Posted: 9:52 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013
By Joey Weaver
In his first three games of the season, Vad Lee has completed 7, 8, and 7 passes, respectively. Georgia Tech has thrown the ball sparingly, and many times reserved it for third-and-long or two-minute-drill types of situations. That said, the Hokies' defensive front is good enough that it would be extremely beneficial to throw the ball a few more times than we typically would have the past few weeks. My thought is that they're good enough that it will be important for the Jackets to use the passing game to back the linebackers and safeties away from the line as much as possible, because adding those players into the mix means our O-Line will probably struggle to open up solid holes and keep Vad in pass protection. I'm going to say we complete 9-10 of our 17-19 passes, and I'll take the over.
Over 8.5 Pass Completions for Georgia Tech
The past few years, Virginia Tech's defense has gotten better and better against the Tech rushing attack. After consistently falling between 300-350 yards in Coach Johnson's first 3 seasons, in 2011 Tech only managed 243 yards on the ground, and devolved further to only managing 192 rushing yards last season. However, there is reason to think that this year can be different. Last year, Tech was playing in its first game of the season with an offense that has traditionally taken a few weeks to ramp up, and playing on the road at that. Prior to that, Georgia Tech played a very out-of-sync game where 5 of 10 drives resulted in 1 first down or less. I don't see either of those issues showing up again, and I'd like to think it's going to be back to business as usual on Thursday.
Over 300 Yards Rushing for Georgia Tech
Logan Thomas was seen as a big-time NFL prospect prior to last year, and then in his last 17 games has failed to break 50% passing 6 times while hitting 60% only twice (most recently against Duke nearly a full calendar year ago). It's been a very strange turn of events for a guy who was seen as a potential Top-10 Draft pick. In 5 of his last 16 games, Thomas has broken 55%, although he also did it in the game prior to that stretch against your Yellow Jackets. This season, Thomas is passing for 48%, including a 5-26 (19.2%) performance against Alabama. I don't care who you're playing -- if you're a competent QB, you can do better than that. I'm going under here.
Under 55% Passing for Logan Thomas
Note that this is different than the past couple of weeks in that we're not talking about turnover margin, but simply turnovers. Thus far, the Yellow Jackets have been intercepted once and have lost one fumble, for a total of only 2 turnovers. Is it possible that they could match that in 60 minutes against the Hokies? On the flip side of things, the Hokies' defense has forced 10 turnovers this season, although 9 have come in the form of interceptions. Their secondary is a very opportunistic group that isn't afraid to play the ball instead of the receiver. I can see Vad Lee getting picked off once in this game, and I can also see our offense resulting in one fumble lost. I'll take the over.
Over 1.5 Turnovers for Georgia Tech's Offense
In a typical year, this is free money. Of course Virginia Tech as a team is going to rush for 165 yards in every game -- that's their modus operandi. This year though, not so much. In 4 games, the Hokies have broken 165 yards on the ground twice, and are averaging 161 per game over that stretch. In fact, last year they only averaged 145 yards per game on the ground, a clear deviation from their historic identity. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech's defense is yet to play a team that tends towards the rushing attack, and have not allowed more than 132 in any game so far. In fact, the biggest rushing threat so far has been North Carolina, and they only just managed to break 100 yards rushing. The Hokie offense is out of sync this year, and the focus here will be to stop the run and force Logan Thomas into passing situations.
Under 165 Rushing Yards for Virginia Tech's Offense
This is a tough one. We know so little about both teams, with Georgia Tech not having a true test to compare to, while Virginia Tech has played two-time defending national champs Alabama and three second-rate teams. On one hand, these games always stay close, but on the other hand I'm not sure that the Hokies can break 13 points with the way their offense has been playing. Then consider their recent defensive success against Georgia Tech and in general (nobody has managed 3 yards per carry yet this year), and I just have no idea what we're going to see. This game has low-scoring written on it for me, and while I see the Yellow Jackets winning, I'm not confident enough to guarantee that it'll be by a full touchdown or more. That said, I'm going to go against my gut and say that Tech wins over VPI with a score of 21-13.
Over 7.5-Point Margin of Victory
|Dive Keep and Pitch||16||2||88.9%||GTJonny||8||4||66.7%|
|Atlanta's original team||8||4||66.7%||tdot6||0||1||0.0%|
It's your turn, readers. Take your picks!