Both the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacketsand the Louisville Cardinals began the season with a victory before dropping consecutive games. Now the teams will have a chance for redemption when they meet in a nationally televised game in Atlanta.
Louisville has lost back-to-back games against Miami and the Pitt after defeating Western Kentucky 35-21 in their season opener. The Cardinals had last weekend off to prepare for the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech defeated Florida State 16-13 in its 2020 season opener. But they dropped their next two to the UCF Knights and the Syracuse Orange.
Friday will mark just the second time Louisville and Georgia Tech have met on the gridiron. Their only other meeting came in 2018 when the Yellow Jackets defeated the Cardinals 66-31.
Louisville at Georgia Tech
Kickoff: Friday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.
Spread: Louisville -4
When Louisville Has the Ball
Louisville's offense is led by quarterback Malik Cunningham, who has thrown seven touchdowns during his first three games. He has also thrown for a touchdown in nine consecutive games. However, Cunningham has been intercepted five times this season and struggled two weeks ago against Pittsburgh. In the loss, Cunningham threw for only 107 yards with three interceptions.
Cunningham will need to rely on running back Javian Hawkins, who has rushed for 313 yards this season. Hawkins will look to have a big game against Georgia Tech defense that's giving up big yards on the ground. The Yellow Jackets are 51st in rushing defense at 171.7 yards per game.
Receivers Tutu Atwell (19 receptions, 229 yards, and three touchdowns) and Dez Fitzpatrick (12 receptions, 198 yards, and one touchdown) will both be a handful for the Yellow Jackets defense that's given up 269.7 passing yards per game.
When Georgia Tech Has the Ball
Georgia Tech freshman quarterback Jeff Sims has been through highs and lows during his brief time as the team's starting quarterback. In the two losses to UFC and Syracuse, Sims has thrown for a combined two touchdowns and six interceptions.
"We've got to fix the unforced errors, we've got to fix ball security," Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins said. "All of those things we've got to improve on."
One positive for the Yellow Jackets this season has been their rushing attack. Not only has Sims rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns, but Georgia Tech has also gotten contributions from Jahmyr Gibbs and Jamious Griffin.
Gibbs is second on the Yellow Jackets in rushing yards with 171, while Griffin has 140 yards on the ground, and both have one touchdown. Louisville's defense has given up 145.0 rushing yards per game, but they have a dynamic play that could pose problems for the Yellow Jackets offense.
Cardinals linebacker Dorian Etheridge leads the nations with 8.5 tackles for a loss in three games. He also has recorded two sacks and a forced fumble during that span.
Both teams enter Friday's game 1-2, but the Cardinals have played two of the better teams in the ACC in Miami and Pitt. Georgia Tech lost to a Syracuse team that figures to be one of the conference cellar teams.
Despite their issues, Louisville can score against anyone with its offensive weapons. And Georgia Tech's defense has proven to be one of the worst teams in the FBS as they're allowing 441.3 yards per game.
It is hard to see the Yellow Jackets slowing down a Cardinals offensive attack that can score in a variety of ways.
Prediction: Louisville 48, Georgia Tech 24
Podcast: Week 6 Preview and Predictions
— 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, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.