TaxSlayer Bowl: Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech
When: 11 a.m., Saturday
Series: Georgia Tech leads the series between the former SEC rivals 11-7-1
Last meeting: Georgia Tech won 23-13 in Atlanta on Sept. 17, 1960
Favorite: Georgia Tech is favored by three points
Kentucky tries to extend the good feelings that followed its season-ending upset of then-No. 11 Louisville by slowing the Georgia Tech triple-option attack and earning the Wildcats’ first bowl victory since the 2008 season (Liberty Bowl).
On the spot
The UK run defense. A Kentucky defense that is tied for 108th (of 128 teams) in the FBS against the run (allowing 225 yards a game) confronts Coach Paul Johnson’s ground-hugging Georgia Tech triple-option attack that is 10th in the country (257.4 yards a game) in rushing.
The big threat
Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas (562 net yards rushing, five touchdowns) is the decision maker whose reads make the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option rushing attack go. When defenses get lulled to sleep by the Tech ground attack, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior from Prattville, Ala., is capable of big plays (eight touchdown passes) in the passing game, too.
Has been giddy ever since Austin MacGinnis’ field goal defeated Louisville 41-38 in the biggest upset in the history of the Governor’s Cup rivalry. A loss to a quality Georgia Tech team that has won five of its last six games would not be disastrous. But a bowl victory would back up the season-defining win over U of L and send Mark Stoops and his coaching staff onto the recruiting trails with gale-force winds behind their backs.