Virginia Tech Hokies (6-2, 4-0) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-3, 3-2)
- The Hokies are coming off a bye week and have a big lead in the Coastal. It will be very easy for this team to come out flat. If that happens against Georgia Tech, it won't be like the last three games where it will be easy to step on the gas in the second quarter and run away with it. They'll be down 17-0 like there were to start the game against NC State.
- Injuries could be a concern for the Hokies. Is Ryan Williams 100 percent ready to go? How hampered will Bruce Taylor and Eddie Whitley, two key defensive players against the option, be against the Jackets?
- It's supposed to rain Thursday night and it will be interested to see which team it affects more. Joe thinks Georgia Tech, which pitches the ball around, will have it worse. However, the Hokies' passing game against the GT secondary, could be taken out of play.
- A lot of stats, as usual, come from cfbstats.com.
Virginia Tech Offense vs. Georgia Tech Defense
- The Jackets are running a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator and Hokie punching bag Al Groh. GT's personnel doesn't exactly fit Groh's system just yet so I'd like to see the the Hokies pound the ball early and often with Darren Evans.
- GT has some talented players on defense, but they've been doomed by inconsistency. One player to watch is their backup defensive tackle, T.J. Barnes. You'll be able to tell when Barnes is on the field because he's a colossal human being at 6-7, 333. Barnes has the prototypical size for a 3-4 DT, but is still extremely raw as a sophomore. But if he ever starts making plays, the Jackets' 3-4 could finally stop the run with some consistency.
- Like I said above, it will be interesting to see how the rain affects the Hokies' passing game. The Jackets have allowed 7.4 ypa in five ACC games, ninth in the conference. They're secondary isn't exactly a ball-hawking unit and only has one pick in those five games. The secondary isn't without playmakers, though. It has three seniors and then in my mind it's best playmaker, junior Jerrard Tarrant, who's capable of changing the game either in the secondary or on special teams.
- A big key for the Hokies is sustaining drives and keeping the Jacket offense off the field. A good thing for the Hokies is that GT has allowed opponents to convert on over 44 percent of third downs in conference play, 10th in the ACC ahead of UVa and Wake.
Virginia Tech Defense vs. Georgia Tech Offense
- I touched on this yesterday. Basically, pay attention to GT's running balance between the three primary ball-carrying positions, whether or not it's grinding away with long drives and if its linemen are getting to the second level.
- The guy I'm most afraid of is Nesbitt. In the four games he's been held under 100 yards, the Jackets have lost three times and had to pull out a last-minute win against Wake Forest in the other. When Nesbitt is pounding out yards and making his reads correctly, this offense is just about impossible to stop.
- I'd like to see the Hokies get the ball out of Nesbitt's hands as quickly as possible, like NC State was often capable of earlier this year. You're still going to give up long runs to the B-backs and A-backs, but over time this is probably the best option against GT's option.
- The big key for the Hokies is not to get frustrated because this is such a frustrating offense to defend. You can stay sound in your gaps and your assignments and still wind up giving up a big play. It's the nature of the beats. Just don't let one 25-yard carry turn into four or five. It's torture to watch a defense against Georgia Tech. Basically you just hope for the best and for them to screw up or turn the ball over.
Watch the Box Score
- Virginia Tech 3rd Down Pct
- Georgia Tech 1st Down YPP
- Time of Possession
Virginia Tech Players to Watch
- 5 - Tyrod Taylor, Sr., QB
- 32 - Darren Evans, Jr., RB
- 91 - John Graves, Sr., DT
- 2 - Davon Morgan, Sr., ROV
Georgia Tech Players to Watch
- 9 - Joshua Nesbitt, Sr., QB
- 79 - Sean Bedford, Sr., RB
- 51 - Brad Jefferson, Sr., LB
- 37 - Jerrard Tarrant, Jr., S
Virginia Tech 34, Georgia Tech 28