Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Southern prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Yellow Jackets and Eagles on Saturday in Atlanta, GA.
Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Southern Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Yellow Jackets (3-3, 1-3 ACC) are coming off of a 37-34 loss to Pitt, which used two late scores to slip by Paul Johnson’s bunch. GT dropped its third straight overall and sixth straight true road game dating back to 2014. The Jackets are in midst of a rough stretch right now, so a non-conference game against a Sun Belt squad may be what the doctor ordered. However, their opponent this week is an in-state foe whose offense features one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
Meanwhile, the Eagles (3-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) are coming off of a really tough loss to Arkansas State last Wednesday night despite forcing five turnovers. Georgia Southern scored on its first two possessions of the second half to take a 23-10 lead, but the Eagles were held to just three fourth-quarter points in a 27-26 loss.
Johnson, who has taken the Jackets to bowl games in each of his seasons in Atlanta except for 2015, led Georgia Southern to a pair of FCS titles in 1999-2000.
What To Know About Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets put up a much better showing against Pitt than they did the previous couple of weeks in home losses to Clemson and Miami, but the defense still struggled and ultimately wilted. Dreams of a Coastal division title are slim to none with three conference losses, so now Johnson and his staff need to ensure that the team at least becomes eligible for the postseason. Freshman Dedrick Mills has been a productive back in the Yellow Jackets’ spread option offense, and quarterback Justin Thomas bounced back last week after a couple of rough outings. But the veteran signal-caller must play his best football down the stretch, because this young offense needs a strong leader in the huddle right now during this skid.
What to Know About Georgia Southern
The Eagles are in their first season under head coach Tyson Summers, who worked for the program in 2006. He returned to Georgia Southern from Colorado State, where he served as the Rams’ defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 2015. The Rams defense ranked No. 20 in the country in passing defense last year, and he also oversaw solid defenses as coordinator for three seasons at UCF. Offensively, the Eagles love to run the football, as they have 298 carries for 1,433 yards and 13 scores as a team. At least five rushers have 33 attempts, including quarterbacks Favian Upshaw and Kevin Ellison.
Offense: Georgia Southern. The Yellow Jackets’ rushing offense is No. 26 in the FBS at 229.2 yards per game, but the Eagles are averaging 286.6 yards per contest, which is good for No. 6 in the country.
Defense: Even. Both squads have very good rushing defenses, and that’s important considering the opposing offenses want to run the football all day long.
Special Teams: Georgia Tech. Junior J.J. Green, a transfer from Georgia, recorded the first touchdown of his Georgia Tech career on a 96-yard kickoff return last week against Pitt. It was Tech’s first return for a score since 2012 and the eighth-longest in program history.
Coaching: Georgia Tech. Johnson has ruffled some feathers around the Atlanta program for speaking out on a variety of issues, but he has taken the Yellow Jackets to two Orange Bowls.
Intangibles: Georgia Southern. The Eagles are playing an in-state foe from a Power Five league. There is nothing to lose.
Matchup To Watch
Ground game vs. Ground game
Both teams want to run the football down each other’s throats. The Eagles have been doing so a little more effectively this season after leading the nation in rushing from 2014-15 under previous head coach Willie Fritz. Summers and his staff are trying to make the passing game a more effective part of the game plan, but Wesley Fields, Matt Breida and the quarterback tandem of Upshaw and Ellison will still be the focal point. Meanwhile, GT’s offense has been productive, but it still appears to be a shell of its former self. It hasn’t been nearly as explosive as in the early years of the Johnson era. Can Thomas and Mills spark a second-half revival?
Spread: Georgia Tech -10.5
Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Southern Prediction
Since 1997, Georgia Tech is 11-3 in games when it has lost its previous three contests. That sounds very Vegas-centric (and I’m certainly no handicapper), but it’s hard to see the Yellow Jackets dropping four in a row. This should come down to the wire, though, as both teams have the ability to gain big chunks of yards on the ground. It comes down to the wire, but GT scores on its last possession and gets one late defensive stand to eek out a win.
Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Southern Score Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Georgia Southern 24