MIAMI — No. 10 Iowa solved Georgia Tech's explosive triple option and Ricky Stanzi threw two early touchdowns for a 24-14 victory Tuesday night in the coldest Orange Bowl ever.
Temperature at kickoff was 49, and Tech's offense was slow to warm up. The ninth-ranked Yellow Jackets averaged 35 points in the regular season, but their only score in the first three quarters came on Jerrard Tarrant's 40-yard interception return.
"This was Hawkeye weather," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "We feel right at home right now."
The Hawkeyes (11-2) earned their first Bowl Championship Series win, and first in a major January bowl since the 1959 Rose. Iowa also matched the school record for victories and could claim its highest final ranking since No. 3 in 1960.
Georgia Tech (11-3) had nine first downs and a season-low 155 yards — this from a team which led the nation in time of possession and was second in rushing.
End Adrian Clayborn led Iowa's defense. He had two sacks and nine tackles, including two for a loss, and was chosen the game's most valuable player.
The Hawkeyes had never faced the triple option in Ferentz's 11 seasons as coach, but his staff had a month to prepare for Tech, and it showed. During the season, the Yellow Jackets had only 14 three-and-out drives, fewest in the nation, but Tuesday they went three and out on their first four possessions.
"It's just a good thing we had a month to prepare because it was difficult," Clayborn said.
Georgia Tech finally made a first down midway through the second quarter. Its first completion came 43 minutes into the game with Iowa leading 17-7.
Quarterback Josh Nesbitt went 2-for-9 for 12 yards for Tech, which had a season-high seven punts.
"We haven't played many games like that," Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "We couldn't seem to get anything going.
Stanzi went 17-for-29 for 231 yards in his return from a sprained ankle that sidelined him in the season's 10th game.
"It was great having Rick back. It was tough when he got injured," Ferentz said. "He did a great job leading us — and what can I say about that defense?"
Iowa freshman Brandon Wegher rushed for 113 yards on 16 carries and scored a 32-yard touchdown with 1:56 left to seal it.
Anthony Allen's 1-yard touchdown run closed Georgia Tech's deficit to 17-14 with 12:30 left. Twice thereafter Tech took possession with a chance to tie the score or take the lead. But on one drive, Iowa's A.J. Edds picked off Nesbitt, then after the Hawkeyes failed on a fake field goal run, the Yellow Jackets punted from deep in their territory, setting up Wegher's touchdown.