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Georgia vs. Georgia Tech Football Prediction and Preview

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Football Prediction and Preview

Top-ranked Bulldogs look to cap off an undefeated regular season with a fourth straight win over the rival Yellow Jackets

The Georgia Bulldogs travel to Atlanta Saturday to take on the in-state rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the 114th edition of "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate." 

Georgia, which enters with an 11-0 record that included a dominant 8-0 run through its SEC schedule, puts its No. 1 College Football Playoff ranking on the line in what appears to be a tune-up for next week's clash against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia Tech will be playing for pride after falling to 3-8 with last week's embarrassing 55-0 loss to Notre Dame. The Jackets were 2-6 in ACC play this season, and have yet to qualify for a bowl game in head coach Geoff Collins' three seasons on The Flats.

Due to COVID-related conference-only scheduling, these rivals did not meet last season for the first time since 1925. Georgia holds a 68-41-5 all-time edge and has won 16 of the last 19 games, although the Yellow Jackets have won as recently as 2014 and '16.

No. 1 Georgia at Georgia Tech

Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 27, at 12 p.m. ET
TV: ABC
Spread: Georgia -35

When Georgia Has the Ball

Quarterback Stetson Bennett continues to defy the odds for Georgia. Bennett took advantage of an early-season injury to JT Daniels and solidified himself as the starter while completing 64.4 percent of his passes for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns with five interceptions. The one-time walk-on and junior college transfer has averaged 10.6 yards per pass attempt, which ranks second on the FBS leaderboard. He's also a capable runner, especially when scrambling, and has gained 233 yards with one touchdown on the ground.

It certainly helps that Bennett is surrounded by talented players. Running backs Zamir White (657 rushing yards, 10 TDs) and James Cook (544, 7) give the Bulldogs one of the best duos in the SEC. Cook also has 17 receptions for 129 yards and three scores, which has been impactful for a receiving corps that hasn't been at full strength at any point this season.

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Tight end Brock Bowers has played like an All-American with a team-leading 34 receptions, 552 yards, and eight touchdowns, and fellow freshmen Ladd McConkey (24 rec., 376 yds., 3 TDs) and Adonai Mitchell (23, 325, 2) have been pleasant surprises as well. Jermaine Burton ranks third with 351 receiving yards on 19 receptions but is a big-play threat with an 18.5-yard average and three touchdowns. George Pickens probably won't make his first appearance of the season, but the team leader in touchdowns in both 2019 and 2020 has returned to practice, which could be a good sign for the Bulldogs' national championship hopes.

When Georgia Tech Has the Ball

Despite Georgia's elite recruiting, the Ramblin' Wreck might actually have the most talented offensive player on the field Saturday. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs leads the Yellow Jackets with 745 rushing yards on a team-high 141 carries, including four touchdowns. Gibbs also ranks second on the team with 474 receiving yards, and his 35 catches are just two behind co-leaders Malachai Carter (489 receiving yards, 2 TDs) and Kyric McGowan (467, 7). He has also scored on a kick return this season. Gibbs has a bright NFL future but won't be eligible for the draft until 2023. Assuming he returns to Tech next year, Gibbs is the biggest reason for optimism … but he'll need more help than he's gotten in 2021.

Quarterback play has been an issue. Jeff Sims has battled injury and inconsistency, and though he's been a dynamic runner with 371 rushing yards and four touchdowns, he hasn't been able to hold off Jordan Yates for the starting job. Sims has completed 60.1 percent of his passes for 1,468 yards (7.8 per attempt) with 12 touchdowns, but his seven interceptions were impactful in Georgia Tech losing five of his last six starts. Yates got the nod against both Boston College and Notre Dame, and, though his passing numbers weren't good — a combined 31-for-56 passing for 222 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions — he'll likely start against the Bulldogs. Both quarterbacks and the offensive line also share the blame for 30.0 sacks allowed for a whopping 250 lost yards, which ranks No. 103 and No. 122 nationally, respectively.

Final Analysis

Georgia doesn't simply have a great defense; the Bulldogs are on pace to have a historic season. Analyst Brian Fremeau has tracked points per drive for every FBS team in non-garbage time possessions against FBS teams since 2007. Over that span, the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide led all teams with 0.51 points per drive allowed — a dominant number considering the next closest unit allowed 0.79 and fewer than two dozen teams (and none since 2018) posted a number better than 1.00. This year's Georgia squad has surrendered just 0.38 points per possession. It's not just a single stat phenomenon, either: The Dawgs have allowed 3.89 yards per play against FBS opponents and posted a 29.5 percent success rate and -0.084 predicted points added per play in non-garbage time, all of which are best in the country.

Strange things can happen in rivalry games. However, undefeated Georgia is a 35-point favorite and the unquestioned No. 1 team in the country. With Georgia Tech 3-8 coming off a 55-0 loss, the only true unknown in this matchup seems to be how big will the final margin be.

Prediction: Georgia 41, Georgia Tech 10

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— Written by Nicholas Ian Allen, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and managing editor of CFBWinningEdge. Follow him on Twitter @CFBWinningEdge.