Fresh off of clinging the ACC Coastal Championship last week, the 16th ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets travel to Athens, Georgia to play the ninth ranked Georgia Bulldogs in one of the most hated rivalries in college football. Dubbed “Clean, Old Fashioned Hate,” this rivalry dates back to 1893.
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Historically, this series has been dominated by the Georgia Bulldogs, who have lost to Georgia Tech only 15 times since 1957, but to better illustrate that dominance in a more modern setting, Georgia is 22-8 versus Georgia Tech since 1984.
Georgia Tech’s most notable recent wins in the series was a 45-42 victory back in 2008, which is their only series win since 2000.
Georgia Tech enters this game with plenty of momentum, and their emotions are high after claiming the ACC Coastal Championship.
But before they can prepare for Florida State, they have to get past the Georgia Bulldogs first, in what could prove to be the perfect the perfect warm game for the ACC Championship.
Unlike prior seasons, the Georgia Bulldogs have some glaring weaknesses that Georgia Tech can exploit. The Bulldogs defense has not defended well against the run this season, which bodes well for the Yellow Jacket’s flexbone/spread option style offense.
Unfortunately for Georgia Tech, they give that advantage right back to the Bulldogs, who could have a field day against the Yellow Jackets run defense.
Georgia Tech must also contend with the accuracy of Senior quarterback Hutson Mason, who has provided a solid arm in replacement of Aaron Murray.
Georgia running back Nick Chubb came into his own this season along side of phenom running back Todd Gurley, who is out of today’s game with following surgery to repair a torn ACL.
While both teams have struggled to defend the run, both schools boast good secondaries. Cornerback Damian Swann is having a huge season for the Bulldogs with 52 tackles, three interceptions, and two sacks. Bulldogs free safety Quincy Mauger is also having a solid season with 43 tackles and four interceptions.
Georgia Tech fields some exceptional cornerback of their own. D.J. White is having a memorable season with 57 tackles and four interceptions. Yellow Jackets’ safety Jamal Golden is an explosive defender with four interceptions while also being a threat in the return game.
Key Match Up for Georgia Tech:
DeAndre Smelter vs. Damian Swann
Keys to Victory for Georgia Tech:
1) Immediately establish Justin Thomas. Georgia Tech’s chances of winning increase 80% when Justin Thomas gets off to a quick start. The Bulldogs will focus on removing Thomas from the run game, so Georgia Tech could opt to bring their pass game in early in this match up.
2) Defense needs to play a smart game today for the Yellow Jackets. Georgia has a dangerous pass attack, and their running game is one of the best in the SEC this season. The Bulldogs’ balanced offense means the Yellow Jackets cannot afford to over commit or get too aggressive on defense, but thanks to Georgia’s speed on offense, they can’t afford to be too conservative either.
3) Field position and clock domination will be critical to the Yellow Jackets chances of winning today’s game. Georgia Tech must make each offensive drive counts, whether it’s putting point on the board, or by taking minutes off the clock. Georgia’s offense can’t warm up if it’s staying cool on the sidelines.
Georgia Tech 34