A season ago, Georgia Tech escaped Charlottesville (a place that has given Georgia Tech issues in the past) with a win. This year, the Cavaliers will be coming to the Flats for Homecoming, as the Yellow Jackets look to continue the current 2-game winning streak against them. In spite of Georgia Tech winning last season, it did not come easy for them. They had to overcome FIVE turnovers. Thankfully, both David Sims and Zach Laskey rushed for two touchdowns apiece in a 35-25 victory.
Offensively this year, Virginia may be hard-pressed to find some players for their QB David Watford to get the ball too. Gone from last year's team are two of Watford's favorite targets: TE Jake McGee and WR Tim Smith. McGee (who missed the game against GT last season) had his best season his junior year (13.4 yards/rec and 5 TDs), and leaves Virginia with pretty solid overall career stats (769 total yards, 10.8 yards/rec, and 7 total TDs). Tim Smith's best season came in 2011 (17.1 yards/rec and 3 TDs), while also finishing with pretty good numbers (1591 yards, 16.4 yards/rec, and 10 TDs). A key returner on offense for the Cavaliers is QB David Watford. A season ago against Tech, Watford completed 43-of-61 passes for a career high 376 yards. Hopefully Ted Roof's defense will be able to get a better hold on Watford this season.
Because Grant did such a great job talking about the defense in his Virginia season preview, I'm going to go ahead and add that here:
As many of you probably know, Virginia’s defensive coordinator is none other than former Georgia Tech DC Jon Tenuta. Last year was his first season with the Cavaliers, and it is not uncommon for defenses to see a significant jump in performance between years one and two under a new DC. That said, Virginia’s secondary is loaded with experience at every position and could be dangerous. Couple that with junior DE Eli Harold, who led the Hoos in TFL (15, 7th all-time at Virginia) and sacks (8.5), and you’ve got a potentially surprising defensive squad. If Brown plays his way onto the defensive line as a true freshman, too, look out.
Virginia also brought in a couple highly-touted defensive players this past offseason. Among those are two five-star recuits on defense: DT Andrew Brown and DB Quin Blanding. Like Grant says above, Virginia's secondary is pretty experienced, so Quin Blanding probably won't see much playing time, but I think Andrew Brown will definitely work his way onto the field this season.
Just like in the Pitt game, location also plays a huge role in this series. Even though Georgia Tech did win last season in Charlottesville, that's often not what happens. The opposite happens to be true when the game is played at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field. And solely because of the pure talent that Virginia possesses, this should be a close game. I, however, am not too sure it will be though. I think Georgia Tech will be ready for Homecoming this season, while Mike London will be holding his team back again. Georgia Tech wins 48-21.