No. 17 Virginia Tech looks for a much better experience on the road this week at Georgia Tech, considering last week’s visit to Miami resulted in a 28-10 defeat on the field and a travel nightmare after the game that delayed the Hokies’ arrival back home until Sunday afternoon. The scenario is less than ideal considering Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense that is third in the nation in rushing, but coach Justin Fuente said he is relying on his veterans to lead this week.
“As a head coach, you’ve got to weigh the good with the bad,” Fuente told reporters Monday after the Hokies – who were the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense entering last weekend – were gashed for 429 yards. “That’s what we have do all the time every single week, trying to figure out the best way to get your team knowing what to do and playing good.” Georgia Tech has not played well of late, dropping three of its past four, and must win two of its final three games in order to become bowl eligible. “That’s life,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson told reporters Tuesday. “If you don’t learn to deal with adversity, you’re not going to make it very far.” The Yellow Jackets blew a 15-point second-half lead in last week’s 40-36 loss at Virginia, rallying to take the lead with 3:10 remaining before giving up a 64-yard touchdown drive in just five plays.
TV: 12:20 p.m. ET, ACC Network. LINE: Virginia Tech -3
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (7-2, 3-2 ACC): Freshman quarterback Josh Jackson leads all FBS freshmen with 2,229 passing yards and 17 touchdowns – both school records for a freshman. The Hokies are tied for third in the ACC in scoring at 32.6 points per game and, despite last week’s struggles, continue leading the conference in points allowed per contest (13.3). Linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka has six career fumble recoveries and five career interceptions, leading a defense allowing just 300.6 yards per game.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (4-4, 3-3): Quarterback TaQuon Marshall completed just six passes last week but threw for 179 yards and added 143 rushing yards, and his 870 yards rushing ranks fourth all time among quarterbacks in school history in a single season. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 331.9 yards rushing per contest, but have surrendered 28.3 points per game in their past four contests. Linebacker Bruce Jordan-Swilling recorded a career-high 11 tackles with a forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception and defensive touchdown last week.
1. The road team has won the past four games in the series.
2. Virginia Tech’s two losses have come against No. 6 Miami and No. 4 Clemson, two schools that are a combined 16-1 this season.
3. Three of Georgia Tech’s four losses have come by a combined total of six points.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 37, Georgia Tech 28