What To Watch For Vs. Georgia

Matthew McGavic

It's finally rivalry week on The Flats. Rebounding from a historic 45-0 loss, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-8, 2-6 ACC) held off the NC State Wolfpack long enough to secure a 28-26 win, and now have their eyes set on the #4 Georgia Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) in the annual Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate season-ending matchup this Saturday at noon on ABC.

It finalizes a 3 game home-stand that ends the regular season, with the Yellow Jackets splitting the first 2. Georgia Tech enters the game having lost two in a row to their in-state rival, having last won back in 2016 in Sanford Stadium. Georgia holds the all-time series advantage against the Ramblin' Wreck at 67-41-5. Here's what to watch for against the Bulldogs as Tech hopes to end their 2019 season on a high note and possibly end Georgia's national championship aspirations:

Top Tier Defense

Not only do the Bulldogs have the best defense that Tech has faced all season, they have one of the best defense in all of college football. They allow only 267.8 yards per game, which is best in the SEC and 5th in the nation. Points are most certainly at a premium, as they are allowing only 10.7 points a game, second in the nation only to Ohio State (10.5).

The Bulldogs defense does not seem to feature many weaknesses, as they are able to excel at all levels of the football field. Linebacker Monty Rice has been monstrous against the run this season, racking up a team leading 71 tackles. Safety JR Reed has also been great in coverage, being named a finalist for the prestigious Jim Thorpe Award. Finally, outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari has been living in the backfield, leading the SEC in quarterback hurries with 33 with 4.5 sacks to boot.

Where they really excel on the defensive side of the ball is stopping the run. They have allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns in all of FBS (1), and opposing teams have only averaged 68.5 rushing yards against them. That mark is second only to Utah's 55.9 rushing yards allowed per game.

Workhorse Runners

On the other side of the ball, Georgia has established itself as a run first team, with over 100 more rushing attempts than passing attempts. The bulk of that load comes from running back duo junior D'Andre Swift and senior Brian Herrien.

Swift gets the majority of the workload, rushing for 1,130 yards and 7 touchdowns on just 183 attempts. That puts him at an impressive 6.2 yards per carry, good for 4th in the SEC and 19th overall. Herrien provides a solid backup role, amassing almost as many scores as Swift (5) while still averaging 4.8 yards per carry on 87 attempts.

Combined, the duo accounts for 71.1% of Georgia's rushing total, and 12 of their 18 rushing touchdowns

Fromm Deep?

Under center, the Bulldogs are led by third-year starter Jake Fromm. Starting in all 11 games this season for Georgia, he has thrown for 2,131 yards, 17 touchdowns and only 3 picks. UGA has not been as prolific throwing the ball as they have running it, as their overage passing yardage ranks just 81st in the nation. On top of that, they tend to not favor the deep ball, as they average just 11.89 yards per completion.

Fromm does a good job evenly distributing the ball, with 9 players hauling in double digit passes. Wide receivers Lawrence Cager and George Pickens have emerged as Fromm's favorite targets, but neither has emerged as the go-to weapon in the receiving game as both have under 500 receiving yards. In fact, they are the only 2 receivers that average 40+ yards a game, and only 4 total receivers average 20 a game.

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Comments (1)
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Matthew McGavic
Matthew McGavic

Editor

How do you think GT will fare against Georgia?