Georgia Tech’s rush defense is rough, but that might be okay this week
So it’s been no secret that Georgia Tech has struggled to stop the run this season. Tech held SC State to just a 20% run stuff rate this last weekend, which is not a great number against an FCS team. Thankfully, though, it might not matter that much, because Ole Miss does not seem to like running the ball.
Against Mercer, the leading rusher was Quinshon Judkins, and he performed well, rushing 13 times for 60 yards and 2 TDs (0.39 EPA/play). Against Tulane, Judkins hit a similar mark, rushing 11 times for 56 yards and 1 TD (-0.15 EPA/play). The massive difference in EPA (I believe) comes from OL play and some explosive plays against Mercer. Between both games, 30 rush attempts have been stopped for 2 yards or less. If Tech’s rush defense is going to do anything, this is the week to do it.
The defense still struggles with creating havoc
Speaking of the defense doing things, they certainly tried to last week. Against SC State, Tech’s defense generated 6 havoc plays (5 TFL, 1 interception). That’s really not a great start to the season. Tech failed to really put much pressure on SC State’s QB (granted SC State didn’t pass much). Ole Miss likes to pass a lot, though, and they are not bad at preventing havoc plays. In two games this season, they have allowed 10 havoc plays (7.4% havoc rate). Georgia Tech is severely missing Keion White on its defensive line, so it will be on defensive coordinators Andrew Thacker and Kevin Sherrer to get creative in disrupting the flow of Ole Miss’s offense.
Haynes King = good
So far this season, Haynes King has been absolutely phenomenal. He had a single interception against Louisville early in the game, but since then, he has been absolutely slinging it. Ole Miss’s defense has been pretty adept at stopping the pass, so this will be a really good test for King (and the offensive line). He will likely have pressure on him a good bit of the day, so we will be able to see how King handles that.
We have a kicking system that worked last week, but will it continue?
I’m not sure what happened, but Gavin Stewart has absolutely struggled with field goals this season. He has missed every single attempt. Last week, the coaching staff decided to give redshirt-freshman Aidan Birr a shot, and he took advantage of it, nailing both of his field goal tries. Stewart continues to carry the reins on kickoffs (and is doing a great job), but will Birr continue to handle field goal duties, or will Stewart be given a chance to redeem himself?