Thursday, October 2, 2008

Georgia Tech-Duke Matches Top Offensive Minds


Duke 3-1 at Georgia Tech 3-1
Line: GT -14

The surprising Duke Blue Devils travel to Atlanta for their first road game of the season to face Georgia Tech. Duke beat Virginia last week 31-3. Georgia Tech is coming off a bye week.

Duke Offense vs Georgia Tech Defense
Duke ranks middle of the pack nationally in total offense ranking 61st in total offense. However, the Blue Devils have been pretty balanced on offense with 140 ypg on the ground and 233 through their air. QB Thaddeus Lewis is the biggest weapon of the Duke offense operating mostly out of the shotgun. He will look to hook up with Eron Riley at wide out throughout the game, but Riley is questionable with an injury.

Georgia's Tech defense has been very solid this year allowing just 293 ypg total. The pass defense ranks 14th in the country and has already surpassed last years interception total. The defensive line is one of the best in the nation with two potential first round picks in DE Michael Johnson and DT Vance Walker.

Key: Can Duke move the ball consistently with short passes where GT has been vulnerable?

Georgia Tech Offense vs Duke Defense
The Yellow Jackets make no secret out of the fact they want to run the ball ranking 5th in the nation. Overall, they rank 43rd in total offense and usually only pass when necessary. However, when Navy played Duke last year, the Mids had their best passing game of the season in their win over the Blue Devils. Starting QB Josh Nesbitt likely may not play in this game leaving duties to backup Jaybo Shaw who performed well against Mississippi State two weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets have had issues with fumbles this season and in their only loss of the season against Virginia Tech they had three.

Duke will feel like they have already played Georgia Tech this season because they played Paul Johnson's former team, Navy, a few weeks ago. Duke's run defense ranks 71st in the nation giving up 146 ypg. The Devils are led by LB Michael Tauiliili who had 16 tackles last week. David Cutcliffe's defense has done an excellent job keeping teams off the scoreboard allowing 16 ppg. Duke has a very good turnover margin of 1.25 per game including forcing six turnovers last week against Virginia.

Key: Can Georgia Tech hold onto the ball running the option?

News and Notes...
Duke last beat Georgia Tech in 2003 which snapped a 30 game ACC losing streak, but Tech has won 16 of the last 18. Duke has started 3-1 for the first time since 1994. We will likely not know Tech's starting QB until game time on Saturday.

Prediction..
Georgia Tech should win this game. Paul Johnson did not seem concerned that Duke had already played Navy and beaten them in his weekly press conference. Tech's issue with Duke has been a lack of intensity, but I do not think we will see that under Johnson.

Georgia Tech 31 Duke 14

Georgia Tech Covers

Last Week: 2-1 ATS, 1-2 SU
Season:
13-5-1 ATS, 12-7 SU

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