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Opponent Stat Preview: Virginia Cavaliers

Taking an in-depth look at GT's Opponent this week.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

UVA started out hot this season, almost upsetting UCLA in the opening week, playing BYU very close, and winning their other 4 games. Unfortunately they have settled on some bad luck lately, barely losing close games to Duke and UNC. UVA has definitely played much better than any pre-season rating projected them to and has already doubled their win total from last year. They are an improved team, but not one that should be expected to beat our Yellow Jackets. The following table shows how Georgia Tech's and UVA's rank in the country according to some of my favorite metrics:

Method GT UVA Prediction
F/+ 35 46 GT - 16.5
ESPN FPI 37 43 GT - 5.2
SRS 30 45 GT - 8
GT - 4.5

When Georgia Tech Has The Ball

Georgia Tech's Offense has been playing out of it's mind this year, and the Advanced Stats agree:

When GT Has The Ball

Rating (NCAA Rank)

Method GT Offense UVA Defense
S&P+ 123.6 (9) 110.2 (36)

Passing S&P+

142.2 (9) 105.8 (63)

Rushing S&P+

134.7 (10) 128.6 (14)
FEI .965 (1) -.434 (19)

Explosive Drive %

.21 (12) .07 (14)

Methodical Drive %

.22 (7) .11 (29)

The unfortunate thing is that UVA's Defense has also impressed this year. UVA has done a great job of both limiting big plays and not letting opponents just walk the ball down the field. Georgia Tech is good at both of those things, so we will have to see what gives on Saturday.

When Virginia Has The Ball

The differences between the matchup when Tech has the ball and the matchup when UVA has the ball are astounding. Both UVA's Offense and Tech's Defense are below average.

When UVA Has The Ball

Rating (NCAA Rank)


UVA Offense

GT Defense

S&P+ 99.4 (71) 92.2 (95)

Passing S&P+

98.8 (73) 90.1 (97)

Rushing S&P+

101.5 (71) 86.0 (108)
FEI .179 (46) .186 (85)

Explosive Drive %

.14 (55) .17 (94)

Methodical Drive %

..14 (59) .23 (121)

Georgia Tech is 8th from last in giving up drives with 10 or more plays, which effectively means we are 8th from last in letting opponents just walk up and down the field. That's 8th from last in the country, not the ACC.

Special Teams

Harrison Butker has really disappointed this year. We haven't necessarily needed it this year (no low points on the y-axis) but it definitely doesn't make me confident.


Chart of The Week

The following charts show the percentage of runs that either the offense has rushed for or defense has allowed rushing that gain at least some number of yards. For example about 50 percent of Georgia Tech's runs this year have gained at least 5 yards. Virginia's opponent's have gained at least 5 yards on about 40 percent of their runs. The other grey lines represent every other team in the country.


What does this show us? Well for starters Georgia Tech's rushing attack is awesome. At every distance past two yards a higher percentage of our runs gain at least that many yards than any other team in the country. Virginia is just average at stopping opponents from running for at least some number of yards.


Our defense is almost as bad as our offense is good, and considering how good our offense is that is terrifying. Virginia's rushing attack does a decent job of not losing yards (a high percentage of plays that gain at least 0 yards). Once they do move past the line of scrimmage their rushing attack struggles to hit big plays. Georgia Tech is going to have to limit any big plays from the rushing game so Virginia is forced to pass and hopefully GT's defense will be able to force some turnovers.

Once again this game will come down to how well Georgia Tech's Defense can stop an opposing offense that is not great. Our offense has shown the ability to carry the team if need be but it really puts stress on the offense when they think they have to score every time they touch the ball. I'd like to believe that Tech will come out and score consistently on offense, force UVA in to bad field position when they don't, and let the defense make plays when they can. If UVA gets up early though (which they have yet to do against a decent opponent) then that could be cause for concern. An offense this good is only going to struggle with some turnovers and having to force plays that aren't there. I think we stay out of trouble and win 38-27.