Humanitarian Bowl

Humanitarian Bowl

2007 Humanitarian Bowl Preview
by Josh Nagel

Fresno State (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)

Conference Matchup: WAC vs. ACC
Date: Dec. 31
Location: Boise, Idaho
Spread: Georgia Tech -3.5

This is a matchup of programs with contrasting reputations; Georgia Tech, which seemingly never lives up to its potential, and Fresno State, the once-noted giant killer that consistently performs at a level that is a cut above most mid-major schools. Chan Gailey lost his job because of the Yellow Jackets' perpetual mediocrity; under him, they always seem to field a solid team that was capable of competing with anyone in the ACC. Yet they always seemed to find a way to end up about7-5, headed to a fringe bowl game amid hope that better things were around the corner next year, only to do the same routine over and over again. What's more, they inevitably lost to in-state rival Georgia, and the combination of those factors led to Gailey's dismissal. Paul Johnson will take over next season, but defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta will coach the team in the bowl game. Fresno State was once America's favorite mid-major sweetheart, when David Carr led the Bulldogs to all sorts of upsets against ranked teams and coach Pat Hill loved to rant about the lack of respect they received. But the Bulldogs never did reach the mid-major pinnacle enjoyed last year by Boise State and this year's by Hawaii: the coveted BCS game. The Bulldogs nearly upset top-ranked USC a couple of years ago, but they have basically faded into simply a solid mid-major team that will always contend in the WAC. This team wins the games it should, but doesn't pull off any big upsets. This formula was typified in this season, as the Bulldogs lost to Oregon and Texas A&M, and ran the table in the WAC with the exception of the aforementioned Hawaii and Boise State. A win in this bowl might put them back on the national radar as a mid-major capable of beating teams from BCS conferences. For Georgia Tech, it's a chance to erase a season of mediocrity and welcome new coach Johnson on a positive note.

Fresno State can cover if: the Bulldogs can beat the Yellow Jackets at their own game. The programs are similar in that they fancy a physical style that features a strong running game and a sound defense. Freshman running back Ryan Matthews gained 866 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, while Lonyae Miller and Clifton Smith combined for 1,074 more yards and 10 touchdowns. But they have their work cut out for them against Tech's 11th-ranked rushing defense The programs also are similar in that each suffers from maddeningly erratic quarterback play. It seemed the topsy-turvy Paul Pinegar era at Fresno would never end, but it did last year and Tom Brandstater has been a steady if not spectacular alternative. He has thrown for 2,369 yards and 14 touchdowns against just five interceptions, which is something that plagued his predecessor Pinegar.

Georgia Tech can cover if: the Yellow Jackets dominate the line of scrimmage with their formidable rush defense and make Fresno State one-dimensional. If they can shut down the rushing attack on early downs and force the Bulldogs to throw more than they would like, Georgia Tech has a good chance to take control of the game and exhibit its physical superiority. On offense, the Jackets will turn to Tashard Choice, who led the ACC with 1,310 rushing yards while no other ACC player even gained 1,000. Hopes for quarterback Taylor Bennett were high after he stepped in and had a great game against West Virginia in last year's Gator Bowl (the Jackets blew a huge lead and lost, 38-35), but he has been inconsistent and disappointing, throwing for 2,045 yard with six touchdowns and nine interceptions.

General Notes: The Bulldogs are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games overall and 2-6 ATS in their last eight non-conference games. The Yellow Jackets are 1-5-1 in their last seven games as a favorite and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games in December.

Docsports.com

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Re: Humanitarian Bowl

Humanitarian Bowl
By Josh Jacobs

Humanitarian Bowl

Fresno State (8-4 SU, 6-5 ATS)) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5 SU, 4-6-1 ATS)

How they got there:

Another team just dipping into a bowl game will have Georgia Tech playing in the icy tundra that Boise, Idaho is during winter time. Losing to intrastate rival, Georgia six times in six meetings during his coaching tenure, Chan Gailey received his walking papers on Nov. 26. Taking over coaching duties will be defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta.

The Yellow Jackets main downfall this season was the inability to fight off teams that where bowl bound. Going 1-5 SU versus squads that have headed to the postseason, Georgia Tech just seemed to sputter out of control on offense. There’s no doubt that holding teams to 310.3 total YPG (18th best in the nation) was an impressive feat but balance on both sides of the ball went MIA.

