The Virginia Tech Hokies are now one win away from winning the ACC Coastal and guaranteeing a trip to the ACC Championship for the first time since 2011. The Hokies only need to win one of their two final games and have the chance to get the job done Saturday but face a Georgia Tech team eager to pull off an upset and spoil the celebration. With that said, here are our three Hokies to watch against Georgia Tech.
Evans has led this offense to a very impressive season, and I expect this to continue against the weak defense of the Yellow Jackets. He went without throwing a touchdown pass for the first time all season last week against Duke — something I was way off on my prediction — but I expect that to be a one game anomaly. The Georgia Tech defense ranks in around 70th in the country, allowing upwards of 400 yards/game.
Given those stats, I expect the Hokies to exploit the weak defense and move the ball with ease. For reference, North Carolina scored 48 points last Saturday. Look for Evans to tie the record for touchdowns in a season (24) for real this time. Also keep an eye on the fact that Evans has only thrown two interceptions all season — a big reason why this offense has proven to be as successful as it has this year.
Georgia Tech provides a unique look, running their patented triple-option offense. Because of this, the defense has to be on top of their game. In the past, the defender who has stepped up and made an impact was Kyle Fuller. In the game against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta a few years ago, Fuller was flying around the field making plays in the backfield and the secondary.
I expect Reynolds to play a similar role. He is athletic enough to be playing back in the secondary in case a Jacket breaks through, but can also step up to the line and apply pressure to the backfield. Keep an eye out for Reynolds playing all over the field. Sometimes he might line up right on the line and other times, he may step back and play as a more traditional cornerback.
Going along the same lines as I listed for Reynolds, Motuapuaka needs to play solid defense as the leader for the linebacker group. A major aspect of a successful defensive effort against the triple option is filling the correct gaps and making solid tackles. In previous seasons, Motuapuaka struggled mightily to shoot the right gaps, and it allowed the Hokies’ defense to get burned.
However, a positive note to take away from this is that against Georgia Tech last season, Motuapuaka played one of his better games in Atlanta. Look for him to have yet another good game against the difficult offense, especially because his overall play has improved this season. Watch how he directs the defense and fills the right gaps on Saturday. It is always entertaining to watch Bud Foster scheme against such a problematic defense.
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