Can the offense keep it floored?
Duke coach David Cutcliffe marveled this week at the efficiency of Georgia Tech’s offense, calling it one of the hottest offenses in the country. Tech will likely stick with its quarterback rotation, playing Tevin Washington for two series, then backup Vad Lee for two and then going from there. Last Saturday, the Jackets blocked well, made a number of standout individual plays, had great performance by the A-backs and performed with energy and focus. Consistency, so elusive this season, is the goal.
Which defense will Duke see?
Last Saturday’s game against North Carolina’s fast-break offense was something of a referendum for the Tech defense – were the improvements shown against Boston College and Maryland real or more a reflection on the opponents’ tepid offenses? The defense gave two answers. The first half and the first play of the second half (36 points and 382 yards allowed) and the rest of the game (seven points, not including a touchdown scored by UNC’s defense, and 115 yards). Duke, which runs a high-tempo offense like the Tar Heels’ and has an effective operator in quarterback Sean Renfree, will test Tech again
What’s the Miami score?
Should the Jackets prevail, there will be keen interest in Miami’s game against South Florida, which kicks off at 3 p.m. and will be televised on regional sports networks, including Fox Sports South in the Atlanta market. A win over the Bulls will make the Hurricanes bowl eligible, which is the trigger for the school’s announcement on a possible self-imposed postseason ban as it faces NCAA sanctions. A Tech win and the bowl ban, which could come as early as Sunday, send the Jackets to the ACC championship game.
A Georgia Tech win would …
Give Tech at least a share of the ACC Coastal title, earn bowl eligibility for the 16th year in a row and avoid the Jackets’ first losing home record since 1994.
A Duke win would …
Be the Blue Devils’ first over the Jackets since 2003 and first in Atlanta since 1994.
Matchup to watch
Duke offensive line vs. Georgia Tech blitz package
Tech’s pass rush has been inconsistent, and some would call that gracious. Duke has been solid in pass protection, allowing one sack per 28.8 pass attempts and giving Renfree time to complete 67.3 percent of his passes. The Jackets’ job will be winning first down and forcing hurried throws. The latter will require pass rushers like defensive end Izaan Cross and linebackers Jeremiah Attaochu, Quayshawn Nealy and Brandon Watts to come free quickly enough to challenge Renfree.
Series record: Tech leads 48-30-1
Last meeting: A week after getting knocked out of the Coastal Division race by Virginia Tech, Tech shook free of a tenacious Duke team with a 38-31 win in Durham, N.C. The Jackets took four different 14-point leads, but Duke had the ball on its 34-yard line with 3:44 remaining and a chance to tie. A Jemea Thomas interception ended the rally.
Tweets of the week
“#GTDU12 I hope UM follows 1995 Duke’s example. They felt so bad about the Barry Wilson years they self-imposed an 18-year bowl ban.”
Zachary Picklesimer, Tech grad
“ridiculous that we even have a chance to still make ACCCG. But who cares!? #GoJackets”
Reed Gardner, Tech student