Kickoff: Saturday, November 26th in Athens, GA at Sanford Stadium
When: 12:00 pm EST
How to Watch: ESPN
Public Bets: Georgia Tech, 56%
Public Money: Georgia Tech, 57%
All odds Courtesy of DraftKings, as of 11/25
Clean, Old-fashioned Hate. That’s what the rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech embodies.
But since 2001, this rivalry has been dominated by Georgia, who has gone 17-3 against the Jackets in that stretch. Visions of Alec Ogletree suplexing Tech’s running back, Reggie Ball throwing it away on 4th and 21, and George Pickens punching Tre Swilling come to mind. To Georgia fans, Tech is the pesky little brother who doesn’t matter.
Losing would be sheer embarrassment, and the 30+ point line on the game proves it. Despite upsetting UNC last week, Tech is expected to get wrecked by the Dawgs again this year. Perhaps getting outscored 180-35 in their last 4 meetings has made Vegas expect more of the same.
Tech’s season has been up and down. After struggling to a 1-3 start, the Jackets fired head coach Geoff Collins. Insert Brent Key, who won his first two games, and then helped pull of last week’s upset. Key has reinvigorated a sad program in his first year. He would be considered a miracle-worker if he were to upset the Dawgs this week. It’s improbable, but not unthinkable. Tech’s last 3 wins against Georgia all have been in Athens rather than Atlanta. Tech has to hope to catch the Dawgs looking ahead at LSU in the SEC Championship instead of winning the Governor’s Cup against their in-state rivals.
Tech’s win last week was truly baffling. They just got waxed by a hapless Miami team, and have lost to VT and Virginia, neither of which are particularly threatening programs right now.
Key is down to his third string quarterback in Zach Gibson. Gibson managed to 174 yards last week against UNC on 13-18 passing. He doesn’t provide much of a threat in the passing game, and Key must consider him a bit of a liability given that he called several running plays on 3rd and long while losing last week. Gibson split snaps with Taisun Phomachanh against UNC, who didn’t last long after throwing an interception. Phomachanh was used in red zone situations to run the ball.
Hassan Hall is the main person to haul the rock for the Jackets. He averages 4.5 YPC, but only has one touchdown on the season. Dontae Smith is their other option at RB, and he has the majority of their rushing touchdowns. Nate McCollum leads the team in receiving with 54 catches and 590 yards. The talent really isn’t there on offense for Tech, who is 122nd in scoring offense in the nation. Last week, 152 of their 174 passing yards came after the catch. In other words, they basically threw screens and handed the ball off on offense.
Defensively, Tech was able to disrupt UNC last week with their defensive line disrupting the passing game. They are led by Keion White, a defensive lineman who has 7.5 sacks on the season. Linebacker Ayinde Eley leads the team in tackles on the year and has 3.5 sacks of his own. Tech is 47th in the nation in points against, but they are one of the worst teams in the country at stopping the run. Their linebackers aren’t athletic enough to keep up with Georgia’s tight ends and running backs. Their d line is going to have to really set the line of scrimmage with White’s help to have any chance at stopping Georgia.
Georgia is coming off of a low-scoring effort against Kentucky. There is reason to believe that Georgia will not take this game particularly seriously with LSU on the horizon. However, here is the reason why Georgia may still be up for this game, maybe even enough to cover the 35 point spread.
It’s senior day. While there are not a ton of seniors on the team, Stetson Bennett will be teeing it up between the hedges for the final time in his career. He will be motivated to have a great day. RB Kenny McIntosh is in his final year with the Dawgs as well, and will look to make an impact. Plus there are a handful of juniors that likely will declare for the draft, like DL Jalen Carter, LT Broderick Jones, CB Kelee Ringo, and more.
These players will want to go out with a big performance in front of Dawg Nation. Plus Kirby has plenty of reason to want to thump another rival. In an ideal world, Georgia pulls Stetson and the starters early in the 3rd quarter while they are 4 scores in the lead. Perhaps Brock Bowers takes a slant to the house much like last season.
Georgia likely will be missing AD Mitchell this week. Hopefully, he can return before the playoff.
The Georgia offense will look to get on track this week, but it likely will come through the ground more than in the passing game. The Georgia defense is set up to frustrate Tech’s offense, which has shown little to no downfield threat. Tech will need to take some deep shots and hit them or draw penalties to keep the safeties of Georgia from crashing down on the screens and running game.
Kirby will want to let the senior players get theirs in this game. He’ll want to give Stetson his moment to make a big play or two. However, if the weather is bad, Kirby will play things safe and run the ball relentlessly. Heck, he may do that anyway since Tech can’t stop the run. I’m hoping to see Carson Beck sling it, and some back up defenders get some much needed experience in this one. I think the Dawg defense shuts down Tech’s offense almost entirely. UGA’s offense keeps it vanilla after a couple of quarters. Dawgs win, but it isn’t as clean as fans would like, and they don’t cover.
Georgia 31 - Georgia Tech 6