UNC vs. Georgia Tech prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Tar Heels and Yellow Jackets on Saturday in Chapel Hill, NC.
UNC vs. Georgia Tech Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 12:30 p.m. ET
Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
The Tar Heels (6-2, 4-1 ACC) were off last week following their 35-14 win over Virginia in Charlottesville. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw three touchdown passes and the defense played very well to help UNC to its seventh victory in a row in the series.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets (5-3, 2-3) received a huge game from quarterback Justin Thomas, who ran and threw for a combined 459 yards and four touchdowns to beat Duke 38-35 last week in Atlanta. GT held on after blowing a three-touchdown lead.
In last year’s meeting in Atlanta, Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams caught a 37-yard touchdown pass on a trick play to cap a comeback from a three-touchdown deficit, leading the Tar Heels to a 38-31 win. UNC fell behind 21-0, but two touchdowns in the final 90 seconds of the first half spurred a run in which the Tar Heels outscored the Yellow Jackets 38-10.
What To Know About UNC
The Tar Heels are looking to win their third straight game in this series and stay on pace with Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal division. However, the Hokies beat UNC three weeks ago, so they hold the tiebreaker. Running back Elijah Hood, who ran for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Cavaliers, should find a little resistance from a GT rush defense that is ranked No. 57 in the country. But he is healthy, and he needs to be a big part of this offense even with the productive ways of Trubisky and the passing attack. Meanwhile, the UNC defense isn’t special, but it’s serviceable. The offense needs to help out Gene Chizik’s unit by not turning the football over and putting it in tough spots. We’ll see this week if the Tar Heels can remain disciplined in their assignments against the GT option attack.
What to Know About Georgia Tech
Thomas ran for a career-high 195 yards with two touchdowns and threw for 264 yards and two scores in the win over the Blue Devils. He became the first Georgia Tech player with 400 yards of total offense since George Godsey’s school-record 477 yards against Virginia in 2001. When Thomas is efficient and turnover-free, this offense is fun to watch. The Jackets have won two in a row following the team’s last-second loss at Pittsburgh (which extended a losing streak to three), and the offense is clicking now after enduring its share of highs and lows.
Offense: UNC. The Tar Heels have more offensive balance and possess a stronger passing attack, but do not sleep on GT’s option game—especially when it is turnover-free.
Defense: Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have been stingier than the Tar Heels against the run this year.
Special Teams: Ryan Switzer has over 1,000 punt return yards in his career at Carolina, making him the first to do so in Chapel Hill.
Coaching: Even. Larry Fedora is going to be in play for head-coaching vacancies at bigger jobs, while Paul Johnson is about as solid as they come.
Intangibles: Even. GT is playing good football, while UNC had an extra week to prepare for the Yellow Jackets’ option attack.
Matchup To Watch
GT rush offense vs. UNC defensive front
GT out-rushed UNC 249 to 231 in last year’s meeting, but UNC was much more productive because its yardage total came on 28 less rushing attempts. Thomas ran for 56 yards and two touchdowns, but UNC’s defense stopped a fourth-down run by him at the Tar Heels’ goal line early in the fourth quarter. Chizik’s defense must contain this offensive attack, because it’s dangerous when it’s clicking on all cylinders.
Spread: UNC -11
Over/Under: No Line (as of post)
UNC vs. Georgia Tech Prediction
UNC is going to be hot on the heels (yes, pun intended) of Virginia Tech the rest of the season, as the offense is too potent and the defense is good enough. GT will spring some explosive plays, but too much Trubisky and Hood will do in the Jackets this week.
UNC vs. Georgia Tech Score Prediction: UNC 38, Georgia Tech 27