Georgia Tech at South Florida
Time: 11 AM CT
Spread: GA TC -3
Georgia Tech opened its season with a dominant 41-0 shutout of Alcorn State. Week 2 brings a much more formidable South Florida team to its schedule, but the visiting Yellow Jackets are 3-point favorites over South Florida in what should be a high scoring matchup at 11 AM (Central time) Saturday. South Florida hosts the matchup and also won its Week 1 matchup as 34-14 victors over Elon.
In its week 1 win, the South Florida Bulls got a massive game from starting quarterback Blake Barnett, who threw for 305 yards and three TDS (no interceptions) to post a 90.9 quarterback rating. It divvied up the work of its backfield, using five backs to rush a total of 31 of its 38 rushes, as the by-committee approached resulted in 148 yards and a 3.9 yard-per-carry average.
There is room for improvement, but Johnny Ford was the best of the bunch with 43 yards on eight carries. Elijah Mack also looked good at times, including his 10-yard carry. Barnett did a good job rushing from the pocket with 31 yards on eight attempts, including an 18-yard rush, and a TD. The South Florida Bulls are a balanced team offensively, and its defense looked strong, though it will get a much tougher test in Week 2 against the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech, meanwhile, was less balanced in its Week 1 win. The Yellow Jackets attempted just 18 passes (completing nine) for 104 yards, but it rushed for an absurd 439 yards and four TDs, with five backfield options (well, four, and QB TaQuon Marshall) all going for 50 yards or more.
Jordan Mason led all rushers with 85 yards on 11 carries including a 28-yard run and a TD. Marshall was the star of the team with his 104 passing yards and 77 yards on nine carries, but the Yellow Jackets made it apparent is going to spread the big plays between a host of options it possesses in the backfield. This should be a strong running team every week, given the plethora of differently abled backs it possesses.
Georgia Tech only played 12 games last year due to hurricanes interrupting its schedule, and that cancellation also took the undefeated UCF knights off its schedule. The best thing the Yellow Jackets can say from last year’s 5-6 season is that it held onto its leads and won the games it “should have.” The Yellow Jackets closed the season with consecutive losses to Duke and Georgia, and this week will serve as a warm-up before it gets to the ACC portion of its schedule where it went just 4-4 last year.
Marshall rushed for 1,146 yards and 11 TDs last year, but his passing does need some work, which is why Tech tends to stay away from pass plays. He threw just 37.1 percent for completion last year, so his 50 percent mark in Week 1 is actually encouraging, despite not being anything all that outstanding. He moved from the slotback position in 2017 and really was never intended to be a starting quarterback, but his high upside made it apparent he has to be on the field every down and the Yellow Jackets will put together a nice overall offense based around his formidable running abilities.