This Saturday night under the lights of Bobby Stadium the Ramblin Wreck from Georgia Tech take on the Miami Hurricanes in a coastal showdown. To the winner, a clearer path to the coastal title. To the loser, just tears of frustration.
There are some interesting match-ups in this game that will eventually shape the outcome of this game. Let's take a look at some.
Justin Thomas vs. Miami Defense
The straw that stirs the drink for this Georgia Tech offense is sophomore Quarterback Justin Thomas. In four games, Thomas has 610 yards and 7 touchdowns through the air. On the ground, Thomas has 443 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas' speed has been the difference maker for the Yellow Jackets offense. In games when Tech has been down or needed a quick score, Thomas has put this team on his shoulders and carried them to victory. The Yellow Jackets will need his play making ability again this Saturday.
The Hurricanes come into this game with a 3-2 overall record and 1-1 conference record. Two weeks ago, the Hurricanes gave up 343 yards rushing against Ameer Abdullah and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The time of possession for the Cornhuskers was 33:20 and they were 7-10 on third down conversions. Fast forward one week and Miami gives up only 85 yards rushing with Duke only 2-16 on third down conversions and 27:10 on time of possession. This tells me two things: Either Duke is not as good as they were last year or Miami has some consistency issues on defense.
Which Miami defense shows up Saturday and will Justin Thomas be able to move the Yellow Jacket offense?
Brad Kayaa vs. Georgia Tech Defense
Freshman Quarterback Brad Kayaa has been the talk of town in South Beach. The young man has thrown for 1275 yards and 12 touchdowns so far this season. He has shown tremendous poise behind center and has a good arm. What he has also shown is that he has happy feet when a defense can get pressure, which is not uncommon in a freshman quarterback, but it can lead to poor decision making. Last week, Kayaa had his best performance against Duke as he went 20/34 for 223 yards and two touchdowns.
The Georgia Tech defense is coming off a pretty solid performance against the Virginia Tech Hokies. They picked off Michael Brewer 3 times and held the Hokies to 127 yards rushing. This Saturday against Miami, the Jackets have to get more pressure and force Brad Kayaa and Miami to three and outs. If Kayaa has all day, Miami will wear the Yellow Jackets defense down. Tech will need players like Adam Gostis and Quayshawn Nealy to have huge games for Tech to have success on defense.
Can the Yellow Jackets get pressure on Brad Kayaa or does the Freshman Quarterback pick the Yellow Jackets defense apart?
Georgia Tech- DeAndre Smelter (WR) - The senior has been a breath of fresh air for the Georgia Tech offense. And it's not just the fact he can make pretty catches, but he can make plays and leave defenders in the dust. With four touchdowns and 339 yards receiving, Smelter has proven that defenses have to keep both eyes open when playing Georgia Tech.
Miami - Duke Johnson (RB) - Duke is a baller. Last Saturday, he became the third player in Hurricane history to reach 4,000 all-purpose yards. Anytime the ball is in his hands he makes plays. Last year against the Yellow Jackets, Johnson ran for 184 yards on 22 carries. Look for Johnson to be a big part of the Hurricanes game plan Saturday.
Now that you have seen the match-ups, do you see any advantage for either team? Which team makes the most plays Saturday?