin Thomas going out without a win, even if it takes yet another heroic fourth quarter effort.

Drew Gordon: Georgia Tech 31, Kentucky 27

Once again, Georgia Tech's defense looks atrocious, but somehow holds the opponent to a reasonable score. On offense, moves the ball okay on the ground, but it really relies on big plays through the air to keep the ball moving. This game remains a close game throughout, but the Yellow Jackets are able to send Justin Thomas, Freddie Burden, Eason Fromayan, PJ Davis, Pat Gamble, Rod Rook-Chungong, Francis Kallon, Harrison Butker, and Ryan Rodwell off with one last win.

Rane Martin: Georgia Tech 42, Kentucky 24

It will basically be a repeat of the 2014 Orange Bowl as JT5's talent will be on full display. The offense, behind JT and Mills, comes out on fire and keeps the foot on the gas the entire game. The defense forces a few timely turnovers in attempted deep balls to blow the game open.

Joey Weaver: Georgia Tech 38, Kentucky 28

I expect the team to come out motivated and prepared to finish the season strong, with a strong send-off for several of its senior leaders. Kentucky will struggle to defend the option, although the Yellow Jackets will struggle for a while to defend Kentucky’s power rushing attack. Ultimately, the Jackets’ defense will come up with some stops in the second half to help put the game away.

What are your predictions for tomorrow’s Bowl game?