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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Duke Blue Devils Preview and Prediction

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Georgia Tech will visit Duke on Saturday in what will be its second road game in a tough four-game stretch where the Yellow Jackets also will visit Clemson in a couple of weeks. Tech's offense was halted last week by a very good Notre Dame defense, which only gave up one rushing touchdown and 337 total yards compared to the 67 points and 467 yards per game the Yellow Jackets were averaging. Tech will look to improve as this game now becomes a must-win for the Jackets to stay alive in the ACC.

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Duke is coming off a defensive battle which it lost to Northwestern last week. The Blue Devils just couldn’t really get anything going on offense as they turned the ball over three times to the Wildcats. Last year, David Cutcliffe and Duke ended a 10-year skid by defeating the Jackets. The Blue Devils will try and make it two in a row this Saturday.

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Georgia Tech at Duke

Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN2

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Spread: Georgia Tech -9

Three Things to Watch

1. Georgia Tech Needs to Get its Offense Going Again

Everyone thought Notre Dame’s defense was a fluke. Not so fast my friend. The Yellow Jackets were held to 219 yards rushing and only one rushing touchdown last week, very un-Yellow Jacket numbers. Justin Thomas was a measly 8-24 which is something he will have to get better at if the Jackets are to contend in the ACC. Yes, I know this is a running offense but Thomas has to be more accurate. They usually don’t throw a lot of passes so his room for error is smaller than most quarterbacks.

2. Revenge

The Blue Devils snapped a 10-year losing streak to Georgia Tech with their win last year. It was an even bigger bragging chip when you look at how the Yellow Jackets finished their year. Duke will be the underdog in this game but Georgia Tech will play like one. The Yellow Jackets know they can’t afford another slip up this early in the season so I look for them to pile on the points early and often.

3. Georgia Tech’s Defense Has to Get Better

One of the biggest concerns for the Yellow Jackets coming into this year was their defense and it was heavily exposed last week. Georgia Tech was gashed on the ground and may have shown a weakness for Duke to exploit even more. The Yellow Jackets will need to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to get teams off the field before a more high powered offense like, say Clemson, comes knocking on the door.

Final Analysis

I really don’t think this game is going to be close. Duke doesn’t strike me as the gritty Cutcliffe teams of the past couple of years and Georgia Tech has a lot of weapons to score at will. Georgia Tech will need to show they can actually stop someone but I think they do enough to shut down Duke. Georgia Tech will also need to show that there is no hangover affect after last week’s game.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, Duke 13

— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.