Georgia Tech vs. Virginia prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Yellow Jackets and Cavaliers on Saturday in Atlanta, GA.
Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 – 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Yellow Jackets (6-4, 3-4 ACC) are coming off of a very surprising win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, as backup quarterback Matthew Jordan rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-20 upset victory. Normal starter Justin Thomas dressed for the game, but he didn’t play due to an undisclosed injury suffered at North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (2-8, 1-5) dropped a 34-14 decision at home last week to Miami, as Brad Kaaya threw two touchdown passes and Mark Walton ran for 111 yards and another score to pace the Hurricanes as they became eligible for the postseason in the win. In the losing effort, the Cavaliers’ Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell caught three passes for 27 yards to become the first player in ACC history to record 1,500 career rushing yards and 1,500 career receiving yards.
In last year’s contest between these two teams in Charlottesville, Canaan Severin caught a go-ahead 30-yard touchdown pass from Matt Johns, and Virginia’s defense held off a late surge by Georgia Tech in the Cavaliers’ 27-21 victory. The Yellow Jackets’ triple-option attack was able to break a couple of big plays, but it was held in check for the most part.
What To Know About Georgia Tech
Jordan did not look like a quarterback making his first career start last week in the win over the Hokies. He made things look easy at times, carrying the ball on 32 occasions and scoring on runs of 53 and three yards. Marcus Marshall added 143 yards and a score on the ground for the Yellow Jackets, who rushed for 309 yards en route to becoming eligible for a bowl. It was just GT’s third road win over a ranked team in Paul Johnson’s tenure as head coach. Defensively, the Yellow Jackets bounced back from giving up 636 total yards of offense in a loss to North Carolina the previous week. The unit held Virginia Tech to 437 yards and sacked dual-threat quarterback Jerod Evans five times.
What to Know About Virginia
One week after the Cavaliers dropped a 27-20 road decision to Wake Forest, which featured quarterback Kurt Benkert tossing two fourth-quarter interceptions, the Hoos were unable to go toe-to-toe with Mark Richt’s Hurricanes. And, once again, Benkert had a rough outing. The former East Carolina signal-caller struggled when under pressure from the Miami front. He completed 16-of-27 passes for 143 yards before being removed in the fourth quarter. Former starter Johns came in to finish the game, which was his final career home contest. On Monday, Cavs head coach Bronco Mendenhall says he will start Johns this week, believing it will help Benkert to step back and learn.
Offense: Even. The Cavs may be bolstered by the insertion of Johns into the starting lineup, while GT’s rushing attack is averaging 266.4 yards per contest.
Defense: Georgia Tech. The Cavs are allowing 445.9 yards per contest.
Special Teams: Even. Both the Yellow Jackets and Cavs have strong special teams efficiency ratings on the season.
Coaching: Georgia Tech. Mendenhall took his BYU teams to the postseason in each year he was there, but UVA will miss the postseason in 2016. Meanwhile, Johnson and the Jackets are poised to finish the year strong.
Intangibles: Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are looking to improve their bowl standing with a strong closing kick.
Matchup To Watch
Johns vs. Lawrence Austin
Johns played fairly well in last year’s win over Georgia Tech. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 175 yards with a touchdown and an interception. But he had four games with multiple interceptions last season, so he will need to play a clean game if the Hoos want to pull the upset. And he’ll need to be aware of the whereabouts of Jackets defensive back Austin, who had two picks to help thwart the Virginia Tech offense in the win last week.
Spread: Georgia Tech -10.5
Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Prediction
The expectation is that Thomas will start if healthy, even despite Jordan’s strong game last week against the Hokies. Nonetheless, if you’re a Georgia Tech fan, you have to feel good about the future at quarterback. This week, Johns will be able to stabilize the quarterback position a little bit for the Hoos, but this is a GT team intent on finishing the season strong. The Jackets get it done on the ground as they pull away in the second half.
Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Score Prediction: Georgia Tech 34, Virginia 26