Georgia Bulldogs (6-5, 3-7 ATS) at No. 7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-1, 7-3 ATS) Bobby Dodd Stadium, NFL Week 12, Saturday November 28th, 8:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Georgia +7/Georgia Tech -7
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The no. 7 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have already held off extremely tough challenges from Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina and others this season locking up a trip to Tampa to play in the ACC Championship. However, the Yellow Jackets will participate in their state championship this weekend when they host the Georgia Bulldogs in an annual rivalry battle for the Governor’s Cup. The Bulldogs have fell apart from promising expectations earlier in the year and have the likely possibility of falling to the .500 mark on the season if they were to lose to the Yellow Jackets this Saturday. The Bulldogs did capture a solid home win against Auburn last weekend 31-24, but they will face a much more difficult task this weekend as they take on the strong option style rushing offense from the Yellow Jackets.
The question is can Georgia stop the rushing attack from Georgia Tech. Nobody has been able to stop the Yellow Jackets ground attack all season so why should this week be any different. The Yellow Jackets posted a huge 409 yards on the ground in last year’s battle which resulted in Yellow Jackets upset 45-42 over the Bulldogs. However, Georgia Tech will be the favorites for this weekend’s collision. Georgia is 1-2 ATS this year in games as underdogs, but they will be looking to avoid what would be one of the worse seasons for the Bulldogs in over a decade if they were to fall to 6-6.
The problem that has emerged for Georgia over the latter part of the season is their inability to run the football. Georgia ranks next to last in the SEC averaging just 135 yards per game on the ground. However, if they are to score the upset this weekend they must focus solely on stopping the run rather than sparking their own rushing attack. Georgia Tech is averaging 314 yards per game on the ground strong enough for the nation’s 2nd best rushing attack. If Georgia does not stop the Yellow Jackets on the ground, their offense is not strong or consistent enough to move the chains to keep the Georgia Tech offense sidelines primarily due to their inability to run the football.
However, if they can get some defensive help they can turn to 5th year senior Joe Cox and the playmaker on the outside in wide receiver A.J. Green to make some big plays to help the cause. Cox has thrown 21 touchdowns on the season, but has thrown 14 picks as well. However, if he can get the ball in the hands of Green at least 8 times they may could spoil the Yellow Jackets senior night. Green is averaging 16 yards per catch with 751 yards and 6 scores on the season. Look for him to be the difference if the Bulldogs are to pull through this Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets just need to do what they do best. Keep the ball on the ground while working in a deep pass here and there while mainly keeping from turning over the ball. Running back Jonathan Dwyer is on track to go over the 1,300 yard mark for the 2nd straight season while carrying the ball for 6.6 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns this season. Of course QB Josh Nesbitt is the man in charge of leading that option attack. Nesbitt has also been solid with the ball in his hands rushing for 847 yards with an impressive 16 scores on the season. Another guy that also gets in the action, but does not get the attention is running back Anthony Allen. When Allen runs on the field, do not expect that he can not break open the play as good as any of the other backs as well.
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However, one key to the Yellow Jackets offense is their passing effectiveness. Sure, the numbers do not show it as Nesbitt only completes 46% for about 126 yards per game. However, since the offense keeps the ball on the ground about 90% of the team they have been extremely effective in hitting some homerun type connections down the field to WR Demaryius Thomas. Thomas has 950 yards on the season and has 8 catches for over 50 yards or more this season. If Georgia gets caught creeping in on the running game, Thomas could be poised for another big play in the passing game.
Jay’s Pick - Yellow Jackets run around, over, and through the Bulldogs while continuing to run all the way to Tampa to take down the ACC Crown.