Will Georgia Tech take a step closer to bowl eligibility this weekend? It all depends on the following.
Maryland "QB" Shawn Petty
A high school quarterback-turned-linebacker, he's reverted to his old signal-calling ways after Maryland's first 4 quarterbacks have all gone down with injuries. In high school he ran zone-read and triple option schemes, and has the proper frame for a linebacker. He'll need to knock the rust off pretty quickly to have any success against a D-I level defense.
Georgia Tech's Offense
Last week, they didn't get into the end zone for the first time since the loss to LSU in the 2008 Chik-Fil-A Bowl. This week, they take on a team whose defense is by far its bright spot, and they're pretty good at what they do. Their rushing defense is ranked fourth in the country and has been generally impressive all year. If Georgia Tech can score early and jump out to a 7-10 point lead, the game will become very difficult for a Maryland team whose offense will be trying to figure itself out with a new signal caller.
Georgia Tech's Special Teams
After a poor performance last week, our special teams unit needs to tighten a few screws this week. This is a game that Georgia Tech should win, but special teams miscues are a very good way to lose a game that you shouldn't. With David Scully healthy, Tech needs to hit its field goals and not allow any blocks or major returns to avoid beating itself in College Park.
Those are my keys to the game, readers. I think it's fairly simple on our end -- take care of business, and we'll come home with a victory. Make mistakes and execute poorly, and we're going to be one loss away from being eliminated from bowl contention. How do you see this one ending up, and what will be the most important factors?