After stumbling through three losses in a four-game span, Georgia Tech looks to build off last week’s upset of Virginia Tech and replicate last season’s strong finishing kick when it travels to Duke on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets closed 2016 on a four-game winning streak, and a victory over the Blue Devils would make Georgia Tech bowl eligible for the 20th time in the past 21 seasons, with a home game against No. 7 Georgia looming next weekend.
“They showed resiliency at the end,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson told reporters Tuesday, discussing how his team rallied to knock off the Hokies 28-22. ”Played through some adversity and found a way to win the game.” The Blue Devils, who need victories in both of their final regular-season contests to reach bowl eligibility, have dropped six games in a row after losing 21-16 at Army last week. Duke did hold Army’s triple-option rushing attack to a season-low 226 yards, and will face a similar look this week from a Georgia Tech squad ranked fourth in the nation in rushing. “We’re going to run to it,” Duke quarterback Daniel Wilson told reporters after the loss. “We still have an opportunity to finish strong.”
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, RSN. LINE: Georgia Tech -6.5
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (5-4, 4-3 ACC): The Yellow Jackets average 324 rushing yards per contest, but quarterback TaQuon Marshall came through on both of his completion attempts last week – touchdown passes of 60 and 80 yards. Marshall leads the team in rushing (934 yards) and touchdowns (16), while KirVonte Benson has rushed for 930 yards and averages 103.3 yards per game. Linebacker Brant Mitchell earned ACC Co-Linebacker of the Week honors after recording nine tackles against the Hokies.
ABOUT DUKE (4-6, 1-5 ): The Blue Devils are fourth in the ACC and 25th nationally in total defense (333 yards per game), led by linebacker Joe Giles-Harris (14 tackles for loss) and safety Jeremy McDuffie (56 tackles, three interceptions). Wide receiver T.J. Rahming has surpassed 40 receptions and 500 receiving yards for the third consecutive season, and is 68 yards shy of 2,000 career yards. Duke, which started the season 4-0, is averaging 12.2 points per game during its losing streak.
1. Duke has returned a school-record four interceptions for touchdowns this season.
2. Georgia Tech has allowed the game-winning points in the final 82 seconds of regulation or overtime in three of its four losses.
3. The Yellow Jackets snapped a two-game losing streak in the series with last year’s 38-35 victory.
PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 27, Duke 17