Oct 19, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Synjyn Days (10) celebrates a touchdown in the first half against Syracuse at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Week 9 Preview: Virginia Cavaliers


Just a week ago, Georgia Tech’s football season looked to be heading in a negative (to say the least) direction. Then, the team played their best 60 minutes of the season in dismantling Syracuse, and everything was right with the world. However, the team faces a tall test with a road trip to Charlottesville on Saturday, and we’ve got the breakdown for you here. Let’s go.

Jackets Offense vs. Virginia Defense

The season began in a very positive light for Virginia after beating BYU 19-16, but things have flown off the rails for the Cavs in a hurry, and that begins with the defense. For the year, UVA is 75th in the country in points against at 28.4 per game, and they are in the bottom half of the nation in yards allowed at over 377 per contest.

Fortunately for Virginia, they are slightly better against the run (150 yards per game), but they also haven’t faced an offense like Georgia Tech this season. Tech now has a staggering fourteen players with 7 carries or more on the season, and as a team, the Jackets are 5th in the country in rushing at over 304 yards per game.

Vad Lee and company turned things around on the ground last week (394 yards on 67 carries), but I would imagine there will be more resistance here, especially on the road. Enter Lee’s passing, and while he was a perfect 3-for-3 (yes, he threw only 3 passes) for 88 yards last week, his completion percentage still dwells in the sub-50% range. If Tech falls behind, there will be issues, but if Paul Johnson can get the option established early, things will open for Lee in the always-interesting passing game.

Jackets Defense vs. Virginia Offense

For as mediocre as Virginia is on defense, they are worse on offense. The Cavs are 101st in the country in points per game (22.3), and neither their passing or rushing totals are in the top-50 nationally.

Tailback Kevin Parks is the best player on the UVA offense for me, as he has amassed 560 yards and 8 touchdowns over 7 games. Tech has been above-average against the run this year, however, and they’ll be allowed to stack the box as a result of the subpar passing attack of Virginia, led by sophomore QB David Watford.

Watford has more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (5) on the season so far, and in a non-option offense, his 58.5% completion percentage leaves a lot to be desired. He’s managed a little bit of help with his legs (138 yards and 2 TD’s on the year), but mostly, this is an impotent passing attack, as illustrated by the fact that Parks (again, a running back) is the leading receiver with 270 yards.

Breathe easy on this side of the ball.

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In short, Georgia Tech is better than Virginia. Plain and simple. There is no “football” reason to suggest that Virginia should win this game, and only a letdown from the Jackets in an early kick (12:30) on the road would keep them from their 2nd consecutive win.

Stay tuned for post-game coverage, and a live game thread that will open on Saturday morning.

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