Georgia Tech vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

That NC State loss was a tough one to swallow. Virginia Tech did what they needed to do to win but couldn’t close the deal. After NC State scored their first touchdown, the Hokies went into expect-to-lose mode. That game felt like a carryover from the Fuente era. We have seen more than a few games play out like that over the last few years. This program has a losing culture right now. They need to start changing that mentality if they want to move forward and build a winning program again.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 91st
Offense: 117th
Defense: 49th
Special Teams: 49th

Georgia Tech

Overall: 97th
Offense: 106th
Defense: 83rd
Special Teams: 89th

Grant Wells should be able to make plays against Georgia Tech’s secondary. The Hokies offense just needs to avoid being one-dimensional. Running into the interior of the line over and over again will not work. The Hokies need to open up their passing attack and press the edges of the defense with outside runs. VT should try more misdirection and read options. Right now, the offense is just to easy to read for defenses. The Hokies also need to try to get the ball in the hands of Keshawn King and Bryce Duke in open space. Whether it be via outside runs or quick screen passes. They were far too predictable on offense against NC State.

This game will come down to whether Jeff Sims is healthy enough to play and be effective. The Georgia Tech offense is much better with him behind center. Even if Jeff Sims is available, the Georgia Tech offense hasn’t had much to write home about this year. Like the Hokies, they are one of the worst Power 5 offenses in the nation. They run the ball a little better than they throw it but they are not really good at either. This is where the Hokies’ defense should have a significant advantage.

This game represents the Hokies best chance of getting a win the rest of the season. If the defense plays well and can limit the GT offense, I see the Hokies having a good chance to win. If Jeff Sims shows up and is healthy, he’s the best player on the field and could be the difference. All things being equal, the Hokies will put enough together on offense and defense to squeak a victory. I hope they find a way to play more than one quarter of offense this week.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 28, Georgia Tech 21

Georgia Tech Q&A with Talkin’ ACC Sports

This week we are joined by Jeffrey Fann from @TalkinACCSports.

Tell us about yourself and All Sports Discussion. 

I am graduate of Georgia Tech and Clemson grew up a fan of ACC Basketball. Those were the collegiate sports I’ve watched the most and I started All Sports Discussion about 10 years ago because I spent so much time talking about ACC sports, I figured I’d start sharing it. I didn’t think the ACC got fair coverage in media and I want to the voice that too. I started an ACC podcast with @Hokiesmash_ASD a couple of years after that and that’s a lot of fun. He usually lines up the guests freeing me up to write. 

Tell us about your team this year. What are your thoughts on Georgia Tech this season?

The best thing about the Georgia Tech season was the day Geoff Collins was fired. He was a total disaster as a head coach. The season was going nowhere when he was there. For a couple of games after his firing Georgia Tech played some inspired football and beat Pittsburgh and Duke, but with the injury to QB Jeff Sims and his status unknown the offense just can’t move the ball. Defensively, they have had some good moments since Collins was fired, and is a decent unit. I feel like the bowl chances are gone, but there will be a game where things break right and they win one more time. 

What do you think about the job that Brent Key has done so far?

He’s made the special teams a respectable unit. That in itself is a win as it was a total mess with Collins. He brought accountability to the team and a sense of cohesion. The back to back wins made you feel good about Georgia Tech football for the first time in years. Unfortunately, the injury to Sims limits what he can do. Overall, he’s done a pretty decent job taking over and making Georgia Tech look functional. Just getting functional was a big upgrade over the previous coach. 

How do you feel about the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech annual rivalry coming to an end?

I think it’s had better days for sure, but in it’s hey day when both were competing for Coastal division titles, it was one of the most underrated annual games in the ACC. With the frequency that they will still play I will miss the game, but they’ll meet often to maintain a good sense of rivalry.  

What’s your favorite memory from the rivalry? 

The 2009 game that Georgia Tech won 28-23 over a top 5 ranked Virginia Tech. There was a lot of talk that the 2nd time around seeing Paul Johnson’s triple option that teams would be on to it. That was a really good Hokie team and it convinced me that Paul Johnson had a chance to win a lot more games. He did and it start with game. QB Josh Nesbitt was warrior in that one. 

What’s your outlook on the future of the ACC? 

 That’s a good question. I think for the next 5-7 years nothing happens regarding team movement, but the TV Deal in comparison to the Big 10 and SEC is a problem. I don’t think the ACC is catching them, no matter what they do. What the ACC must do is get well ahead of the Big 12 and Pac 12 to be solidly in third. I do think you’ll see adjustments to the TV deal, but will it be enough? It would be nice if ACC commissioner Jim Phillips would be more transparent in what he is doing to raise ACC revenues. He’s been far too quiet on the matter. 