Just below Hawaii and Boise State came Fresno, a team that battled hard to end the season with a 7-2 SU rally. A 34-21 loss in Boise and a close 37-30 defeat at Hawaii where the only (and biggest) slipups that the Bulldogs fell pray to heading into postseason play. Finishing 2006 with a 4-7 SU record, this season has been a bounce back year and a win in frigid Boise could be the start of bigger things to come at the Fresno State campus.

What to expect:

Georgia Tech’s offense has been built around running back Tashard Choice since he began playing collegiate football in 2004. But it’s not the running game that failed Georgia Tech once again, it was the passing game.

In his junior year at GT, QB Taylor Bennett threw for 300-plus yards in only one contest, 200-plus yards in four games and finished off the season with a skimp six score. From the opening game against Notre Dame all the way through a loss at Virginia Tech in November, Bennett threw a measly two touchdown passes (that was nine games for two scores!).

To be honest, I really can’t tell you how the Yellow Jackets made it to a bowl game. You can bet that one aspect of the game will not change and that’s execution through the air.

The Bulldogs have one mission and one mission only; to infiltrate a Georgia Tech line known to keep opponents away from the ball carrier. Allowing teams to run an inflated 182.8 YPG on the ground isn’t much positive reinforcement that Fresno State stop GT’s Choice from racking up big yardage.

In what seems to be opposite styles, look for Fresno to exercise its offensive game plan (204.7 YPG on the ground). If Choice can be held in check without tearing up the blue turf like around him, then the Bulldogs have a great chance to bury a demoralized Yellow Jacket program.

Players to watch:

Georgia Tech – No. 1 on Fresno’s hit list will be RB Choice. Heading to the house 10 times this season with 1,310 yards under his feet, this running back is GT’s primetime guy. Beyond the top ACC offensive line and running back Choice, comes the defensive squad. Defensive end Michael Johnson, who’s got plenty of time to exercise his freakish style in college, will be a main focal point on Monday and in the near future. Other notables include Philip Wheeler (78 tackles, six sacks), Vance Walker (43 tackles, 8 ½-sacks) and Darrell Robinson (33 tackles, 6 ½-sacks).

Fresno St. – Finally cutting his interceptions down in 2007, QB Tom Brandstater will have the game in his hands come New Year’s Eve. He’s hitting 62% percent in pass completions, has gone end zone 14 and, if pressured, can find an opening to run with the ball (although that’s not his strongest ability). RB Ryan Matthews has been solid, adding 14 TDs to the teams scoring resume and beginning the season off strong (but with a torn muscle near his collarbone don’t expect the star to arrive for this contest), TE Bear Pascoe is a heft force at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds. Defensively, linebacker Marcus Riley has swallowed up receivers and running backs for 123 total tackles, 12 ½ coming from behind the line of scrimmage. The corners and safety positions are the biggest weakness for the Bulldogs, accounting for a combined three interceptions in 2007.

Bowl Records:

Georgia Tech enters Monday with an extensive rap sheet in bowl games. Since taking the 1928 Rose Bowl by the score of 8-7, the Yellow Jackets have built an impressive 22-13 SU postseason record. Since 1997, GT has made a bowl game every year, racking up a 5-5 SU and 6-4 ATS performance. In a loss against West Virginia last season in the Gator Bowl (38-35), GT was able to cover the 10 ½-point spread.

Far from touching the same tradition and history that Georgia has constructed, Fresno State is no a stranger to big games. Beginning in 1945, the Bulldogs took a close ‘L’ in the Raisin Bowl against Drake 13-12. Fast forward to 1999 and Fresno has been in seven straight bowl games up until 2005. Going 3-4 SU and 4-3 ATS in those seven games, the ‘Dogs are 9-7 SU lifetime in bowls.

Inside the Line: Georgia Tech -6, 54½

Most books opened the line on this contest at 6 ½-points in favor of GT. Since opening, Bodog.com has adjusted the line two points, up from 4 ½.

Fresno State is 7-19 ATS in its last 26 games overall, while Georgia Tech 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven as a favorite.

Expert Opinion: Tony Stoffo

With over 10,000 bets already placed on this game the money is split 50/50. However this line has already moved 2 ½-points in Georgia Tech's direction in some places, meaning big blocks of Yellow Jackets money is hitting the books hard. One of the major reasons for this is that Fresno State's running back Ryan Mathews will not play here with a torn muscle in his shoulder.

VI Prediction:

Luckily this game will be played at 2:00 p.m. EST, because an expected temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit is expected to grip the state of Idaho on Monday. However, a mid-day temperature of 28 degrees isn’t the warmest of conditions either.

