Va Tech at Ga Tech
Time: 2:30 PM CST, Saturday
Spread: VATC -5.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Virginia Tech Hokies are 6-3 and have won four of its last five games entering this week’s matchup against Georgia Tech. The Hokies are 5.5-point favorites over the Yellow Jackets in NCAA Football odds, and the game will air at 2:30 PM on the ACC Network.
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
Virginia Tech made a powerful statement last week with its 36-17 win over an AP-ranked Wake Forest team. It lost by a mere point to No. 16 Notre Dame the week prior, and the program is certainly trending upwards with its 6-3 season thus far. A bowl appearance is a near-given, even though the Hokies close its season with a couple of tougher opponents in Pittsburgh and Virginia.
Credit a large part of this success to its two quarterbacks and lead-rusher Deshawn McClease. The Hokies have turned to Hendon Hooker now, and he delivered last week with his 15 of 23 passing for 242 yards. Tre Turner led all rushers despite a mere four attempts, gaining 73 yards on those efforts, including a 57-yard play. Hooker was No. 2 in rushing yards with 69 on 15 attempts and at touchdown, while lead rusher Deshawn McClease added two touchdowns despite some struggles (just 3.5 yards-per-carry on his 17 carries).
McClease has been good, but unsensational, on the year. His 127 rush attempts are over twice as many as No. 2 RB Keshawn King, but McClease is averaging 4.5 yards-per-carry with his team-leading five rushing touchdowns. He is not a big receiving threat with just six catches on the season. Hooker has delivered at a 59.5 percent passing clip with 822 yards and seven touchdowns. He has not thrown a single pick and has been sacked just six times, accounting for his impressive passer rating of 169.2.
The Hokies have four receivers that have done the lifting so to speak, with Tight end James Mitchell acting as a fourth target—and a good one. Damon Hazelton leads the team in receiving yards (386), while Tayvion Robinson has the most receptions (24). Hazelton has six of the team’s 18 receiving touchdowns. Kicker Brian Johnson has been strong, but he has struggled at greater distances with all four of his misses coming from beyond 40 yards. From within the 40, he is a perfect 11 of 11.
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS:
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have had a struggle of a season at just 2-7 with a 1-5 mark in ACC play. Tech lost last week to Virginia, and it has lost six of its last seven overall. As 5.5-point underdogs at home, this week represents one of its better chances to get back on track, though the team is clearly out of the bowl picture at this juncture of the season.
Georgia Tech is a woeful team offensively and not even average defensively. It allows 29.6 per game while scoring just 18.3, a product of having a passing offense in the bottom-10 of all FBS teams and a rush offense that generates a humble 156.8 (No. 75). Starting quarterback James Graham has struggled badly as a passer, with just 47.2 percent of his throws for completion and five interceptions (with just eight touchdowns). Graham is something of a dual-threat, but it is difficult to get too pumped up over his 2.4 yards-per-carry.
Tech’s top-two running backs have fared far better, with Jordan Mason and Tobias Oliver each averaging better than five yards per attempt. Mason has seven of the team’s 11 rushing touchdowns. Ahmarean Brown is the top receiver, tied for the lead in catches (17), leading the team in yardage (361) and also in touchdowns (5). After he and No. 2 receiver Adonicas Sanders, though, there is little help. The Yellow Jackets remain rather predictable, and Graham’s lack of an arm has plenty to do with it.
Overall, this is just a pretty poor football team and its inability to even post a respectable conference mark spells it out pretty clearly. As just slight underdogs this win would represent mostly a moral victory for the team in another lost, losing, season.