Georgia Tech Football: Yellow Jackets vs Georgia Southern Eagles Preview


Vegas Line – Georgia Tech favored by 17

Georgia Tech will be hosting the Georgia Southern Eagles Saturday,  September 13th at 12 pm EST. There is expected to be 50,000 people in attendance for this game at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

This is a dangerous game for Paul Johnson’s bunch for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is because Georgia Southern can play and will not be in awe of the level of competition Tech will bring.

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Willie Fritz’s Eagles, who are in their first year in the Sun Belt Conference, put a scare into the NC State Wolfpack before falling short 24-23 in their season opener on the road.

Georgia Southern totaled 438 yards offensively that afternoon, rushing the ball for 246 yards. They also threw the ball efficiently hitting 10 of 17 for 192 yards.

Last week, the Eagles decided to take out their frustration on Savannah St 83-9, which is what a team is supposed to do when they are playing inferior competition.

Georgia Southern runs a variation on the triple-option that involves more passing and zone reads.

Sophomore quarterback Kevin Ellison is in the pilot seat for the Eagles’ offense and is the dual threat that is needed under center to make this offense succeed.

On the year Ellison has completed 11 of 18 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He has also rushed 22 times for 150 yards and averaging 6.8 yards per carry.

Ellison is going to have to stay under the watchful eye of Quayshawn Nealy all game long.

Aug 30, 2014; Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Wolfpack fans react as Georgia Southern Eagles running back Matthew Breida (36) scores a touchdown during the first quarter at Carter Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA Today

Sophomore running back Matt Brieda gets the bulk of the carries out of the backfield as far as Georgia Southern’s running backs are concerned.  He has toted the ball 18 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns on the year.

Senior wide receiver Zach Walker lead the Eagles in receptions with six catches for 89 yards on the year, while their other senior wide receiver Kentrellis Showers leads the team in receiving yards with 150 yards on five catches this year.

This game is going to be similar to Georgia Tech’s opener with Wofford because Georgia Southern is capable of controlling the ball and limiting opportunities for Tech’s offense to get on the field.

So it is going to be crucial that the Yellow Jackets get off to a fast start when they have the ball offensively.

Though Tech was able to get the victory last week 38-21 over Tulane, the Jackets could not get any traction until the second half.

Fortunately, Tulane also aided with some questionable play calling going into the end of the first half that miraculously gave the Jackets the lead, but Tech can’t count on Georgia Southern being that charitable.

Georgia Tech is going to have to take the confidence from Georgia Southern early and demoralize them. That means establishing the power run game early with Zach Laskey and gashing them with Tony Zenon and Synjyn Days.

Justin Thomas is going to need to be more accurate throwing the ball with the few attempts he will take in this game. Tech has tried to throw the ball early in the game but then scrapped it once they saw that Thomas was high and outside on his passes.

Sep 6, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson during the first half of a game at Yulman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver, Darren Waller will be back after serving his two game suspension. How much action he will see on Saturday has really not been defined, but having him available to go along with DeAndre Smelter and Michael Summers should make things more difficult for Georgia Southern.

Defensively, Tech is going to need to be sure that they keep the big run plays to a minimum. Tulane was able to get a few big runs early that gave them confidence.

Isaiah Johnson is back this week after being out with a bad hamstring for Tulane, and should be able to aid in slowing down the running game of Georgia Southern.

Tyler Stargel, Matt Gotsis and company on the defensive line also need to get penetration early and often to blow up plays and keep containment so that the linebackers can make proper reads when the option and zone read plays are developing.

Through all of that there was still another reason that this was a dangerous game. The other reason this is a dangerous game is that this is considered the proverbial “trap game” with Virginia Tech coming up next week.

The last thing that Georgia Tech wants to do is look past this opponent with conference play lurking in the background. Many teams have gotten caught like that. Paul Johnson’s team is going to need to focus on the task at hand and worry about the Hokies when it is time.

Told you there were a couple of reasons why this was a dangerous game.