Coming off of a brutal loss at home to the Virginia Tech Hokies last Thursday, the Jackets travel to Coral Gables, Florida to take on the Miami Hurricanes. Let’s take a look at what’s on tap.
Opponent: Miami Hurricanes (4-0, 0-0 in ACC)
Time/TV: 3:30 PM ET, ESPNU
Jackets Offense vs. Hurricanes Defense
This is going to be a challenge. The Georgia Tech offense was an unmitigated disaster during the Virginia Tech game, putting up less than 300 total yards, turning the ball over 3 times, and committing a staggering 9 penalties. However, things don’t get any easier against Miami, as the Hurricanes enter the game at #7 in the country in points against at 12.5 per game.
Vad Lee (and his 46% completion rate on the season) is up for a big challenge in Miami, as they present athletes all over the field. Tech was forced to throw the ball a lot against the Hokies, and they were predictably unsuccessful, placing the spotlight on the option, once again. In fact, Paul Johnson submitted this less-than-enthusiastic quote to ESPN:
“It’s been coming. I’ve told you all along we’re not very good with the option. We’re terrible, in fact, and it showed. We’re not going to throw the ball 24 times and win very many games. That’s not us. We’ve got to be able to run the ball … and we didn’t do it.”
Words like ‘terrible’ aren’t encouraging for the offense, but that’s the reality of the situation. Look for Johnson to pound the ball on the ground against a Hurricanes defense that has been significantly worse against the run than the pass this season. Keep an eye on David Sims, as the 225-pound senior will surely see a bunch of touches on Saturday afternoon.
Jackets Defense vs. Hurricanes Offense
The Georgia Tech defense has been leaps and bounds better than the offense this season, but Miami’s offense is no joke. Miami QB Stephen Morris has been banged up a bit this year, but the Hurricanes have still averaged over 260 yards per game through the air. It’s a balanced attack, as they are also in the top-4o nationally in rush offense, but everything goes through Morris.
On the ground, Duke Johnson is a monster for Miami. The 5-foot-9 sophomore is averaging over 6 yards per carry on the year, and while his touches have dwindled recently, that is more of a product of situation rather than ineffectiveness.
The Tech defense is still top-10 nationally in points allowed (12.8 per game), but the suddenly unique, “pro-style” offense from Miami presents some issues. If they can contain Morris through the air, that will be big, but that’s not a small task.
For the “negative stat of the day”, the Jackets have lost 4 straight in this series by an average of 16 points. In college football, that doesn’t always indicate anything (at all), but Miami is the more talented team, and they are playing at home. I’d give Georgia Tech a legitimate chance to steal this game, but Miami is the clear favorite in my mind, and Las Vegas agrees with a 6-point line.
Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning.