This should be an interesting game this week. According to preseason hype, this game was supposed to feature a top-of-the-line ACC team in UNC and a bottom-dweller-with-no-hope-of-contending ACC team in Georgia Tech. Instead of that, Georgia Tech is currently 2-1 in ACC play with wins over Miami and VPI, whereas UNC is 0-2 in ACC play with losses to VPI and Clemson.
Because neither team has blown anybody away, while at the same time have not been utterly terrible, this should be a pretty good game. So let's look at some factors for this week's game.
1. UNC's Offense vs. Georgia Tech's Defense
This will definitely be an interesting match-up to watch this weekend. UNC's offense has been pretty good. They have scored less than 30 points only one time this season, in a loss to VPI. In comparison, Tech has not scored 30 points in three consecutive games since scoring 38 in the first two games and 42 against Georgia Southern.
You don't have to be an analyst to know that Tech's defense, while opportunistic, has not been great this season. They have allowed 388.3 yards-per-game this season, which is good for fourth-worst in the ACC, with 187.67 of those yards-per-game coming from rushing. One thing I was surprised to learn was that our passing defense isn't really that bad. They've only allowed just over 200 yards-per-game while intercepting opposing quarter backs eight times.
2. Penalties and Turnovers
If you watched the game last week, you know that untimely penalties and turnovers virtually destroyed our chances at winning the game. The way that Tech's offense works is that it needs to maximize on every single drive because they typically take longer with our style of play.
When you make boneheaded, albeit poorly-called, penalties or turn the ball over when the team is close to scoring, you're not likely to win many games. Up until last week, Tech had done pretty well with limiting turnovers and to an extent penalties, but they completely fell apart with that last week. If they want to beat UNC, they will have to get rid of these costly penalties and turnovers.
3. Justin Thomas' Health
Unfortunately, JT got banged up toward the end of the first half against Duke. He tweaked an ankle, which slowed him down the rest of the game, until CPJ decided to bring in Tim Byerly to play the rest of the game. I'm not trying to say that Byerly is a bad quarter back. Really, quite the opposite. Coming into the season, I would have been perfectly fine with Byerly being the starter. It would have brought back wonderful memories of watching Joshua Nesbitt run our offense.
However, JT has been incredible in his time as the starter. He may not be putting up Heisman-caliber numbers in terms of passing, but the way he has carried himself has impressed me just as much as anything else. Tech has been behind in every single game this season at some point. Has that affected JT much? I don't think so. In fact, I think he has actually played better when put under that pressure.
From everything I have seen this week, including the injury report, point to JT starting this weekend. The only thing that worries me is the totality of his health. Is he 100% or is he only 75%? We'll find out.
That's what I'm looking out for. What about y'all?