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Georgia Tech Preview and Prediction

If the Hokies hope to win the division, they need to win their home games down the stretch. They’re off to a great start in conference after picking up three straight road wins. Now they need to take care of business at home. Next up, they have Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are in last place in the Coastal but this will be a formidable team for the Hokies. Georgia Tech is 2-0 against Justin Fuente’s Hokies.

Virginia Tech

Overall S&P+ Rank: 51st
Offensive S&P+ Rank: 39th
Defensive S&P+ Rank: 67th
Special Teams S&P+ Rank: 10th

Georgia Tech

Overall S&P+ Rank: 64th
Offensive S&P+ Rank: 21st
Defensive S&P+ Rank: 104th
Special Teams S&P+ Rank: 105th

Georgia Tech is one of the best offensive teams the Hokies will see all year. This team can put up points in a hurry. If the Hokies defense is not disciplined and don’t finish tackles, the Jackets will be off to the races. Just ask Louisville. They gave up 66 points to the Jackets in their own house. Georgia Tech’s most dangerous player is their quarterback TaQuon Marshall. He has rushed for 647 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. He is very good at running Paul Johnson’s spread option attack. He also has 8 fumbles on the season. If the Hokies hope to keep the Jackets out of the end zone, it would help to force a turnover or two.

If the Hokies hope to have success in this game, they will need their offense to outscore Georgia Tech’s offense. The Hokies have had a lot of trouble keeping up with the Jackets offensively in recent years. The Hokies have only been able to put up 20 and 22 points respectively in two games against Georgia Tech under Justin Fuente. This is a game where Georgia Tech is likely to score into the 30s, so the Hokies will need to keep possession and put the ball in the end zone. The Jackets are a bad defensive team but they are good at not giving up the big play. They are the opposite of the Hokies in that regard. This is a game where the Hokies need to get something out of the ground game to make life easier on Ryan Willis. This was a struggle for the Hokies against North Carolina.

If there is an area where the Hokies might find an advantage in this game, it’s on special teams. Georgia Tech is vulnerable in this area. The Hokies need to take advantage of kickoff returns and converting points off field goals. These are areas where the Jackets have struggled this year and where the Hokies have been very strong. The Hokies need to take advantage of special teams play on Thursday night. This game could use a little Beamerball.

The Hokies are 7-0 in weeknight games against Georgia Tech. Paul Johnson is 2-0 against Justin Fuente. Something’s gotta give. On paper, this might look like an easy win for the Hokies. They are in first place in the division. The Jackets are in last place. The Hokies are playing at home on a Thursday night — a time slot where they have thrived in the past. As Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friend. Georgia Tech’s strength goes right up against Virginia Tech’s weakness. Georgia Tech’s outside running game is going against a secondary who is struggling to make tackles right now. Not to mention a secondary who has had trouble covering one-on-one downfield — for the couple of times that Georgia Tech goes downfield per game. That’s a bad combination. This looks like a nightmare matchup for the 2018 Hokies.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 34, Virginia Tech 24

Georgia Tech Preview and Prediction

You take conference road wins however you can get them. Even if they are ugly. Getting the win is all that matters. Hokies took care of business on the road at Duke last week. Each week the games get bigger.

Georgia Tech is next. This is a team that gives the Hokies fits every year. This year should be no different. This is an offense that stays in every game. They don’t often get blown out. They limit possessions on both sides of the ball. That means your offense has to be efficient.

Virginia Tech

Overall S&P+ ranking: 17th
Offensive S&P+ ranking: 56th
Defensive S&P+ ranking: 11th
Special Teams S&P+ ranking: 36th

Georgia Tech

Overall S&P+ ranking: 62nd
Offensive S&P+ ranking: 44th
Defensive S&P+ ranking: 81st
Special Teams S&P+ ranking: 74th

How will Bud Foster’s reshuffled lineup perform against the Georgia Tech offense? If there was a game where you’d feel okay losing Greg Stroman and Terrell Edmunds, it’s this one. However, you’re asking your backups not to make many assignment errors. That can be a lot to ask sometimes. Either way, I think Bud Foster knows this offense well enough to make those adjustments. He will put his players in a position to succeed.

