CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia sits atop the ACC Coastal Division entering Saturday’s home game versus Georgia Tech, and Bryce Perkins begins the stretch drive after a career outing last week against North Carolina. The senior became the fifth FBS quarterback since 2000 to pass for 350-plus yards with three touchdowns and rush for 100-plus yards with two touchdowns against a Power-5 opponent, totaling a school-record 490 yards of total offense in a 38-31 road victory.
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, RSN. LINE: Virginia -15.5
The Cavaliers finish the regular season with three consecutive home games - including matchups against non-conference foe Liberty and ACC rival Virginia Tech - but even with the big showing by Perkins last week, Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall told reporters Monday his team cannot afford to slip this week against the struggling Yellow Jackets. “All the North Carolina game did was make this one more important than even that one,” he said. The Yellow Jackets sit last in the Coastal and, despite forcing three turnovers, could not hold off Pittsburgh in a 20-10 home loss last week. “Getting turnovers was a big deal,” Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins told reporters after the loss, as the Yellow Jackets converted those turnovers to just seven points. “The thing is, looking back, we need to capitalize on those turnovers.”
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (2-6, 1-4 ACC)
Sophomore defensive back Juanyeh Thomas had an outstanding performance against Pitt, recording a career-best eight tackles with two tackles for loss and one interception. Redshirt freshman quarterback James Graham and sophomore quarterback Lucas Johnson combined to complete just 8-of-21 passes for 108 yards with a touchdown and an interception last week. Sophomore running back Jordan Mason is sixth in the ACC in rushing yards per game at 77.8.
ABOUT VIRGINIA (6-3, 4-2)
Perkins completed 30-of-39 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns while adding 112 yards and two scores on the ground, winning the Davey O’Brien Foundation’s national quarterback of the week honor. Sophomore Wayne Taulapapa leads the Cavaliers with nine rushing touchdowns and ranks second to Perkins (387) in rushing yardage (362) overall. Senior linebacker Jordan Mack is tied for second in the ACC with seven sacks, and the Cavaliers are second in the conference with 34.
1. The Yellow Jackets rank second in the ACC and 20th in the country in pass defense (187.9 yards allowed per game).
2. Perkins leads the ACC and ranks ninth in the nation in total offense (2,568 yards).
3. Georgia Tech WR Ahmarean Brown has four touchdown receptions, most by a Yellow Jackets true freshman since Calvin Johnson (seven, 2004).
PREDICTION: Virginia 35, Georgia Tech 14