A week after a tough opener against Louisville the Yellow Jackets should get a bit of reprieve with their FCS matchup. On September 9th at 1 pm Georgia Tech will have their opener at Bobby Dodd against the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
South Carolina State is an HBCU that plays in the MEAC. Their coach, Oliver Pough, is a legend on campus coaching the team since 2002 and bringing home 3 Black National Championships including most recently in 2021 when they shocked Deion’s Jackson State team in the Celebration Bowl to bring home the title. Last season was a down year for the Bulldogs finishing just 3-8 and 1-4 in conference. This was one of their worst seasons under Pough so I’d expect a bounce back year here.
Their recent experience against FBS teams has mostly been a struggle. Last year they lost 56-10 to UCF and 50-10 against South Carolina. In 2021 they were hammered by Clemson (which makes sense). In 2019 USF beat them 55-16. In 2018 they lost to Georgia Southern (37-6) and UCF (38-0). Their only close game recently was a 43-35 loss to New Mexico State and I bet some of you are Googling to make sure that NMSU is FBS.
The Bulldogs starting QB last year Corey Fields who returns this year for his 6th season. He’s a pocket passer who struggled at times last year. The backup, Tyrese Nicks, also got some play last year and had some more luck and is much more mobile than Fields. He didn’t play much last year as a freshman, but I would like to see Prometheus Franklin play a few snaps just because of his name. By far their best receiver last season was Shaquan Davis (934 yards and 11 TDs) who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Saints. Replacing him will be tough
The Bulldogs struggled on the ground last year and their leading rusher, Kendrell Flowers, transferred to Northern Illlinois. Jacory Benson and Alex James got some carries last year and should shoulder the load this year. I imagine that getting the ground game going better will be a priority this year.
On defense the star is DE Jeblonski Green. He’s gotten some NFL buzz, but got injured early last year. He’ll come to play this year.
Given all of this I expect GT to blow them out. They’ve struggled against teams at the P5 level and lost some of their best weapons from a team last year that wasn’t the best.
Some notes for this game. This is an afternoon game in early September so it will probably be a scorcher. If you go to this game remember to hydrate hydrate hydrate. Also SCSU is an HBCU which means you should stick around for halftime to watch the Marching 101. The HBCU bands are always a treat.