Georgia Tech Football: North Carolina’s offense will be big test for Jackets defense

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Cornerback Step Durham
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Cornerback Step Durham /

Georgia Tech’s defense was impressive against Pittsburgh this past weekend, but can the Yellow Jackets do it against a much better offense?

Last week against the Pittsburgh Panthers, the Georgia Tech defense allowed just 235-total yards of offense and 17 points. Considering that the Jackets offense turned the ball over four times, it was a spectacular performance from the defense to say the least.

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An effort that was even a potential over performance by Ted Roof’s defensive squad. A strong performance on Saturday however could show that the performance could be what is to be expected going forward.

Just three weeks ago, the Yellow Jackets defense allowed 42 points to the Tennessee Volunteers. Since that game, the Volunteers have averaged just 26 points, limit those to games against FBS opponents and the number drops to 18.5 points. The Volunteers offense hasn’t obviously been lighting the world on fire ever since. Which leaves questions remaining about the Yellow Jackets performance on Labor Day.

Since that Labor Day performance, the Jackets have played two games, one against FCS Jacksonville State and one against Pittsburgh. In those two games, the Jackets have surrendered a total of 27 points and 426-yards. Both games featured strong defensive performances, that being said, facing an FCS program, defenses are expected to perform well. When it comes to Pittsburgh’s offense, the Panthers struggles were noted extensively throughout last week.

Which brings it all back to this week against North Carolina for the Yellow Jackets. While the Tar Heels have struggled defensively, their offense has averaged 33.8 points per game and over 400-yards a game. A big difference over Pittsburgh’s  20 points per game and 329-yards a game.

The Tar Heels are lead by redshirt freshman quarterback Chazz Surratt who’s numbers are respectable entering week five. Through five games, Surratt has completed 64.3% of his passes for 847-yards and five touchdowns. He has thrown just one interception on the season thus far. So far this season, the North Carolina native is averaging 211-yards a game.

Surratt’s leading receiver entering Saturday is senior Austin Proehl who is on pace to have a career season with 16 receptions, 270-yards, and one touchdown. He’s averaging 16.9 yards per reception. The Tar Heels have a wide range of targets to say the least entering Saturday to go along with Proehl as a total of five Tar Heels have double-digit receptions. Anthony Ratliff-Williams and Jordan Cunningham are two other names to watch. Both have over 140+ receiving yards.

The Jackets secondary was exposed by a rather competent passing attack by Tennessee, going up against a quality passing attack in North Carolina could be a challenge for the Jackets.

On the ground, the Tar Heels have three players with 40+ carries those being sophomore Jordan Brown, freshman Michael Carter, and Surratt. Brown leads the team with 228 rushing yards while Carter has 190-yards to go along with Surratt’s own 117-yards.

The Tar Heels offense isn’t unstoppable and the  Yellow Jackets defense will certainly have it’s success at times on Saturday but going up an offense that is playing at a much higher level than past opponents will certainly make a difference.  If the Jackets defense can contain the Tar Heels offense, it be a strong indication that the defense against Tennessee was more of an anomaly than anything.