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

It all depends on the status of QB Jeff Sims. Zach Pryon showed some ability against Florida State, but he’s really inexperienced. That’s a bad combination on the road, against a pretty good defense. I think the defense can limit Virginia Tech’s inconsistent offense and I’d like see Pryon continue to develop. 

What’s your prediction for the game?

I expect Sims to not play or be very limited, and Virginia Tech showed some good things on offense against NC State. 

These feel like a defensive battle but one that goes in the Hokies favor 20-10.  

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

The Hokies have put themselves in position to win. But they can’t seem to close the deal. Last week, the offense finally showed up but the defense didn’t. At some point, both sides of the ball will show up and the Hokies will put another win on the board. The prospects of a bowl game are starting to look dicey.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 43rd
Offense: 57th
Defense: 38th
Special Teams: 57th

Georgia Tech

Overall: 50th
Offense: 47th
Defense: 50th
Special Teams: 94th

Georgia Tech is a solid offensive team. The throw and run the ball well. Like Syracuse, they are a team that creates running plays from their quarterback and running backs. A running QB gave the Hokies a lot of trouble last week. This is an area that has given the Hokies a lot of trouble for years now. The Hokies need to do a better job of spying the quarterback if they hope to slow down Georgia Tech’s offense.

The Yellow Jackets are not a good defensive team. This is a team the Hokies should be able to put up some yards on. Virginia Tech would be smart to lean on a similar gameplan to last week’s. Run the ball. Get Malachi Thomas involved and not force the issue in the pass game. There should be some space this week for the offense to operate. Georgia Tech’s defense looks like a better matchup for the Hokies than Syracuse did.

This looks like an even matchup. Georgia Tech has a better offense. Virginia Tech has a better defense. In even matchups like this, I like to go with the home team. Virginia Tech is dealing with a lot of internal turmoil and a road trip is not what they need to turn things around. It’ll be a close game. This game will come down to the 4th quarter and like the Notre Dame and Syracuse games, Georgia Tech makes enough plays down the stretch to get the win.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 28, Virginia Tech 21

Georgia Tech Preview and Prediction

With the win against Wake Forest, the Hokies have put themselves in good position for a bowl game. And even a shot at the Coastal division title. The key for the Hokies is to keep the momentum going. Next up are key Coastal division games against Georgia Tech, Pitt and Virginia. The Hokies cannot afford to overlook Georgia Tech. They are an improving team under Geoff Collins. Tech needs to head to Atlanta with a take-care-of-business attitude.

SP+ Rankings

Georgia Tech

Overall: 99th
Offense: 110th
Defense: 49th
Special Teams: 124th

Virginia Tech

Overall: 52nd
Offense: 72nd
Defense: 48th
Special Teams: 41st

Offense has been a struggle for Georgia Tech this season. Most expected a difficult the transition from the triple option to a spread offense. The Jackets have not been a threat in the passing game this season. But they can break a big play from time-to-time. Georgia Tech’s offense likes to run the ball and try to shorten the game. They want to keep the clock running. In order for the Hokies to be successful, they will need to stop the run and not get beat downfield with the long pass.

Georgia Tech is better on defense, particularly against the pass. The Jackets rank 119th against the run but rank 31st against the pass. It’s safe to say if you want to move the ball against Georgia Tech, your best option is on the ground. This is actually a pretty good matchup for the Hokies. The running game has looked a lot better with Hendon Hooker under center. The key for the Hokies will be to not turn ball over and give the Jackets struggling offense a short field.

Here are the last three games against Georgia Tech:

2016: Georgia Tech 30, Virginia Tech 20
2017: Georgia Tech 28, Virginia Tech 22
2018: Georgia Tech 49, Virginia Tech 28

The Hokies had a long stretch of success against Georgia Tech from 1990 thru 2015. But since then things have gone downhill. Virginia Tech were Vegas favorites in all three games but were on the losing end of upsets all three times. They need to change that. Paul Johnson was a thorn in the Hokies side for a long time. But he’s gone now. The Hokies need to go down to Atlanta and take care of business. On paper, this looks like a favorable matchup. The Hokies need to watch out for a motivated opponent playing on their home field. Georgia Tech is improving as the season goes on. They want to get that first ACC win at home. The Hokies need to go in focused to not mess around against an overmatched opponent.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, Georgia Tech 20

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.

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