Georgia Tech and North Carolina are coming into Saturday’s game from opposite sides of the road. Georgia Tech has lost two games in a row and more importantly seems to have lost a part of its identity. North Carolina is coming off three straight wins and head coach Larry Fedora may have found the answer in new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. The Tar Heels will face the best offense they have seen all year but Notre Dame and Duke have given Chizik a blueprint as to how to stop the Yellow Jacket offense.
Georgia Tech can’t afford to lose another ACC Coastal game and North Carolina doesn’t want to start conference play with a loss. Both can benefit from a huge win this Saturday.
College Football Podcast: Week 5 Preview with Andy Staples
North Carolina at Georgia Tech
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. (Saturday)
TV Channel: ESPNU
Spread: Georgia Tech -7
Three Things to Watch
1.North Carolina’s Defense
In four games this season, the Tar Heels are giving up a little over 14 points per game. In today’s college game with talent spread throughout the country and teams putting up huge numbers every week that is impressive. Gene Chizik may have found his second chance in college football after being run out of Auburn. This week will be a tough test.
2.Georgia Tech’s Identity
As I have written before, the Georgia Tech offense has looked like a shell of itself in the past two weeks having thrown the ball 40 times. That’s not what Paul Johnson wants to do. He wants to control the clock and run the ball efficiently. As Johnson has said multiple times already, the Yellow Jackets need to execute the plan that is put in place. The lack of execution may be due to young running backs and newcomers in the backfield, but it all starts with Justin Thomas and he must play better if the Jackets want to return to the ACC championship game.
3.Looking at the Over
The Over/Under has been set at 62 at the time I am writing this. In the past five meetings between these two teams, this game has gone over that three of those times. The other two were still high scoring affairs and I look for that to be the same this year. For whatever reason, these two teams always put up gaudy numbers every time they play and for fans of offensive football, including myself, it’s a treat to watch. Even though I think Gene Chizik has done a pretty good job so far as defensive coordinator, the recent history says this will be a shootout. I hope I’m right.
I’ve said it for two weeks in a row but it still holds true: Georgia Tech has to get this offense fixed if they are going to win games. And I am a firm believer that Johnson and company will right the ship. You can only hold this offense down for so long. Georgia Tech will stick to their run game and welcome Chizik into ACC play with lots of misdirection runs. Plus, I always like the team that has its back against the wall.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, North Carolina 35
— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.