This is a game where the Hokies offense should be able to move the ball. First, the Hokies offense has been excellent at home. The Hokies have averaged 46.7 points per game against FBS opponents at Lane Stadium this year. The Georgia Tech defense has had trouble stopping opponents this year. They don’t give up the big play but you can dink and dunk them downfield all day long. Expect the Hokies to put up some points in this game.

You worry about the reshuffled lineup on defense. You never know how that’s going to go against a dangerous Georgia Tech offense. But if there is someone who knows how to scheme against that offense, it’s Bud Foster. Also, this offense has been lights out at home. They look like a completely different team in Lane Stadium. If the defense can hold up and not have too many assignment issues, I expect the Hokies will be fine. I never go into this game expecting a comfortable win. But if the Hokies play at home like they have all season, I’m feeling pretty good.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, Georgia Tech 21

They are who we thought they were…


… and we let ’em off the hook! Ohio State is a good team. ECU is a good team (they just hung 70 on UNC). GT not so much. They’re a decent team and they’ll probably go bowling this year. But they are not the type of team the Hokies should be losing to. They have a decent offense paired with a woeful defense. However, the Hokies did just enough to give the Jackets the game.

Going into this season I was concerned that Michael Brewer may be a bit too much of a gunslinger. When I say gunslinger, I mean like a Brett Favre-type who completes a lot of passes but also throws a lot of interceptions. In the first two games, it looked like he walked the line just right. He threw a couple of passes into tight windows and lived to tell about it. In this game, his fortunes changed dramatically and it cost the Hokies the game. Here’s hoping that he can reign-in his gunslinger mentality a bit and learn to make better decisions.

Michael Brewer took a lot of grief from Hokie fans during and after the game. One thing everyone needs to remember is that he is a first-year starter and will make mistakes. Overall, I think he moves this offense as well as anyone has since Tyrod was behind center. I think we’re just going to have to deal with the bumps in the road until his decision making improves and gets more comfortable playing at this level.

Looking back on the game, the defense played excellent. The Hokies gave up 2 TDs and 2 FGs. One of their TDs came by way of a pick-six. That’s par for the course as far as how Hokies normally play against the Jackets. But that pick six was a killer. Giving up 20 points should be enough to win the game and would’ve been on Saturday if not for the mistake from the QB.

The two aspects of the game that I think lost the game for the Hokies were not being able to run the ball consistently and Michael Brewer’s stat line. As I said in my preview, GT was giving up 216 ypg and 5.9 ypc. The Hokies only finished with 127 yards rushing (3.8 ypc). The Hokies had a great opportunity to establish the run game in this game. GT wasn’t able to stop the run against the likes of Wofford, Tulane and Georgia Southern. Not exactly a murderers row of opponents. This game makes me think the Hokies will struggle to run the ball all year unless the offensive line makes some huge strides in the coming weeks.

This post is not meant to bash Michael Brewer. I like the kid’s moxie and I think he will end up being an excellent QB and leave us with a lot of great memories in 2014 and 2015. But for this game, his stat line ended up being 28 for 39 (good!), 297 yards (good!), 0 TDs, 3 INTs (very, very bad!). I would love to see the Hokies be able to establish the run and take some of the pressure off of Brewer’s shoulders but like I said in the last paragraph, I don’t see that happening. I think what we saw from the offense is what we’re going to have to get used to for the rest of the season. Some days, Brewer is going to be great! Some days he’s not going to be so good.

I predicted before the season that the Hokies will end up going 8-4 during the regular season. I’m sticking to that. I still think they are going to lose two more in ACC play but I think overall, they end up with a pretty good record and challenge for that division title. I think it’ll end up being one of those years where the division winner goes 5-3 in conference and goes to the ACCCG by way of a tiebreaker. Luckily, I don’t think that tiebreaker will be against GT so take care of business against Pitt and UNC and I think we’ll be in good shape.