Georgia Tech vs. Duke prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils on Saturday in Atlanta, GA.
Georgia Tech vs. Duke Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – Noon ET
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Yellow Jackets (4-3, 1-3 ACC) enjoyed a bye last week following their 35-24 win over Georgia Southern. In the contest between spread-option offenses, quarterback Justin Thomas ran for two touchdowns and passed for another, and it’s no secret that this offense is at its best when Thomas is efficient and turnover-free. He had a season-high 172 passing yards and 78 on the ground, and the GT offense gained 437 total yards with three plays of at least 50 yards.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils (3-4, 0-3) also enjoyed an off week following their strong effort at Louisville, which had to hold off Duke late in a 24-14 final. David Cutcliffe’s squad remained winless in ACC play but gave The ‘Ville fits in the process.
In last year’s contest between the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils in Durham, the GT option offense couldn’t get anything going, and Shaquille Powell ran for three touchdowns in a 34-20 Duke victory.
What To Know About Georgia Tech
In the win over the Eagles, Georgia Tech ended a three-game losing streak by starting fast. A 58-yard touchdown run by Thomas and a 65-yard scoring pass from Thomas to Clinton Lynch gave GT a 14-0 lead. A 50-yard run by Marcus Marshall then set up Dedrick Mills’ 6-yard scoring run for a 21-7 lead late in the first quarter. The Jackets were solid on both sides of the ball, and it was a nice bounce back effort following the team’s last-second loss at Pittsburgh. Thomas didn’t turn the ball over, and that is always huge for an offense that has had its share of highs and lows.
What to Know About Duke
The Blue Devils did not seem intimidated by the Cards their last time out. Daniel Jones was 14-of-21 passing for 129 yards, and the dual-threat gives the team hope at the quarterback position this year and beyond. Running back Jela Duncan returned from a leg injury to chip in 44 yards on 12 carries. But they managed just two scoring drives despite controlling the clock and committed a costly penalty that could have provided a final chance to win. Overall, Jones has stepped in nicely for the injured Thomas Sirk, who was lost for the season due to another injury before the year began. For someone who was pressed into action, Jones has played well. But he does need to better protect the football. Defensively, the Blue Devils’ front is improved from last season, so that has been a nice development for Jim Knowles and that unit.
Offense: Even. Neither unit is outstanding, and both have battled inconsistency.
Defense: Even. Both units have similar numbers against the run and the pass. In terms of total defense, these are Top 40 teams.
Special Teams: Duke. Shaun Wilson returned a kick 96 yards for a score in the upset win over Notre Dame earlier in the year.
Coaching: Even. Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson has taken the program to two Orange Bowls, while Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is doing a marvelous job in Durham.
Intangibles: Even. Both teams are coming off of byes, and both have had inconsistent seasons.
Matchup To Watch
Wilson vs. Georgia Tech kick coverage team
DeVon Edwards returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score in last year’s contest, but the defensive back had season-ending surgery after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee against Notre Dame. On the first kickoff after Edwards went down, Wilson returned the kick 96 yards for a touchdown, which was the first score of the Blue Devils’ 38-35 upset win over the Irish. Edwards finished his career with six kickoff return touchdowns, so his injury was a huge blow. But the emergence of Wilson has offset that loss a bit. His return ability could be an X-Factor for the Blue Devils this week.
Spread: Georgia Tech -6
Georgia Tech vs. Duke Prediction
The Yellow Jackets’ option offense was not effective in last year’s contest against the Blue Devils, as GT was held to 173 yards on 60 carries for a mere 2.9 yards per rush. The Duke defensive front is improved, so the test will be tougher this time around. I think Johnson and his staff make some adjustments and the GT offense has better success on the ground. But it will still be a struggle. This game goes down to the wire, but one big run by Thomas sets up the Jackets for an eventual game-winning field goal.
Georgia Tech vs. Duke Score Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Duke 24