Well last week was a great offensive performance, but not so much on defense. In other news, I think we’re learning a lot about the team. So let’s take a quick look at Saturday’s results.
Can Georgia Tech win in Charlottesville?
Will the bye week do the secondary any good?
Will the running game finally show up this weekend?
Well in other news, the running game really showed up last weekend, and it was a site for sore eyes! Despite having just 13 carries, Jahmyr Gibbs led the way and made the most of it, going for 132 yards and highlighted by a 71-yard touchdown. Outside of that carry, Gibbs averaged a solid 5.1 yards a carry. Outside of that, Jordan Mason and Dontae Smith combined for 11 carries and 73 yards, with Smith also getting a touchdown.
This was just the kind of game that Tech’s running backs needed, so hopefully we will be able to see them build on that this week.
Coming into Techmo Bowl week, we have seen some definite highs and lows on this year’s Georgia Tech team. Let’s see what we can learn this week.
Can Justin Fuente go back to sucking against Georgia Tech?
Justin Fuente was hired by Virginia Tech back before the 2016 season. In his first three seasons, he lost to Georgia Tech three times in a row. It was not until 2019 that Fuente finally got his first (and only) win. We won’t talk about that game.
This year, Virginia Tech has been...let’s say less than stellar. After what was considered to be an impressive 17-10 victory over North Carolina this week, they have failed to beat another Power 5 team, including Syracuse next week. Georgia Tech hasn’t been amazing either, but I think they certainly stand a good chance of winning this game.
Can Georgia Tech’s defense get back on its feet?
Georgia Tech’s defense had a strong start to the season, including strong performances against Clemson and North Carolina, but the last three weeks have been absolutely dreadful to watch. Robert covered this in his Advanced Stats Preview, but Virginia Tech’s offense is dreadfully bad.
The Hokies are currently averaging a whopping -0.7 EPA per play, which is well below the national average of 0.6 EPA per play. The running game for the Hokies in particular is pretty uninspiring. Their leading rusher has just 275 rushing yards. After facing two tough offenses in Pitt and Virginia, this could be a good rebound game for the defense.
Can the running game build on last week’s successes?
Yay! Georgia Tech finally established its running game last week! As I mentioned above, the combination of Jahmyr Gibbs, Jordan Mason and Dontae Smith rushed for 205 yards. Coming into this week, the trio has a chance to build on that.
Virginia Tech’s pass defense is absolutely its strength, allowing -0.11 EPA per pass (versus allowing 0.23 EPA per run). Knowing this and the fact that Jeff Sims tends to struggle when pressured, I think this week’s gameplan needs to have a heavy focus on running the ball. I keep saying this, but this week’s match-up against Virginia Tech bodes really well for Georgia Tech. The areas where Georgia Tech is successful are also the areas where Virginia Tech is not successful. Hopefully, that translates onto the field this week.
What are you hoping to learn this week?