No. 25 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-1, 1-2 ATS) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-2, 2-1 ATS) Saturday October 3rd, 7:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Georgia Tech -4.5/Mississippi State +4.5
The no. 25 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have experienced a roller coaster ride of a season in just a few short weeks of the season. The Yellow Jackets took down a solid Clemson team on Thursday night reaching the no. 14 ranking in America. However, one week later things were completely the opposite as the Yellow Jackets were embarrassed by Miami in another Thursday night game and completely fell out of the top 25.
Georgia Tech then bounced back again last week dominating a top 25 ranked North Carolina team 24-7 and the win barely put the Yellow Jackets back in the rankings. The roller coaster ride could continue if the Yellow Jackets are to succumb to the Mississippi State Bulldogs this Saturday night.
The Bulldogs proved they were no pushover as they nearly upset LSU last week, but could not punch the ball in from the 1 yard line in the closing seconds of the game. Coach Dan Mullen appears to be turning the program around and expects Mississippi State fans to be expecting to win this Saturday night.
The Bulldogs have had trouble behind center early on this season finding consistency. Senior quarterback Tyson Lee threw 3 interceptions in last week’s loss to LSU and is completing just 50% on the season. Lee has just 388 yards in 4 games, but continues to get the most snaps behind center. Sophomore Chris Relf is the guy waiting to take the helm. Relf perhaps is a bigger threat given his ability to run with the football.
Relf has thrown for 213 yards on just 23 attempts on the season, but has added 182 more on the ground. Actually the ground game has been the resort the Bulldogs have turned to based on the passing struggles. However, they have been affective on the ground averaging over 200 yards per game running the football. Tailback Anthony Dixon can make plays and leads the team with 3 touchdowns and is averaging nearly 5 yards per carry.
Georgia Tech is another team that is led by their running game. QB Josh Nesbitt ranks 3rd in the ACC with 310 yards on the ground which is pretty impressive from the quarterback position. Also, ahead of him running back Jonathan Dwyer ranks 2nd in the ACC with 326 yards on the season. The Yellow Jacket is undoubtedly the best rushing team in their conference and will keep the ball on the ground this Saturday.
Nesbitt has not been able to establish any type of passing threat completing just 43% passing with 2 picks and 2 touchdowns. However, even as defenses expect the run they have had tough time stopping it. The option style has been perfected by Paul Johnson’s offense and he sports two of the best runners in the ACC making a lethal weapon against opponents. The question is will the Yellow Jackets be able to eat up those yards against a solid SEC defense?
Mississippi State is allowing 300 yards exactly per game on the defensive side of the ball. The rush defense which is the biggest area of focus heading into this week’s battle is just allowing 128 yards per game and kept a talented LSU running game intact last week to a measly 30 yards on the ground. If the Bulldogs can have any type of similar effectiveness from their defensive front, they will score the victory. However, the Yellow Jackets running style as stated before is more difficult to defend. Still, the SEC defenses are known for speed and a quick defense is usually the type to slow down an option style offense.
I know we already stated the offenses were very similar, but the Yellow Jackets defense is very similar to the Bulldogs as well. The defense is strong up front and subject to questionable in the secondary. However, since the Bulldogs fail to pass the ball well it well be the rush defense that is under the microscope for the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech ranks 2nd in the ACC allowing just 106 yards per game on the ground.
The Yellow Jackets only problems on defense have come from the secondary where they allow over 200 yards per game. However, Mississippi State is still not the team that will beat them through the air. The game will be smash mouth football at its best highlighted by two solid defenses. While most of the nation is led by spread offenses that throw the ball all over the field, these two teams will convert back to an old school style of football this Saturday night.
Jay’s Pick - I like the UNDER under here while I give the Bulldogs the slight edge to win the game.