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The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will make the trip up north to be the Virginia Cavaliers' homecoming opponent in an ACC Coastal division clash on Saturday. Georgia Tech (1-4 ACC) has struggled all season, but the Yellow Jackets have a chance to play spoiler as they did last year when they defeated the Cavaliers (4-2) 30-27 in overtime in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech has won seven of the last 10 meetings with Virginia to give them a 21-19-1 edge in the all-time series. However, the Cavaliers have won the previous two games at Scott Stadium and 11 of the last 13 meetings there. Overall, the home team is 29-11-1 in the series.
Where's the offense?In their first game since stunning the Miami Hurricanes in overtime two weeks ago where the Yellow Jackets ran for a season-high 207 yards, Georgia Tech managed just 194 yards of total offense in its 20-10 home loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. That does not mean that the Yellow Jackets didn't have chances to pull off another upset because they did. However, the Jackets only converted one of the Panthers three first-half turnovers into points and as a result, trailed 17-7 at halftime. After being forced to punt on its opening second-half possession, Georgia Tech offense got a break as Jerry Howard Jr. blocked Pitt's punt to set the Yellow Jackets up at the Panthers 12-yard line.
Despite the excellent field position, Georgia Tech had to settle for a 30-yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-10. Then on the very next offensive possession, the Jackets drove down to the four-yard line, but quarterback Lucas Johnson lost a fumble just inches short of the goal line, and Pitt recovered it and returned the ball to the Georgia Tech 21 yard line. Johnson departed from the game early with a shoulder injury and is questionable for the contest against Virginia.
Georgia Tech is averaging 17.1 points and 299.5 total yards offense a game with 141.0 yards coming through the air. The Yellow Jackets average 158.5 yards on the ground and have committed 14 turnovers. Freshman dual-threat quarterback James Graham (53-for-122, 723 passing yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions) leads the offense, although he is coming off a disastrous performance against Pitt where he completed just three of 13 passes for 57 yards along with one touchdown and an interception. Jordan Mason, who has hit the 100-yard plateau in two of the last three games, leads the ground attack with 622 yards on 110 carries along with six touchdowns. Wide receiver Ahmareen Brown (15 receptions for 302 yards) has reached the endzone in three of the last four games.
Defensively, Georgia Tech has allowed 29.1 points and 405.5 yards a game this year. The Yellow Jackets are allowing 217.9 yards on the ground and 187.9 yards through the air. The defense has forced 12 turnovers, including seven interceptions.
Virginia still controls Coastal divisionVirginia snapped a four-game road losing streak with a critical 38-31 victory over UNC in Chapel Hill on Saturday. With the win, Virginia became bowl eligible for the third straight year and remained ahead of Pitt (3-2) in the race to the ACC Coastal division title. The Cavaliers technically own a one and one-half game lead over the Panthers as they defeated them 30-14 earlier in the season.
The first half of the game against the Tar Heels went back-and-forth as there were three lead changes and two ties as the teams went into halftime knotted at 17. But Virginia opened the second half with the ball and on the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Bryce Perkins gave the Cavaliers the lead for good as he scrambled through the Tar Heels defense for a 65-yard touchdown. Virginia also scored touchdowns on its second and third possessions of the half to increase its lead to 38-17. Perkins finished the game setting career-highs with 490 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. He completed 30 of 39 passes for 378 yards along with three touchdowns and added 112 yards on 24 carries as well as a pair of scores. Terrell Jana also had a career-day hauling in 13 passes for 146 yards. Meanwhile, Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois caught six passes apiece. Virginia's defense surrendered a season-high 539 yards of offense to the Tar Heels as quarterback Sam Howell shredded the Cavaliers secondary to a tune of 353 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Virginia is averaging 30.8 points and 364.4 yards a game with 257.4 yards coming through the air and 108.7 yards on the ground. The Cavaliers have turned the ball over 16 times, including 10 interceptions. Perkins (203 of 315 for 2,181.4 yards, 12 TDs, eight INTs) is the offensive catalyst for the Cavaliers as he also leads the team in rushing with 387 yards along with seven touchdowns on 143 carries. Perkins has a lot of weapons to throw to. Reed (56 for 503 yards, four TDs), Dubois (49 for 679, 3 TDs), and Jana (44 yards for 478 yards) lead six players with at least 10 receptions. Sophomore Wayne Taulapapa (87 carries for 367 yards, nine touchdowns) doesn't get a lot carries, but he produces when he gets the opportunity to carry the ball.
Virginia is holding opponents to 21.8 points and 310.1 yards a game. The defense is giving up 120.6 yards a game on the ground and 189.9 yards through the air. The Cavaliers also have recorded 34 sacks and forced 10 turnovers.
The following trends are courtesy of Covers.com:
- Home team is 16-4-1 ATS in their last 21 meetings.
- Cavaliers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 home games
- Cavaliers are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games on grass.
- Yellow Jackets are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Virginia.
- Yellow Jackets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in November.
- Yellow Jackets are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
- Yellow Jackets are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games on grass.
- Yellow Jackets are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Yellow Jackets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 conference games.
- Yellow Jackets are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- Yellow Jackets are 1-10-1 ATS in their last 12 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Yellow Jackets are 0-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This matchup features two teams that like to run the ball. The difference is that Virginia does a lot better job at stopping its opponents than the Rambling Wreck. The Cavaliers have rushed for over 130 yards in two of the last three games and totaled nine touchdowns on the ground during this three-game stretch. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets have had trouble stopping the run all season, permitting 150 or more yards a game in six straight contests. I expect Perkins, who racked up 290 yards (73 rushing yards) of total offense last year against Georgia Tech, to have a big day once again. Plus, Virginia's defense -- particularly the Cavs' linebackers-- should be able to get penetration into the Georgia Tech's backfield. Georgia Tech's opponents have accumulated at least six tackles for loss and two sacks in each of the eight games. In the same token, Virginia Tech's defense is producing nearly four sacks and eight tackles for losses a game.
Prediction: Virginia -15
Full-Game Total Pick
The 45 point total seems to be perhaps a little high for this game. But Virginia's defense has not been consistent enough to trust to go with the under. Additionally, all four of the Cavaliers home games and seven of their nine games overall, this year, have seen more than 45 total points. In the same breath, three of the Yellow Jackets' four away games in 2019 also has seen over 45 points put upon the scoreboard.
Overall, the over is 6-1-1 in Yellow Jackets' last eight road games. And the over total has hit in each of the Cavaliers last four November contests.
Prediction: Over 45