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Georgia Tech, Utah accept invites to Sun Bowl

Georgia Tech QB Tevin Washington has been most dangerous with his feet this year as he leads the Yellow Jackets in rushing with 849 yards and 14 TDs.

Georgia Tech QB Tevin Washington has been most dangerous with his feet this year as he leads the Yellow Jackets in rushing with 849 yards and 14 TDs.

EL PASO, Texas — Georgia Tech and Utah both accepted invitations on Sunday to play in the Sun Bowl.

The Dec. 31 game will be the 15th straight bowl appearance for the ACC’s Yellow Jackets (8-4), tied for the fourth-longest active streak among FBS schools. It will be their first appearance in the Sun Bowl since defeating Texas Tech in 1970.

Georgia Tech opened the season with six-straight wins before losing four of its final six, including a 31-17 loss to rival Georgia in its regular-season finale on Nov. 26. The Yellow Jackets finished second in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

“Our team is excited for the opportunity to play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. “Our players worked hard this season and we’re excited to have another game to play.”

The Utes (7-5) used a late four-game winning streak to earn a bowl bid in their first season in the Pac-12. Utah lost its final regular-season game 17-14 to Colorado to finish fourth in the South Division.

The Sun Bowl appearance is the second for Utah, which shut out New Mexico 26-0 in 1939. It’s also the 10th bowl in 11 seasons for the school and seventh under coach Kyle Whittingham.

“We’re proud that yet another Utah senior class will be playing in its fourth postseason game, and that is a testament to the commitment our players bring to the program year in and year out.” Whittingham said.

Utah opened the season 3-4 after a loss at Cal on Oct. 22. However, the Utes followed that with wins over Oregon State, Arizona, UCLA and Washington State to secure bowl eligibility and put a stamp on its first season in the Pac-12.

The Utes struggled offensively at times this season, averaging 24.6 points. However, they feature one of the top defenses in the country, finishing 29th in total defense by allowing an average of 342.8 yards.

They’ll face a stark contrast in the form of Georgia Teach, which averaged nearly 35 points and finished tied for 17th in the country with an average of 459.6 yards.

The Jackets were third in the country with 316.8 rushing yards per game.

“This matchup provides El Paso the opportunity to see two great scoring offenses with very contrasting styles of play,” Sun Bowl Executive Director Bernie Olivas said. “This game has a potential to be a high-scoring affair.”

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