Georgia Tech is 8-2 heading into the final two games of the season against two of their biggest rivals. This week they tackle the lesser of the two rivals: Clemson. Let's take a look at some key factors to the game.
1. The Defense
Call me superstitious if you will, but it's working. I've listed the defense on this list for the last few weeks now, and while they haven't been terrific, they've been a pretty solid group.
They'll need to be even better this week with a very good Clemson offense rolling into Bobby Dodd. The offense is led by a lot of young guns, including Deshaun Watson, a freshman, at QB, Wayne Gallman, another freshman, at HB, and Mike Williams, a sophomore, at WR. Adam Choice (Tashard's cousin) is also playing for the Tigers but has missed most of the season with a torn ACL.
Ted Roof is looking to change some things up this week, according to some. I've heard speculation that we could see some 3-3-5 sets, which would make sense with Shawn Green unable to play this week. It would allow us also to blitz the linebackers more liberally.
2. The first half
The first half will play a huge role in this game. Deshaun Watson hasn't played at the speed of a game in nearly a month, so he will likely be a little rusty coming back.
Another player will also be missing during the first half. Safety Robert Smith was ejected from the Wake Forest game last Thursday after a questionable targeting call. Because of this, they will have to work the first half of the game this week without him. The senior and two-year starter is tied for the team-lead in tackles with 47 while also adding in two picks and a fumble recovery.
If Tech can take advantage of these two factors, they may be able to obtain a good lead, and if they can keep that going, it may be too much for Clemson to recover from.
3. Tech's Offense vs. Clemson's Defense
This is the matchup that people have been talking about and debating for a while now. Can Tech's offense get anything going against one of the top defenses statistically in the country?
Let's take a look at some #SwarmStats courtesy of Mike DeGeorge:
I'd say Tech's offense is pretty good. They've also played some solid defenses in Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke, Pitt, and UVA.
Now let's look at Clemson's defense as compared to some of the offenses they've played. They absolutely fell apart in the second half of the georgia game and ended up allowing 45 points (24 in the second half) and 35 to UNC (24 in the second half). I didn't include FSU in that since they caught FSU at virtually the best time possible (without Jameis Winston) and then still Clemsoned themselves to a loss.
In all honesty, this should be a great game. This is what I'm watching out for. What are y'all looking for?