After losing in heartbreaking fashion against Syracuse for their third-straight home loss, Virginia Tech heads on the road looking for any sign of momentum against a Georgia Tech team looking to bounce back at home after losing a 48-40 shootout at Virginia.
So will the Hokies get it back on track or will Georgia Tech avenge the shutout that the Hokies had the last time VT visited Atlanta? Here are our picks for the Hokies versus the Yellow Jackets.
This feels like a game that on paper that Virginia Tech should win but also in some ways is the rightful underdog for. Tech definitely has the talent to go on the road and beat the Yellow Jackets, but there have been plenty of issues in so many areas and signs that this team is overrated that make you believe the other way.
Regardless, one big positive out of last week was the greatly improved offense that found an identity as a power rushing team first that could set up the play action and stretch the field against an overloaded box with screens and jet sweeps. This comes against a Yellow Jackets defense has struggled over the past three weeks after looking quite strong early in the season.
Meanwhile, the Hokies' defense also comes to Atlanta looking for momentum after the improved VT defense had their worst game of the season against the Orange. Jeff Sims and Jahmyr Gibbs will undoubtedly provide a tough test for the Hokies and will require Tech to be better about containing the threat of mobile QBs after last week's struggles with Garrett Shrader.
In the end, Virginia Tech's defense will have a bounce back game while the offense with their newfound identity built around the 1-2 running punch of Malachi Thomas and Raheem Blackshear will do enough to get the job done and pick up a big road victory in Atlanta. However, Tech's issues with mobile QBs could prove problematic in a game that is very much a toss up.
Pick: Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 24
The Hokies, for seemingly the fifth week in a row, have hit rock bottom. A 41-36 heartbreaking loss to an equally mediocre Syracuse team is just another step in the downward trajectory of the football program. A team that finds new ways to lose every week has a very difficult test ahead of them in Atlanta against the Yellow Jackets.
Tech's offense seemingly found life through the legs of running back Malachi Thomas.
Georgia Tech's defense has been just okay stopping their opponents on the ground, so the Hokies would be wise to go back to the well. In fact, it might be their only viable option as their passing game has been putrid, averaging just 180 yards through the air this season. Georgia Tech has shown the ability to be an impressive pass rush team at times this season, but for the most part have not been good defensively, giving up 29 points per game.
The Hokies' defense has to be reeling after Syracuse essentially did whatever they wanted on the ground and air throughout the game. They have to be better against a Georgia Tech team averaging 34 points per game over their last four outings. Like the Hokies, Georgia Tech is reliant on the run game which is not a good thing for a defense that was run on by Sean Tucker last week. Quarterback Jeff Sims has the potential for a big game on the ground, and if he can add in a few explosive plays through the air the Hokies will have a tough day once again stopping an opposing offense.
Overall, it feels like the Hokies just aren't in a good place right now and don't have the confidence to close out close games. That comes down to coaching, and because of that it will be difficult to pick the Hokies the rest of the way, especially against a Georgia Tech side that can put up points while the Hokies struggle to do so.