Georgia Tech at Louisville
Time: 6 PM CT, Friday
Spread: GATC -4.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Georgia Tech is 2-3 after its week 5 victory over Bowling Green State University. This week, the Yellow Jackets visit conference foe Louisville as 4.5-point favorites. The game will air at 6 PM (CT) on ESPN, and it has an over/under set at 57.5 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Georgia Tech has been living and dying by the play of senior quarterback TaQuan Marshall, who leads the team in both passing yardage and rushing yards. Marshall has never been terribly accurate, however, and this final season in the NCAA is proving no different: He is throwing just 47.6 percent for completion and has twice as many interceptions (4) as TD passes (2). His rushing almost makes up for it, but the Yellow Jackets are still badly outclassed in the ACC at almost all the skill positions. Marshall has topped 100 rushing yards already twice this season, and in Weeks 1 and 2 he averaged better than eight yards-per- carry.
And Georgia Tech has been good overall offensively due to Marshall. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 36.4 points per game (No. 39), while its defense coughs up enough yardage to keep games close— The Yellow Jackets are allowing 27.8 points per game, ranking in the bottom-third of FBS teams (no. 83). It is just that with a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, a team can only be so bad, and that is attested to by the Yellow Jackets ranking No. 2 in the nation in rushing yardage at 339.2 yards per game.
The fact that it averages just 114 passing yards per game shows the true imbalance of its attack, but Marshall is augmented by a couple other very good backfield options: Jordan Mason and Tobias Oliver average 8.1 and 6.9 yards-per-rush, while both already having topped 300 yards on the season.
Adding to this, there is depth: The Yellow Jackets have three other rushers over 100-yards on the year, and the team averages a stellar 6.2 yards-per-carry. Perhaps diversifying the offense is overrated, but even in the ACC, the sheer predictability of Tech limits it somewhat. Fortunately, it is facing a rebuilding Louisville program that has had enough of its own problems this year.
Louisville is also 2-3 on the season like Tech, but it has lost its past two weeks against Virginia and FSU respectively, buy a combined count of 55 to 27. It managed just a field goal against the Hokies, while it was within four points of beating the Seminoles. The issue for Louisville, much unlike its opponent this week, has been a sheer lack of offense and yardage.
The Cardinals rank outside the top-100 in both passing yardage and rushing yardage, and its overall scoring offense is among the worst of FBS Schools at just 18.4 points per game (No. 123). The defense has been passable and middle-of-the-pack, but that hardly cuts it with such a poor offensive attack.
The Cardinals started the season with a QB controversy of sorts, and it is still doubtful the team made the right decision in going with Jawon Pass. Malik Cunningham did not play last week in the loss against FSU, but he had been a more accurate passer prior to losing his hold on the playing time.
Pass is completing just 51.7 percent of his attempts while averaging a paltry 6.33 yards per attempt and he has thrown more interceptions (7) than he has touchdowns (4). His passer rating trails behind Cunningham, and he has been horrible with his rushes.
Pass has attempted 29 rushes on the season for a collective yardage of negative-6. He did manage one rushing touchdown, but it is hard to discern just what his strengths really are, being a dual-threat QB that is not really a threat at either passing or running. Cunningham had more success rushing the football with 209 yards on 43 carries. He is just a freshman, and with Pass’ struggles, one must assume he will regain his starting position far sooner than later. He is a mobile quarterback in the mold of Louisville’s system, but inexplicably Pass took all the snaps last week in a rather predictable loss.
Cunningham was a four-star recruit ranked No. 65 in the nation, and he is the future of the program immediately, so with Pass’ ongoing struggles, it seems like only a matter of time before the reigns are fully handed off to Cunningham. Nearly all analysts web-wide feel Cunningham should already be starting every week, but Louisville is lingering under .500 for that very reason. Never has an injustice in starters been so blatant, perhaps.