The Duke Blue Devils come to Atlanta on Saturday in what is a decisive and season-defining game for both Duke and Georgia Tech and here are four players that could decide the game on both sides.
Georgia Tech – AB Clinton Lynch:
Two weeks ago, Lynch became the first Yellow Jacket to become a member of the 1,000 rushing yards – 1,000 receiving yards club. The senior a-back has had a nice bounce-back season following last year’s disappointment which included a lack of touches for Lynch when compared to years’ past. Lynch this season has already topped his total yards mark from last season and leads the team in receptions and receiving yards with seven and 209 respectively. On the ground, Lynch hasn’t had a ton of opportunities to produce with just 15-carries but he has made the most of those carries with an average of 6.5-yards per carry for a total of 96-yards. The Blue Devils have been decent in their pass defense this year, giving up just over 200-yards per game. While the Yellow Jackets probably won’t come close for 200-yards through the air, it wouldn’t be shocking if Clinton Lynch is a common receiving target on Saturday. Lynch has had only nine touches over the past two weeks and while the offense has performed at a high level through those two games, getting Lynch back in the flow of the offense will only help going forward especially as defenses begin to key in on TaQuon Marshall and Jordan Mason.
Georgia Tech – S Malik Rivera:
The transfer out of Wofford has quietly had a strong season for the Yellow Jackets through his first six games on The Flats. Through six games, Rivera leads the Yellow Jackets in tackles with 26 tackles and two interceptions. At times this season, Rivera has seemingly disappeared with three games where he has recorded just a lone tackle. One of those three games was last weekend against Louisville, he did, however, record one quarterback hurry on the day. The good news is that each time Rivera has had one of these one-tackle games, he has bounced back the next week with a big day including a seven-tackle performance against Clemson. His biggest day of the season came against Bowling Green when he picked up a season-high 10 tackles. It wouldn’t be shocking if the trend continues this weekend against Duke and Rivera ends up having another big day.
Duke – QB Daniel Jones:
Jones is in his third year as Duke’s starting quarterback but has only played in one game over the past month. After starting off hot against Army and Northwestern, Duke was out for the Blue Devils with an injury he suffered against the Wildcats. The third-year quarterback returned two weeks ago against Virginia Tech and had a decent day through the air and then Duke had their bye week. That being said, it wouldn’t be shocking if there is some rust on Jones on Saturday. However, the Yellow Jackets will have to prepare to face an extremely accurate quarterback who can punish defenses who give him too much time or too much room. So far this season, Jones has completed 70.3% of his passes for 615-yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. He’ll rarely throw for more than 250-yards but he’ll make every one of his yards count and can make all the needed throws. Jones is the ultimate game-manager quarterback.
Duke – S Dylan Singleton:
The senior safety is your classic do-it-all roving safety for the Blue Devils. The senior out of Dacula, Georgia has done a ton for the Blue Devils so far this season, totaling 41 tackles, a pass deflection, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. It’s safe to say that Singleton is a game-changer in the secondary for Duke. Through the Blue Devils first five games, Singleton has racked up at least 10 tackles in three of five games including 10 tackles in their last matchup against Virginia Tech. Singleton’s best game of the season came in Duke’s season opener against Army, who of course runs a triple-option offense. In that game, the Georgia native racked up 11-tackles including seven solo tackles and also had a forced fumble. Against the Yellow Jackets, Singleton is primed to be a major part of Duke’s defense and will look to make a huge play or two. Expect to hear his name a ton.