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

TaQuon Marshall

TaQuon Marshall

Perhaps it doesn’t erase the memories of the tight losses to Tennessee, Miami, and Virginia, but Georgia Tech finally came out on the right side in a close game as the Yellow Jackets beat Virginia Tech 28-22 last Saturday. The win puts them one game away from bowl eligibility as they head to Dukefor their final road game of the year.

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After starting the season 4-0, the Blue Devils dropped their sixth straight when they fell to Army on Saturday. Duke plays Wake Forest on Thanksgiving weekend but for that to matter the Devils must find a way to beat Georgia Tech this week.

These old ACC foes have played 84 times throughout the years with Georgia Tech leading the series 51-32-1.

Georgia Tech at Duke

When: Saturday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Raycom Sports Network

Spread: Georgia Tech -6

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Three Things to Watch

1. Will playing Army help Duke?

For the second week in a row, the Blue Devils will be facing an option team. Statistically, they did a pretty good job with the Army ground game, holding the Cadets 126 yards below their 352-yard per game average. Georgia Tech is No. 4 nationally in rushing offense at 324 yards per game and, like Army with Ahmad Bradshaw, have a quarterback in TaQuon Marshall that averages more than 100 yards on the ground each game.

2. Georgia Tech big plays

Marshall only completed two of his eight passes against Virginia Tech, but both resulted in long touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Duke defense only saw one Army pass attempt and that was a 42-yard completion. The essence of the Jackets’ passing game is to burn the opposition with big plays when the defense sneaks up to stop the run. They did just that against the Hokies and will look for more opportunities this weekend in Durham. Georgia Tech also is fourth in the nation in runs of more than 40 yards, so they can hit home runs with the ground game as well.

3. Blue Devils' offensive line vs. Georgia Tech defensive front

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (above, right) was sacked four times by Army and that brought the season total to 26 allowed. Plus, a Duke running game that was humming along behind Shaun Wilson and Brittain Brown early in the season has averaged just 97 rushing yards per game over the last four. And an improving Georgia Tech front seven will be across the way, making life miserable again. The Yellow Jackets beat up the Virginia Tech line, holding the Hokies to just 105 yards on the ground and constantly harassing quarterback Josh Jackson.

Final Analysis

Beating Virginia Tech was big for this group of Yellow Jackets. There will not be a Coastal Division championship or a trip to a major bowl, but with one more victory there will be extra football following the regular season. Plus, with so many close losses on their resume, it was nice to see Georgia Tech respond after Virginia Tech’s Greg Stroman put the Hokies ahead with a pick-six. With Duke losing six straight games, including the most recent at Army, the Jackets face a team short on confidence. It is Senior Day at Duke, so expect the Devils to play with pride. But Georgia Tech will earn a comfortable victory and build momentum going into their season ending showdown with those Bulldogs from Athens.

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Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Duke 17

— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.