With GT’s RB Choice dictating the pace of the offense game, expect Georgia Tech make this a close contest. The loss of RB Ryan Mathews on Nov. 30 was a huge blow to the offense, and the ‘D’ is sure to have a tricky time getting past the Yellow Jacket’s strong offensive line.

Georgia Tech takes this contest in the very brisk conditions on the blue turf. Expect a lot of drop passes in this contest with the ball feeling like a Yellow Jacket sting given such frigid temperatures.

Final Score: Georgia Tech 37, Fresno State 21 .

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: Humanitarian Bowl

Fresno State and Georgia Tech take to the blue turf in Boise

Boise, ID (Sports Network) - The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will make their 11th straight postseason appearance when they battle the Fresno State Bulldogs in the 11th-annual Humanitarian Bowl at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho.

After missing the postseason last year, the Bulldogs return to bowl action this season, thanks to their solid 8-4 record. Fresno State began their year with a convincing win over Sacramento State, but fell to 1-2 after losses to Texas A&M and Oregon. However, the team rebounded, grabbing four straight wins, including victories over Nevada and Idaho on the road. After sandwiching a win over Utah State in between losses to Boise State (34-21) and Hawaii (37-30), the Bulldogs closed down their regular season with victories over Kansas State and New Mexico State. This will be the 21st bowl game for Fresno State, which is 11-9 in postseason play.

As for the Yellow Jackets, they endured a rough season to get to this point of the year. Georgia Tech began the new campaign on the right foot, defeating Notre Dame (33-3) and Samford (69-14). However, the Yellow Jackets could not continue their winning ways, as the team suffered three losses in the next four matchups. The lone win was a hard-fought 13-3 victory over Clemson. Other than a 27-3 loss to Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets were flawless down the stretch, winning four matchups, en route to a 7-5 record. Despite finishing with a winning ledger, head coach Chan Gailey was given a pink slip after six years on the sideline. Gailey was replaced by Paul Johnson, who has had success at Navy over the past six seasons. However, since the coaching transition will not be made until after the bowl matchup, defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta will coach the Yellow Jackets in the bowl game. Georgia Tech has done well over the years in postseason action, racking up a 22-13 ledger, but over the past two seasons the team has been defeated in the Emerald Bowl (Utah 38, GT 10) and most recently the Gator Bowl (West Virginia 38, GT 35).

In the only meeting between these two schools the Bulldogs defeated Georgia Tech, 30-21 in the Silicon Valley Classic back in 2002.

The Bulldogs' offense is predicated on the run, as the team enters this bowl game averaging a strong 204.7 ypg on the ground. As a whole Fresno State is producing 406.9 total ypg, and that has led to a solid 32.2 ppg. The Bulldogs do not possess one main tailback, instead the team has a slew of capable backs that can hurt the opposition at any given time. However, the team's leading rusher, Ryan Mathews (866 yards and 14 touchdowns), will not participate in the bowl game due to a collarbone injury. With Mathews sideline next in line for Fresno State is Lonyae Miller, who rumbled for 571 yards and seven scores on 4.6 ypc. Clifton Smith and Antony Harding have also made contributions to the ground attack, combining for 876 yards and seven TDs. The passing attack was not as explosive as the ground game, but quarterback Tom Brandstater did an excellent job managing the game for the Bulldogs. On the season the junior completed 61.2 percent of his throws, finishing the year with 2,369 yards and 14 touchdowns against five interceptions.

The success of the offense, has been the downfall for the defense, as Fresno State has been dismantled by the run, surrendering 183 ypg. Teams are currently averaging 5.0 ypc against the Bulldogs, and have scored 21 TDs on the ground this season. Overall the Bulldogs are allowing 410.0 total ypg, but that has led to a mediocre 26.9 ppg. One problem that has plagued this defense throughout the year has been its inability to force turnovers. In 12 games, the Bulldogs have collected just 12 takeaways and that includes a nation's worst three interceptions. Marcus Riley was the heart and soul of this defensive unit throughout the season and comes into this bowl game with a team-high 123 tackles and 12.5 TFLs. Tyler Clutts and Jon Monga also played well this year, as the two players both collected 5.5 sacks apiece.

