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Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Football Prediction and Preview

Brennan Armstrong, Virginia Cavaliers Football

Brennan Armstrong and the Cavaliers take on the Yellow Jackets in an ACC Coastal matchup on Saturday

Both the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Virginia Cavaliers are coming off significant victories.

Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2 ACC) took the lead against Duke with 51 seconds left as the Yellow Jackets held on to win 31-27 on Oct. 9. Virginia (5-2, 3-2) has won three in a row and currently resides in second place in the ACC Coastal behind Pittsburgh (2-0 in conference play).

The Yellow Jackets have a one-game edge in the all-time series (21-20-1) that dates back to 1965. The 2020 season marked the first time UVA and Georgia Tech didn't play since 1981, as the two teams had met every year from 1982-2019.

Georgia Tech at Virginia

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: ACC Network
Spread: Virginia -6.5

When Georgia Tech Has the Ball

Dual-threat quarterback Jeff Sims helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a win against Duke two weeks ago. He capped off an 86-yard drive in the last two minutes by completing a 36-yard pass to Adonicas Sanders. Sims tossed three touchdown passes, the first one to running back Jahmyr Gibbs covered 77 yards, as well as two interceptions.

In the last three games, Sims has accounted for 10 total touchdowns — six passing and four rushing. He's thrown for 791 yards (in four total games) and is averaging 6.7 yards per carry. Gibbs leads the team with 279 rushing yards, but he's managing just 3.6 yards per attempt and has one touchdown on the ground in six games.

While Virginia's offense has gotten a lot of attention, the defense has pitched a pair of shutouts. The first came against FCS William & Mary in the opener and the Cavaliers blanked Duke 48-0 last week. The Blue Devils, who came into the game averaging 218 rushing yards per game, were held to just 110.

The flip side of this is that in Virginia's five other games opponents have averaged 34 points per game and for the season, the Cavaliers are giving up 413.1 yards per game (11th in the ACC, 95th nationally). So Georgia Tech's success when it has the ball could depend on which UVA defense shows up.

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When Virginia Has the Ball

There's no secret to the Cavaliers' success on offense this season. Brennan Armstong leads the nation with 2,824 passing yards to go along with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions. He is one of two quarterbacks averaging 400 passing yards per game this season (WKU's Bailey Zappe).

Last week, Armstrong threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns while adding 34 and another score on the ground in the shutout of Duke. He was named ACC Quarterback of the Week for the fourth time for his efforts.

When you have the second-most prolific passing offense in the nation, it stands to reason that a few players are putting up good numbers. Dontayvion Wicks has been Armstrong's favorite target as he's registered 32 receptions for 679 yards and six touchdowns while averaging an ACC-leading 21.2 yards per catch.

In addition to Wicks (second), the Cavaliers have three others in the top 10 in the conference in terms of receiving yards — Keytaon Thompson (6th, 515), Billy Kemp IV (8th, 474), and Ra'Shaun Henry (10th, 437).

Georgia Tech will no doubt focus its efforts on trying to limit the damage Armstrong does, but the Yellow Jackets are allowing opponents to complete 65 percent of their passes with 11 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. And Armstrong has better numbers than any quarterback the Yellow Jackets have faced (other than Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett), and that includes North Carolina's Sam Howell and Clemson's D.J. Uiagalelei.

Final Analysis

Virginia's defense is a cause of concern, but the Cavaliers are a better team than Georgia Tech, at least on paper. The Yellow Jackets have been up and down all season but the matchup against Armstrong and UVA's prolific passing game is problematic. Georgia Tech will need to come up with some turnovers and get a big game from Sims to keep things close.

The Cavaliers get the win, but don't be surprised if the Yellow Jackets hang around in an entertaining, high-scoring game.

Prediction: Virginia 38, Georgia Tech 31

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— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.