Georgia Tech takes on the Pittsburgh Panthers at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon in a pivotal week three matchup and ACC opener for both squads.
The Jackets last week struggled to hit the mark on our three keys to victory in their 49-38 loss to USF. This Saturday afternoon, the Yellow Jackets will have another chance at picking up their second win over the season but will have to hit these three keys if they hope to beat Pittsburgh on Saturday. If the Jackets can hit on three keys, than it could help them lead to an easy victory over a very beatable Pittsburgh Panthers team.
Key #1: Limit the Turnovers
This was one of our three keys last week for the Yellow Jackets and through three quarters, the offense did well in limiting their turnovers. Through the first 45 minutes, they had just one turnover and in reality it ended up being meaningless with it coming at the tail end of the first half. Then the fourth quarter came and they turned the ball over twice in the last ten minutes of action that lead directly to two USF touchdowns, changing the momentum and course of the game.
Pittsburgh may not have as explosive of an offense as USF has but the Yellow Jackets will still need to be careful against the Panthers and limit their turnovers. Ball security will be a must for ball carriers and TaQuon Marshall will need to make smart throws. A replication of last season’s four turnovers can’t happen again for the Jackets.
Key #2: Stop Pittsburgh’s Run Game:
As we talked about this week, Pittsburgh’s offense comes through mostly their run game as they seem to have very little trust in quarterback Kenny Pickett to throw the ball. The Panthers are going to have upwards of 40 carries at least against the Yellow Jackets which means the run defense will have to be stellar. The Panthers gashed Penn State for 200-yards last week in the first half but only picked up six points. The Jackets don’t have a defense as talented as Penn State’s and will need to make sure they don’t bend too much when it comes to the run game. They can allow chunks here and there but overall, the rush defense will have to be stellar.
Key #3: Play a Full 60 Minutes:
This may seem obvious but the Yellow Jackets dating back to last season have had a severe problem in playing a full 60 minutes of football in each facet of the game. If the offense shows up, the defense is nowhere to be found. If the offense and defense get off to a good start, the special teams are horrendous. It’s been a no-win situation in that aspect for the Jackets dating back to last season outside of a few games.
The Jackets on Saturday will need to play strong football from the get-go and can’t take their foot off the proverbial gas pedal until the clock hits 00:00 in the fourth quarter. The game means a ton for both teams despite being just three weeks into the season and it will be evident which team wants it more once toe meets leather.