Much like their counterpart, the Yellow Jackets rely heavily on their ground game which is currently producing 202.5 ypg. However, overall as unit the Yellow Jackets are averaging 385.4 total ypg and that has led to a mediocre 26.1 ppg. The main threat for this offense is tailback Tashard Choice, who is one of the most dangerous backs in the entire nation. Choice heads into this game with 1,310 yards under his belt and 10 touchdowns. Jonathan Dwyer has served as a reliable backup for Choice, netting 374 yards, while finding the end zone seven times. While the ground game has been tremendous on the year, the passing attack has been the complete opposite. In fact, Georgia Tech has one of the worse aerial assaults in the ACC. Quarterback Taylor Bennett has been extremely inconsistent on the year, completing less than 50.0 percent of his passes for only 2,045 yards. In 12 games, the junior has thrown for only six scores and nine interceptions.

As mentioned earlier the Yellow Jackets had to endure a tough season. The team went through plenty of changes and dealt with a large amount of injuries, but the one thing that remained constant and intact was the tenacity and toughness of the defensive unit. Georgia Tech ranked 12th nationally against the run this season, surrendering just 100.2 ypg on a meager 2.8 ypc. As a whole this unit finished the regular season 11th in the nation in total defense, limiting teams to just 310.3 ypg. Georgia Tech only forced 19 turnovers on the year, but finished with a nation's best 47.5 sacks. The front line duo of Vance Walker and Darrell Robertson did a tremendous job throughout the year, causing mayhem for every opposing quarterback. In 12 contests, Walker tallied 14 TFLs and a team-best 8.5 sacks, while Robertson amassed a team-high 16.0 TFLs to go along with 6.5 sacks.

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Re: Humanitarian Bowl

8 Fresno St. players suspended for bowl game
December 29, 2007

Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Fresno State coach Pat Hill suspended eight players on Saturday, keeping them out of Monday's Humanitarian Bowl against Georgia Tech.

Seven of the eight were suspended for team curfew rules during the bowl trip, school spokesman Steve Weakland said. One was suspended for a violation of athletic department policy.

None of the eight were starters, and four were injured players not expected to play in the game.

The seven suspended for violating curfew were: tight end Cameron Harris; cornerback A.J. Jefferson; fullback Isaac Kinter; guard Chris Piligian; running back Jamal Rashad; defensive end Jason Roberts; and defensive end Michael Stuart.

Linebacker Frank Padilla was suspended for violation of an undisclosed athletic department policy.

Jefferson was the only player to make a significant contribution during the season, leading the Bulldogs in kickoff returns, including two touchdowns. Hill said earlier Saturday that Jefferson would not play in the game with an ankle injury.

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Game Preview for Fresno State vs Georgia Tech

GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will make their 11th straight postseason appearance when they battle the Fresno State Bulldogs in the 11th- annual Humanitarian Bowl at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho. After missing the postseason last year, the Bulldogs return to bowl action this season, thanks to their solid 8-4 record. Fresno State began their year with a convincing win over Sacramento State, but fell to 1-2 after losses to Texas Aamp;M and Oregon. However, the team rebounded, grabbing four straight wins, including victories over Nevada and Idaho on the road. After sandwiching a win over Utah State in between losses to Boise State (34-21) and Hawaii (37-30), the Bulldogs closed down their regular season with victories over Kansas State and New Mexico State. This will be the 21st bowl game for Fresno State, which is 11-9 in postseason play. As for the Yellow Jackets, they endured a rough season to get to this point of the year. Georgia Tech began the new campaign on the right foot, defeating Notre Dame (33-3) and Samford (69-14). However, the Yellow Jackets could not continue their winning ways, as the team suffered three losses in the next four matchups. The lone win was a hard-fought 13-3 victory over Clemson. Other than a 27-3 loss to Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets were flawless down the stretch, winning four matchups, en route to a 7-5 record. Despite finishing with a winning ledger, head coach Chan Gailey was given a pink slip after six years on the sideline. Gailey was replaced by Paul Johnson, who has had success at Navy over the past six seasons. However, since the coaching transition will not be made until after the bowl matchup, defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta will coach the Yellow Jackets in the bowl game. Georgia Tech has done well over the years in postseason action, racking up a 22-13 ledger, but over the past two seasons the team has been defeated in the Emerald Bowl (Utah 38, GT 10) and most recently the Gator Bowl (West Virginia 38, GT 35). In the only meeting between these two schools the Bulldogs defeated Georgia Tech, 30-21 in the Silicon Valley Classic back in 2002.

