Georgia Tech had a disappointing 2-4 finish to the season after a 6-0 start. In their last six games, the Yellow Jackets beat No.6 Clemson and Duke, but lost to Virginia, Miami-Florida, No.10 Virginia Tech, and No.13 Georgia. Georgia Tech will be looking to snap a streak of six consecutive losses in bowl games. Its streak of 15 consecutive bowl appearances is tied for fourth best in the nation. Paul Johnson is in his fourth year as head coach of the Yellow Jackets with a 34-18 record during his tenure.
Utah finished 7-5 after winning four of its last five down the stretch.The Utes went 3-0 against non-conference opponents and nearly won the Pac 12's South Division in its inaugural season in the newly expanded league. Utah is coached by Kyle Whittingham who has a 65-25 record with the program. The Utes are 12-5 in postseason play and had a nine-game bowl win streak snapped last year with a 26-3 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. These programs have only faced off once before. Utah upset the 24th ranked Yellow Jackets 38-10 in the 2005 Emerald Bowl.
Georgia Tech's offense featured five different players that ranked in the top 20 in the ACC. The array of backs helped the Yellow Jackets gain 316.8 ypg on the ground, which led the ACC and was third best in the nation. Due to the exceptional rushing attack, Georgia Tech also led the ACC and had a national ranking in the top 20 in scoring offense (34.9 ppg) and total offense (459.6 ypg).
Quarterback Tevin Washington led the rushing attack for Georgia Tech with 890 yards and 14 touchdowns on 222 carries from the quarterback position. Washington had four 100-plus yard games during the regular season. David Sims and Orwin Smith both were the team's top tailbacks, as they rushed for over 600 yards each.
Utah's offense is not spectacular as it gained more than 400 yards just once and was held under 300 yards of total offense six times. The Utes' late season run at the Pac 12 title was in large part due to running back John White's emergence as an elite rusher. White is the 10th ranked rusher in the nation with 1,404 yards and 12 touchdowns on 290 carries.