Keys to the Game:
1. Keep the ball off the ground:
When it comes down to it, the Jackets lost Monday night’s game because of turnovers and most of the time a turnover in the Georgia Tech offense will be a fumble. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall had two fumbles (one loss), including one that would lead to a Tennessee touchdown. Late in the game, J.J Green broke off a 30+ yard run but allowed the ball to be knocked free. Tennessee recovered Green’s fumble and later scored a touchdown.
2. Carry over offensive success (FUNDAMENTALS)
This one is a little easy but it can’t be stressed enough heading into Saturday and the rest of the season. If the Jackets carry over the success and keep the offense rolling like they did on Monday, they’ll be unbeatable if the defense can tighten up. Now, they’re not going to score 40+ points every game and rush for 500+ yards every game but if they can continue to play with the strong fundamentals like they did on Monday, watch out.
3. Tighten up the middle of the field
If there was a lackluster performance or a letdown performance by any, one position group on Monday it was the linebackers. Heading into the season it was supposed to be a strength, it’s safe to say they disappointed big time on Monday. If Georgia Tech doesn’t want to be on upset alert Monday, they’ll have to keep Roc Thomas contained which means the middle of the field needs to tighten up. If there isn’t any sign of improvement on Saturday, it’s time to start worrying.
1. Limit Marshall’s options
Tennessee’s biggest problem on Monday was their inability to limit Marshall’s options of where he can go. There was simply just too many openings for Marshall who took advantage of them every time on his way to 249-yards. If the Gamecocks can make the gaps for Thomas smaller, they’ll have a better chance of containing Marshall.
2. Create turnovers
It’s the opposite of one of the Yellow Jackets keys to the game and that means the Gamecocks need to turnovers. The Jackets ball security on Monday night was concerning and there was plenty of more opportunities for the Volunteers to cause turnovers both through the air and on the ground. If Jacksonville State is going to pull off an upset it means they’ll need three or more turnovers.
3. Use Jamari Hester to their advantage
Late in Monday’s game, Tennessee began peppering the ball downfield as they looked to climb back into the game. For Tennessee, they were able to use their tall, athletic receivers to beat smaller Georgia Tech cornerbacks. The Gamecocks have a receiver in Jamari Hester who will be hard for any Tech corner to cover as Hester stands at 6-foot-7. The tallest Tech cornerback on the roster stands at 6-foot-3 which is still a strong four-inch difference, which can make all the difference. It’s safe to say that Hester could be a problem for Tech.