NCAA Game Summary - Iowa vs. Georgia Tech|
(Tuesday, January 5th)
Final Score: (10) Iowa 24, (9) Georgia Tech 14
Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Brandon Wegher ran for a game-clinching 32-yard
touchdown with less than two minutes remaining, and Ricky Stanzi threw for a
pair of scores in his return from ankle surgery, as 10th-ranked Iowa pulled
out a 24-14 victory against No. 9 Georgia Tech in the 76th edition of the
Stanzi was 17-of-29 for 231 yards and had an interception returned for a
touchdown, while the freshman Wegher totaled 113 yards on 16 carries for Iowa
(11-2), which notched its first major bowl win since beating California in the
1959 Rose Bowl.
The Hawkeyes seemed destined to return to the Rose Bowl after starting the
season 9-0, but the injury to Stanzi led to consecutive losses to Northwestern
and eventual Big Ten champ Ohio State in November to foil those plans.
Iowa's stingy defense held Tech to just 155 yards of offense, with junior
defensive end Adrian Clayborn leading the way with nine tackles and two sacks
to garner MYP honors.
"The fact that Adrian won the MVP in a BCS bowl, that doesn't happen too often
where a defensive lineman dominates the way he did," said Iowa coach Kirk
Ferentz. "Our whole group up front did a great job...and that's what it takes
against a team like Georgia Tech."
Georgia Tech's spread offense couldn't recreate its success of the regular-
season, as dynamic quarterback Josh Nesbitt was held to 46 yards rushing and
two completions on nine pass attempts for 12 yards, including a critical
Anthony Allen's rushing TD represented the lone offensive score, while
Jerrard Tarrant had a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown for the
Yellow Jackets (11-3), who captured their first outright ACC title since 1990.
Georgia Tech hasn't won in the postseason since taking a 51-14 decision from
Syracuse in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl.
Georgia Tech's offense finally got on track and put seven on the board to make
it a 17-14 game 2 1/2 minutes into the fourth.
An 11-play series spanning 71 yards bridged the two quarters and ended when
Allen muscled his way across the goal line from a yard out on third down.
Dwyer picked up a key first down earlier in the drive with an eight-yard run
on 3rd-and-3 inside Iowa territory.
The Yellow Jacket defense came away with a big stop at midfield and forced a
Hawkeye punt to get the ball back at their own 11 with a little less than nine
minutes to go.
But on the next play, Nesbitt lost sight of Iowa's A.J. Edds while going
through his progressions and threw perfectly down the middle of the field into
the senior linebacker's waiting arms. Edds took it 13 yards the other way to
the 15-yard line, but Tech breathed new life after a botched fake field goal
attempt led to a turnover on downs.
However, three plays lost eight yards, including a run where junior running
back Jonathan Dwyer narrowly escaped a safety, and the Yellow Jackets punted
back to Iowa with less than five minutes left.
"After they ran the fake field goal...the first play we end up reversing field
and getting tackled at the one. We kind of self-destructed ourselves a little
bit," said Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson. "We didn't execute very well and
we put ourselves behind the eight-ball with penalties too."
Starting from their own 37, Stanzi completed a nine-yard pass to Trey
Stross on 3rd-and-8 to keep the chains moving and a 23-yard run by Wegher
took the ball into enemy territory. Two plays later Wegher used a burst of
speed to outrun several defenders up the left sideline for a 32-yard touchdown
and 24-14 lead with 1:56 remaining.
Nesbitt then threw four straight incompletions to seal the Hawkeyes win.
Stanzi had the Hawkeyes out to a quick start, leading scoring drives of 80 and
83 yards on two of their first three drives to go up 14-0.
Iowa's initial possession ended on a Marvin McNutt fumble but a quick three-
and-out by the Yellow Jackets had the ball back in Hawkeye hands in short
A 54-yard completion to tight end Tony Moeaki quickly moved the ball to the
Tech nine-yard line, and on 3rd-and-goal Stanzi hit McNutt for a three-yard
touchdown at the back right corner of the end zone.
Georgia Tech again produced a three-and-out and Iowa embarked on another quick
scoring series. It took just four plays to move 83 yards in 1:54.
Adam Robinson's 15-yard run on the second play was followed by a 31-yard
hookup between Stanzi and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos to gain the Yellow
Jackets' 21-yard line. On the next play, Stanzi dropped a perfect pass over
the inside shoulder of Colin Sandeman just past the right pylon to give Iowa
a 14-0 lead with four minutes left in the opening quarter.
The lead was cut in half just before the close of the frame when Tarrant
stepped in front of an ill-advised Stanzi pass to the right side of the field
and took it back 40 yards untouched to the end zone.
Both offenses bogged down in a scoreless second quarter. Iowa punted three
times and turned it over on downs just before halftime while Georgia Tech went
into the intermission with only one first down.
The Yellow Jackets opened the second half with a promising drive that featured
a heavy dose of Dwyer, who ran it six times for 33 yards on the 12-play, 44-
yard series. But Scott Blair hung a 41-yard field goal out to the right to
keep the deficit at seven.
Daniel Murray capped an ensuing 10-play, 59-yard trek from Iowa with a 33-yard
boot to go up by 10 with 2:17 to play in the third.
Georgia Tech fell to 22-16 in the postseason all-time, including a 3-3 mark in
the Orange Bowl...Iowa moved to 13-10-1 in postseason play and 1-1 in the
Orange Bowl. Their only other appearance resulted in a 38-17 loss to USC in
2003...This was the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the
gridiron...Robinson had 60 yards on 13 touches, Sandeman caught four balls for
53 yards and McNutt made four grabs for 21 yards for Iowa...The Hawkeyes'
leading receiver was Moeaki, who totaled 85 yards on four grabs...Dwyer gained
49 yards on 14 carries and caught both Nesbitt completions...Georgia Tech
ended with only nine first downs compared with Iowa's 21.
01/06 01:46:32 ET