ATLANTA - Georgia Tech has one of the top ground attacks in the nation, but it will face a tough challenge on Saturday as it hosts Duke in a key ACC contest for both teams. The Yellow Jackets lead the nation in rushing offense, averaging 373 yards per game, while the Blue Devils are 29th against the run (122.8 yards) - and that matchup will go a long way to deciding the winner in the battle of the bottom two squads in the ACC Coastal Division.
TV: 12:20 p.m. ET, RSN, ACC Network. LINE: Georgia Tech -3
The Blue Devils began with four straight wins for the second consecutive season, but after losing to Virginia Tech 31-14 on Sept. 29, they spent their bye week focusing on avoiding a repeat of 2017 - when their strong start was followed by a six-game slide. “When you don’t play for four quarters in ACC games, you lose,” Duke linebacker Joe Giles-Harris told reporters on Monday. “That’s what happened (against Virginia Tech), that’s what happened last year six times in a row.” Georgia Tech cruised to its second consecutive victory last week, blasting Louisville 66-31 behind 542 yards on the ground – with 283 coming from quarterbacks TaQuon Marshall and Tobias Oliver. The Yellow Jackets scored on nine of their 10 possessions, prompting coach Paul Johnson to remark on Tuesday that the offense was “pretty remarkable” in the victory.
ABOUT DUKE (4-1, 0-1 ACC)
Daniel Jones, who passed for 226 yards and a touchdown against Virginia Tech, benefited from the bye week - considering he broke his collarbone four weeks ago. Duke quarterbacks have thrown 12 touchdown passes and only one interception this season, while running back Deon Jackson has rushed for a score in three consecutive games. Linebackers Giles-Harris (260 career tackles) and Ben Humphreys (237) are the only active duo in the ACC with 200-plus total tackles.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (3-3, 1-2)
Marshall earned ACC Quarterback of the Week honors, rushing for two touchdowns while leading the Yellow Jackets to six TDs and a field goal on their first seven possessions. Running back Jordan Mason is averaging 7.6 yards per carry and ranks fifth in the nation among freshmen with 443. Defensive end Anree Saint-Amour forced two fumbles last week, both of which were recovered by linebacker Charlie Thomas, but the defense has allowed an average of 34.7 points in ACC play.
1. Georgia Tech has scored 60-plus points in back-to-back games, marking the fourth time an ACC team has accomplished that feat and second time it has done it (2015).
2. The Blue Devils have outscored opponents 95-37 in the first half.
3. The Yellow Jackets are 10-1 in their last 11 home meetings with Duke.
PREDICTION: Duke 27, Georgia Tech 21
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