This will be the only post I plan to do this week, so I am making it count. Here is something long to read while you await Turkey Day.
This year, I haven’t gotten to watch as much of Georgia Tech as it seems like I normally do, so I’m having to rely a lot on the stats on paper.
Don’t get me wrong…that isn’t a bad thing. I love watching other non-UGA teams play for just the pure enjoyment of the game. But the brand of football Tech plays is just not compelling to me. Maybe my grandparents, but not me.
That brand of football is going to run it, run it, and run it some more. I clearly don’t mind running the ball, but not like Tech does with that gimmick offense. Much like Auburn, Tech is only going to throw the ball downfield as an element of surprise to get the big play. Not surprisingly, Georgia Tech has the fewest pass attempts of any team in the ACC…only 161. In Tech’s first two series of the game last year that resulted in touchdowns, Vad Lee completed passes of 68 and 43 yards to set up scores-both on 3rd down by the way.
Quarterback Justin Thomas has only completed 52% of his passes, but Tech as 2 passes for 70+ yards, 4 for 60+, 6 for 50+and 8 of 40+. They are going to take some shots, and they are going to hit a few.
What gets Tech in trouble is when Paul Johnson gets too cute and decides to throw it more than they should. Tech isn’t going to beat you exclusively throwing the ball, but they will hit a few shots downfield. It is going to happen.
One thing Tech and Justin Thomas have improved on this year is the TD/INT ratio. Last season, Vad Lee had 11 touchdowns and 10 picks. This year, Thomas has 15 TDs and only 4 passes thrown to the other team.
Defensively, Tech hasn’t improved much from a year ago, when they weren’t terrible but weren’t great, either. By Ted Roof standards, I’d say they are doing pretty damn good, actually.
Pass defense has improved slightly from last year, but Tech’s rushing defense has gotten worse from a year ago, 165 yards per game in 2014 compared to 115 last year.
Scoring defense is about the same.
Not only is Thomas showing improvement in the passing game, he is also the team’s leading rusher.
I think it is safe to say the play of Justin Thomas is the biggest reason that Georgia Tech has been having a better season.
Auburn runs a variation of the triple option, and does not like throwing the ball. Yet Auburn has thrown it more than 100 times more than Tech.
Unlike Auburn, who primarily will throw it on 2nd down, there is no rhyme or reason to when Tech throws it.
Of their 161 pass attempts, 55 have come on 1st down, 49 on 2nd down, 53 on 3rd down, and 4 on 4th down.
While previewing the Auburn game, I said the following:
Georgia needs to focus on Auburn’s running game and play disciplined, assignment football. Just like they do against Georgia Tech.
In the years Malzahn has been associated with Auburn-2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013-let’s take a look on how Georgia has also done against Tech.
2009-Auburn: 24 points; Tech: 24 points
2010-Auburn 49 points; Tech 34 points
2011: Auburn 7 points; Tech 17 points
2013: Auburn 43 points; Tech 34 points (2OT)
While different, the basic principles of what Auburn and Tech do are similar. The key is to play disciplined, assignment football. Georgia did so against Auburn, and held them to just 7 points this year. The same needs to hold true for Tech Saturday.
Two things that are a pause for concern:
- Stopping the dive play. That is going to be Tech’s bread and butter. Everything they do is predicated off that success. We can contain their outside attack, but we have got to stop the dive option. Georgia is weakest up the middle. Think the Florida game. Georgia has the speed and athleticism to contain the edge runs; they need to be strong up the middle to stop the dive.
- Jeremy Pruitt was familiar with Auburn from his time associated with Alabama and coaching against them in the National Championship game. Tech does present a unique scheme that isn’t seen often. When a coordinator goes against Tech the first time, there is some challenge, then improvement the following year. In 2008, Tech put up 45 points against Willie the first time; the next year they were held to 24. In 2010, Tech put up 34 against Grantham the first time, then were held to 17 the next game. FSU didn’t play Tech last year…what kind of challenge will Pruitt face in his first time against Tech?
The last three games, the margin of victory for Georgia was 17 points, 32 points and 7 points. However, after Tech got up 20 last year, Georgia outscored them 41-14 the rest of the way. A lot of last year can be attributed to gitters from Mason in his first start.
I thought before the season that Paul Johnson needed a good season to keep out of trouble with the Tech fans (sic). After struggling early in the year to beat Georgia Southern and Virginia Tech, then losing two straight to Duke and UNC, they have rebounded to beat Pitt, Virginia, NC State and Clemson convincingly. Though they only play in the ACC, Tech and Paul Johnson deserve credit for a job well done this year. A nine or ten win season is something really good for Tech. Georgia fans have bigger aspirations than just another 10-2 year. I think GA Tech people would be estatic with that.
With that said, the only close games Georgia have been in were the loss to South Carolina and the win against Tennessee. All the other wins have been rather convincing, and even the Florida game was a convincing loss.
Georgia is just too good this year. Chubb, Michel, and efficient play by Mason will be too much for Tech to handle.
Georgia is 7-4 ATS this season. As a double digit favorite (counting Clemson -9.5 in this), Georgia is 4-2 ATS. That is exceptionally good for Georgia teams.
There is some concern that the outcome of Friday’s Missouri-Arkansas game might take the focus away from Tech. Mark Richt and the coaches know the importance of this game.
Two touchdown favorites rarely lose outright, and even less so at home. Georgia is going to win this game, and I think they are going to cover the -13.
Dawgs win and will win big. 45-17!