Saturday College Football Picks: Pittsburgh Panthers at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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Pitt at Ga Tech

Time: 3 PM CST

Spread: PITT -7.5

Total: 43

Odds c/o 5dimes

Pittsburgh is 5-3 on the season, coming off a 12-16 loss to Miami (FL), after having won its previous four, heading into last week. The Panthers will try to get back on track on the road at Georgia Tech, where Pitt is a 7.5-point favorite according to college football oddsmakers. The over/under is set at 43 points, and the game will kick off at 3 PM (CST) Saturday.

PITT

Pittsburgh boasts a No. 42 ranked pass offense that generates 254.8 yards per game, but it is good for just 127.5 via the rush, ranking No. 109 among FBS schools. The Panthers struggle to score overall, generating just 21.0 points per game and ranking No. 115. Its defense has been good, but the lack of scoring overall has made a 5-3 record probably the best outcome Pitt could have hoped for. It allows 21.4 per game, giving it a still-negative point differential of -0.4. The Panthers have lost to good opponents in Miami, a then-No. 13 Penn State team in Week 1, and Virginia in its opener. Defeating the lowly Yellow Jackets should be a reasonable proposition for the Panthers.

Pitt QB Kenny Pickett has had a reasonably good season, but there are some black marks for improvement, notably his six interceptions and 19 sacks for 113 lost yards. Pickett’s bright spots include 1,748 yards passing and a passable 59.5 percent completion ratio, helping him rank a 115.3 in passer rating. Pickett has not been good rushing the ball, with his 55 attempts amounting to just 71 yards and no touchdowns.

The Panthers backfield has been highlighted by AJ Davis and Todd Sibley Jr. The pair has rushed 123 times between them for nearly 600 yards and Davis has rushed for three of the team’s five rushing TDs. The other two come from No. 3 running back Vincent Davis, though he averages just 3.6 yards-per-carry on his 31 attempts.

Taysir Mack has done work at wideout, with 48 catches for 563 yards and two touchdowns. Maurice French leads the team in receptions with 64 for 535 yards and a team-high three touchdown. Pitt has scored just five rushing touchdowns this season, with it having scored 12 via the pass. Tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Running back AJ Davis have caught 28 passes between them for over 300 yards and Griffin-Stewart has one TD to his credit. Pitt will air it out this week against Georgia Tech and hope that the Yellow Jackets’ secondary is a step slow as it has been in recent weeks.

GA TECH

Georgia Tech is 2-5 and in seventh place in the ACC Coastal Division. It defeated Miami (FL) last outing 28-21 but had lost four straight going into that game with losses to the likes of Citadel, Temple, and two decent teams in North Carolina and Duke. The Yellow Jackets are giving up 30.4 points per game this season while managing to score just 18.1 itself. The pass offense generates just 145.7 yards per game ranking No. 120, while the Yellow Jackets get decent running production with 168.9 rushing yards per game, ranking No. 62.

The running game for Georgia Tech is largely the work of Jordan Mason. He has a team-high 95 rush attempts for 566 yards and six touchdowns, both of which lead Georgia Tech. He averages 6.0 yards-per-carry, and the Yellow Jackets as a team manage 4.3. No. 2 rusher is quarterback Tobias Oliver who has rushed 55 times for 279 yards and two touchdowns.

Only James Graham has scored (51 attempts for 92 yards) as a third-down back who averages under 2 yards-per-carry, outside of the top-three rushers. Georgia Tech has thrown 12 passes to Ahmarean Brown for 241 yards and three touchdowns, which both lead the receiving core.

Adonicas Sanders has caught 11 passes for 191 yards, and the Yellow Jackets average 13.1 yards-per-reception with seven passing TDs on the year.

Kicker Brenton King is 11 of 11 on PATs but just 2 of 4 on field goals, with one of the misses coming from behind the 50-yard line.

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