After back-to-back conference wins to start their ACC campaign, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets face their steepest challenge of the 2013 season so far with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Let’s get it going.
Opponent: Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1, 0-0 in ACC)
Time/TV: 7:30 PM ET on Thursday (9/26), ESPN
Jackets Offense vs. Hokies Defense
Here’s the “impact” match-up. As we all know, the Georgia Tech offense is extremely proficient on the ground, and they currently stand at 4th in the country, generating over 345 yards per game. Vad Lee engineers the attack, but it’s been David Sims carrying the day on the ground for the most part, leading the team with 211 yards on 5.6 yards per carry and 3 touchdowns.
Facing off with Virginia Tech will be interesting, because we were all taught to think that VT had an elite defense. After all, they kept the game semi-respectable with Alabama thanks to proficiency on that end of the field, and even though they nearly lost to Marshall (yes, Marshall) last week, it certainly wasn’t a product of bad defense. The Hokies are currently 15th in the country against the rush (96.5 yards per game), but they haven’t faced a multi-faceted attack like that of the Yellow Jackets. Lastly, the strength of the Va Tech defense appears to be against the pass (where they are top-10 in the nation thus far), but unfortunately for them, that won’t be stressed much by the GT air attack.
Keep an eye on VT defensive end James Gayle, who will be tasked (most likely) with hitting Vad Lee on every play. He’s probably the most talented player on a loaded defense, and the DE spot is always big against this option attack.
Jackets Defense vs. Hokies Offense
The Virginia Tech offense has been a trainwreck this season. At one point, Logan Thomas was considered to be a darkhorse Heisman candidate (not this year so much, but in previous seasons), but he has completed less than 50% of his passes on the season while generating more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (4). Admittedly, he’s been a bit better since the disastrous Alabama game, but Georgia Tech is in the top-20 in the country in pass defense (less than 170 yards per game), and that is a strength for the Jackets.
On the ground, the Hokies have been a bit better, landing in the middle of the pack nationally. Freshman running back Trey Edmunds has exceeded 100 yards on the ground twice this season (including the ‘Bama game), and he could pose issues against the Tech front seven.
All in all, I’m expecting a close, hotly-contested battle between two fairly strong ACC teams. Given that Georgia Tech is hosting this game On the Flats (at night on a Thursday for good measure), I’d lean toward the Jackets in winning the game, but crazy things seem to happen on Thursday nights, especially when it’s a full-fledged “White Out”.
Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Thursday afternoon.