The 2018 Quick Lane Bowl will pit the Big Ten Conference and ACC against each other this season. Minnesota will face Georgia Tech on Dec. 26 (5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN). Here is the 2018 Quick Lane Bowl preview:
Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6)
After failing to make a bowl in their first season under coach P.J. Fleck in 2017, the Golden Gophers rowed the boat into a postseason contest this year. Minnesota won only three games in the Big Ten, but two came over its final three matchups. The most impressive, 37-15 victory at Wisconsin to end the regular season.
A defense that was often maligned and yielded a combined 813 rushing yards to Nebraska and Illinois, kept the Badgers to 170 on the ground and intercepted Alex Hornibrook three times.
It’s likely Minnesota will need that kind of defensive effort against Georgia Tech’s option attack. However, reports are out that several Gophers players will be suspended for the bowl.
All-Big Ten receiver Tyler Johnson ranked among the league leaders with 74 receptions for 1,112 yards and 10 touchdowns. Freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim led the team with 936 rushing yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5)
It’s likely to be a bittersweet end to the season for Georgia Tech. Yes, it’s back on the bowl scene after missing out last year, but the Yellow Jackets will say goodbye to longtime head coach Paul Johnson, who announced last month that he’s stepping down after 11 seasons.
Geoff Collins left Temple to replace Johnson, but the latter’s players want to send him out in style. Boasting the nation’s top run game (334.9 yards per game), there’s a good chance the Yellow Jackets will make Johnson’s final game in charge a memorable one for all the right reasons.
Quarterback TaQuon Marshall makes the option go, totaling 896 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Defensively, Georgia Tech had not allowed more than 28 points over five consecutive games before losing 45-21 at Georgia to conclude the regular season.
The Yellow Jackets will be trying for a third straight bowl victory.
Even if Georgia Tech didn’t have the extra motivation to send Johnson out a winner, it should be in store for a big offensive game. Minnesota has had its issues stopping the run and though it played extremely well at Wisconsin, the possibility of being short-handed won’t make winning this one any easier.
Georgia Tech 44, Minnesota 24
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