The Bulldogs' offense is predicated on the run, as the team enters this bowl game averaging a strong 204.7 ypg on the ground. As a whole Fresno State is producing 406.9 total ypg, and that has led to a solid 32.2 ppg. The Bulldogs do not possess one main tailback, instead the team has a slew of capable backs that can hurt the opposition at any given time. However, the team's leading rusher, Ryan Mathews (866 yards and 14 touchdowns), will not participate in the bowl game due to a collarbone injury. With Mathews sideline next in line for Fresno State is Lonyae Miller, who rumbled for 571 yards and seven scores on 4.6 ypc. Clifton Smith and Antony Harding have also made contributions to the ground attack, combining for 876 yards and seven TDs. The passing attack was not as explosive as the ground game, but quarterback Tom Brandstater did an excellent job managing the game for the Bulldogs. On the season the junior completed 61.2 percent of his throws, finishing the year with 2,369 yards and 14 touchdowns against five interceptions.

The success of the offense, has been the downfall for the defense, as Fresno State has been dismantled by the run, surrendering 183 ypg. Teams are currently averaging 5.0 ypc against the Bulldogs, and have scored 21 TDs on the ground this season. Overall the Bulldogs are allowing 410.0 total ypg, but that has led to a mediocre 26.9 ppg. One problem that has plagued this defense throughout the year has been its inability to force turnovers. In 12 games, the Bulldogs have collected just 12 takeaways and that includes a nation's worst three interceptions. Marcus Riley was the heart and soul of this defensive unit throughout the season and comes into this bowl game with a team-high 123 tackles and 12.5 TFLs. Tyler Clutts and Jon Monga also played well this year, as the two players both collected 5.5 sacks apiece.

Much like their counterpart, the Yellow Jackets rely heavily on their ground game which is currently producing 202.5 ypg. However, overall as unit the Yellow Jackets are averaging 385.4 total ypg and that has led to a mediocre 26.1 ppg. The main threat for this offense is tailback Tashard Choice, who is one of the most dangerous backs in the entire nation. Choice heads into this game with 1,310 yards under his belt and 10 touchdowns. Jonathan Dwyer has served as a reliable backup for Choice, netting 374 yards, while finding the end zone seven times. While the ground game has been tremendous on the year, the passing attack has been the complete opposite. In fact, Georgia Tech has one of the worse aerial assaults in the ACC. Quarterback Taylor Bennett has been extremely inconsistent on the year, completing less than 50.0 percent of his passes for only 2,045 yards. In 12 games, the junior has thrown for only six scores and nine interceptions.

As mentioned earlier the Yellow Jackets had to endure a tough season. The team went through plenty of changes and dealt with a large amount of injuries, but the one thing that remained constant and intact was the tenacity and toughness of the defensive unit. Georgia Tech ranked 12th nationally against the run this season, surrendering just 100.2 ypg on a meager 2.8 ypc. As a whole this unit finished the regular season 11th in the nation in total defense, limiting teams to just 310.3 ypg. Georgia Tech only forced 19 turnovers on the year, but finished with a nation's best 47.5 sacks. The front line duo of Vance Walker and Darrell Robertson did a tremendous job throughout the year, causing mayhem for every opposing quarterback. In 12 contests, Walker tallied 14 TFLs and a team-best 8.5 sacks, while Robertson amassed a team-high 16.0 TFLs to go along with 6.5 sacks.

Without Mathews in the backfield, the Bulldogs will have an uphill fight. The Yellow Jackets have an outstanding defense, and should have no trouble shutting down a suspect Fresno State offense.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 27, Fresno State 14

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Re: Humanitarian Bowl

Humanitarian Bowl: Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

- A pair of recent Humanintarian Bowl winners clash in Boise when the Fresno State Bulldogs hook up with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Jackets fired coach Chan Gailey after a poor season, while Fresno has played more games on the weird blue turf of Bronco Stadium and boasted an 8-4 mark on the year.

Fresno State racked up 468 yards in a 30-23 win at New Mexico State last time out, failing to cover the 13.5-point road spread.

The 53 combined points scored in that contest fell well UNDER the posted total of 64.5.

The Yellow Jackets were defeated 31-17 by the Georgia Bulldogs last time out as 3.5-point underdogs. The 48 points made it OVER the posted total of 46.

Tashard Choice ran for 133 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort.

Team records:
Fresno State: 8-4 SU, 6-5 ATS
Georgia Tech: 7-5 SU, 4-6-1 ATS

Fresno State most recently:
When playing in December are 5-5
When playing on turf are 3-7
After outgaining opponent are 2-8
When playing outside the conference are 2-8

Georgia Tech most recently:
When playing in December are 3-5
When playing on turf are 5-1
After being outgained are 7-3
When playing outside the conference are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Fresno State is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Fresno State's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Georgia Tech's last 6 games
Georgia Tech is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Georgia Tech is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games

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