The Quick Lane Bowl is funded by the Detroit Lions every December in Detroit, Michigan at Ford Field. The post-season bowl game includes a member of the ACC and the Big Ten conference. The 2018 edition will feature the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5) against the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6) on December 26th. ESPN will televise the game nationally beginning at 5:15 p.m. EST.
Quick Lane Bowl Preview
Let us compare each team’s 2018 season to help predict the end result of the fourth annual Quick Lane Bowl.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Paul Johnson, the Yellow Jackets head coach, will be coaching the last college football game of his illustrious career. The Yellow Jackets 2018 season began on a rocky note, but the Georgia Tech won four out of their last five games.
The strength of the team sits with the rushing game – which finished the season ranked first in the FBS. The Yellow Jackets rushing game averaged 334.9 yards per game. Add in the 84.3 passing yards per game and the Yellow Jackets averaged 419.3 total yards per game and 35.6 points per game. Senior quarterback TaQuon Marshall leads the team in rushing with 896 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Yellow Jackets defense, under the first-year coordinator Nate Woody, allowed 367.8 yards per game (217.9 passing; 149.8 rushing). Those figures would land Georgia Tech’s defense ranked 46th in total defense. However, Georgia Tech’s defense finished the season tied for 12th place in turnover margin for the entire FBS. That is a full 27 spots higher than in-state rival Georgia. Woody’s defense managed to force 25 turnovers in 2018. The Yellow Jackets defense will look to continue that trend when they face the Golden Gophers in Detroit.
Georgia Tech players are saying “farewell” to one coach, and “welcome” to another in 2018. Players will look to send Johnson out on a high note. They will also look to give incoming head coach Geoff Collins some fodder for the recruiting trail.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
The Golden Gophers narrowly managed to gain bowl-eligibility for the 2018 season. A victory over Wisconsin in the final week of the season was needed to procure an invite to go bowling.
The Golden Gophers offense was productive throughout the entire season. The team averaged 378.6 yards per game (215.2 passing; 163.4 rushing). This is impressive as halfway through the season the Golden Gophers lost their starting quarterback, Zack Annexstad, to injury. Fellow freshman Tanner Morgan was called upon to replace Annexstad and finished the second half of the season with 1,269 yards passing and seven touchdowns. Morgan finished the regular season with a 143.7 passer rating!
The Gophers defense struggled throughout the season. The Golden Gophers gave up almost 400 yards per game (394.3). Those numbers will never position your team as a front-runner to win the Big Ten West. Senior linebacker Blake Cashman will look to continue his dominance on the field in the Quick Lane Bowl. Cashman currently leads the team in total tackles with 104. If Minnesota hopes to win, Cashman and company must stop the vaunted triple-option attack of Georgia Tech.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 35, Minnesota 28
Georgia Tech’s offensive attack will find its rhythm and prove too much for the Minnesota defense to handle. Johnson will seal his career with a victory and ride off into the sunset awaiting his invitation to the college football hall of fame.