No. 16 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0, 0-0 ATS) at Kansas Jayhawks (0-1, 0-0 ATS), Week 2 College Football, Saturday September 11th, 12:00PM Eastern Memorial Stadium Lawrence, Kansas
By Jay Horne, NCAA Football Handicapper of Predictem.com
Point Spread: GT -13/KS +13
The no. 16 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will travel out west to take on the Kansas Jayhawks early Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets breezed by South Carolina State 41-10 in their opener and get their first taste at an opponent from a BCS Bowl Conference. Like Georgia Tech, Kansas was also paired up with a team out of the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) in their opener in what was expected to be an easy win. However, the Jayhawks ended up being one of the biggest upset stories of opening weekend as they fell to the North Dakota Bison by an embarrassing score of 6-3.
Kansas kicked off new head coach Turner Gill’s era with an embarrassing performance on the offensive side of the ball. The Jayhawks were held to just 293 total yards of offense and again a measly total of 3 points for the entire game. In fact, the Jayhawks lone field goal of the game occurred midway through the first quarter and then they were held scoreless for over 3 quarters which of course fueled the frustration for the Jayhawks faithful. Kansas now must look to rebound and figure out a way to be more productive on the offensive side of the ball. Unfortunately for Kansas things are bound to get tougher for the offense, especially when the Yellow Jackets bring a much more talented defense into Memorial Stadium for Saturday’s battle.
Georgia Tech not only will have a much better defense than North Dakota, but they will also bring the ACC’s top offense into town from 2009. The Yellow Jackets produced 422 yards and 34 points per game in 2009 to lead the ACC. Also, Georgia Tech led the nation in rushing yards per game at a whopping 295 yards per contest. If the Yellow Jackets 372 yard rushing performance last week against South Carolina State was any indication of things to come, they could very well have one of the best rushing offenses in America yet again this season.
Veteran QB Josh Nesbitt is a rushing quarterback that rarely throws the football down field. Nesbitt eclipsed the 1,000 yards rushing mark a year ago and racked up another 130 yards on 16 carries for 3 scores in the Yellow Jackets opener. Junior running back Roddy Jones will share the backfield with Nesbitt in place of standout Jonathan Dwyer that terrorized the ACC last season. Jones has some experience in the backfield and should compliment Nesbitt and the running game very well. For those not familiar with the Georgia Tech offense, they run a ton of misdirection option style plays on the ground.
However, normally Nesbitt will take off with the ball himself rather than hand the ball of to the running back which is the more traditional for an option style offense. Therefore, the Jayhawks defense simply needs to stop Nesbitt and force others to make plays. Nesbitt has been very inconsistent throwing the football and only completed 1 of 6 passes last week. The Kansas defense must force Nesbitt into having to throw the football and finding a way to stop any big plays from happening on the ground. As simple as that sounds, few teams have been able to stop the Georgia Tech running attack over the past two seasons.
As for the Kansas defense, they were not that impressive last season as they were one of the worse in the Big 12 allowing just less than 400 yards of total offense per game. Another worrisome statistic is that the defense also allowed nearly 140 yards per game on the ground. The defense did return 7 players on that side of the ball, but there is still not a big playmaker to threaten the defense. The strength of the defense comes in the secondary, but considering how much the Georgia Tech offense throws the ball the only thing the secondary may be doing is tackling the ball carrier.
The Jayhawks offense has a much different appearance under Turner Gill compared to the historical spread offense over the past few seasons. QB Kale Pick and Jordan Webb are both inexperienced guys who have not given a lot of confidence for a strong passing game. The offensive line was suppose to be the strength this season after returning 5 starters but looked horrific against a weak North Dakota defense. The big guys up front must play better and allow time to get the ball in their playmakers hands if anything positive is going to come from the offense. Daymond Patterson can make plays on the ground and catching the football after totaling 129 all-purpose yards last week. Expect Patterson to be to go to guy again as Kansas searches for answers on offense.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Obvious choice here. Georgia Tech wins this one handedly unless something drastic changes with Kansas from the way they looked last week.
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