The 2023 Gasparilla Bowl features the 6-6 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets against the 6-6 UCF Knights. Here is the 2023 Gasparilla Bowl Preview.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-6)
Georgia Tech won six games to make their first bowl game since 2018. They defeated three bowl-eligible teams: Miami, UNC and Syracuse. The Yellow Jackets only lost to bowl-eligible teams this season.
Their offense scores 31.2 points per game, which ranks them 42nd in the country. They pass for 232 yards (ranked 57th) and rush for 197.1 yards per game (ranked 17th).
Texas A&M transfer Haynes King has started at quarterback for Georgia Tech this season and has done solidly. He has passed for 2,755 yards, 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 61.9 percent completion. Four pass-catchers have over 300 receiving yards for the Yellow Jackets this season. Eric Singleton Jr. leads the team with 706 yards and six touchdowns.
Four players have over 200 rushing yards this season for Georgia Tech. Jamal Haynes leads the team with 931 yards and also has seven rushing touchdowns. King has been the second-leading rusher from the quarterback position with 648 yards and nine touchdowns. Dontae Smith and Trey Cooley have helped with 439 and 274 yards respectively.
Defensively, the Yellow Jackets allow 30.5 points per game, ranking them 101st in the country. They concede 225.7 rushing yards (ranked 128th) and 212.5 passing yards per game (ranked 46th). Linebacker Kyle Efford leads the team with 72 tackles. Kyle Kennard has paced the team with six sacks. Defensive back Jaylen King has stood out with eight passes defended and four interceptions.
UCF Knights (6-6)
UCF won six games to make their eighth straight bowl games. They have wins over two bowl-eligible teams: Boise State and Oklahoma State. Their loss to Baylor was their lone defeat to a team that didn’t qualify for a bowl game.
The Knights score 32.3 points per game, which ranks 34th in the country. They pass for 259.2 yards (ranked 46th) and rush for 233.2 yards per game (ranked fourth).
John Rhys Plumlee has spent most of the time at quarterback this year, although he did have to miss some time with injury. He has passed for 2,073 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 63.9 percent completion. Six pass-catchers have at least 200 receiving yards this season. Javon Baker and Kobe Hudson have stood out with 966 and 853 yards respectively.
Three players have at least 400 rushing yards this season. RJ Harvey leads the team with 1,296 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Johnny Richardson has backed him up with 557 rushing yards and one touchdown. Plumlee has helped out with 473 yards and five touchdowns from the quarterback position.
With Plumlee healthy, UCF can match up with solid teams. Their rushing attack will take advantage of the fact that Georgia Tech can’t stop the run. Plumlee and Harvey will have big days.
UCF Knights 35 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 27
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