The Yellow Jackets average 307.2 rushing yards, second nationally, behind B-back
Tech's rushing attack has struggled in two areas: against defenses with strong interiors (Miami and Georgia this season, LSU in last year's Chick-fil-A Bowl) and against those with time to prepare (1-3 against BCS conference teams who had at least 10 days to prepare).
Iowa has exactly what causes Tech fits. It's strong on the line, where tackles
Without Stanzi, who missed two-and-a-half games with a severely sprained right ankle that required surgery, Iowa was knocked out of the national title and Rose Bowl hunt. Now, he'll look to recapture the magic against a Jackets defense that ranked 85th in pass efficiency defense and has allowed 21 passing touchdowns.
He's sure to be a little rusty. He's also sure to be tested by ACC Defensive Player of the Year
The redshirt junior, who accounted for 60 percent of the Jackets' receptions, averaged 25.1 yards per catch and hauled in 46 balls for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns. Though Tech can rely on him too often at times -- like against Georgia, when the Jackets called an unheard of four straight pass plays -- his game-changing ability and mix of size, speed and strength has made an impression on the Hawkeyes.
"Basically all you have out there is a corner out there one-on-one with him and the guy is 6-foot-3, 230," said Iowa defensive coordinator
The Jackets' X-factor will face the best group of defensive backs he's seen this year, led by two All-Big Ten selections in safety
"Their fullback [Dwyer] is unbelievable and the coach has been doing it forever, so he knows all the tricks of the trade and they're very impressive.
"You have to try and stop the fullback [Dwyer]. They want to be in second-and-four, second-and-five, the whole game. You want to put them in third-and-seven or more. You want to keep making them do what they don't want to do. You have to put as many as possible on the fullback and stand him up.
"[With Thomas] you have to keep one underneath and one on top of him. Then you have to try and stop the triple option. A lot of people play him man-to-man, but that doesn't work."