Georgia Tech (3-5) at Maryland (4-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Byrd Stadium (31,500) -- College Park, Maryland. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Georgia Tech 3-3, Maryland 2-2. Away Record: Georgia Tech 0-2, Maryland 2-2. Neutral Record: Georgia Tech 0-0, Maryland 0-0. Conference Record: Georgia Tech 2-3, Maryland 2-2. Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 14-6. .
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Maryland Terrapins will clash this Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference bout at Byrd Stadium.
After putting an end to a three-game losing streak two weeks ago with a 37-17 win over Boston College, Georgia Tech fell back into the loss column last weekend, as they were outclassed at home in a 41-17 defeat to BYU. It was the fourth game this season in which the Yellow Jackets have given up more than 40 points. Georgia Tech's offense was stymied in the losing effort, failing to score a touchdown for the first time since 2008. Georgia Tech has two wins in five conference games this season and just a 3-5 record overall.
Wins and losses have come in pairs for Maryland all season. The Terps won their first two games, then lost a couple, then posted consecutive victories before losing the last two. The most recent of which was a 20-17 loss to Boston College which almost mirrored the 20-18 loss to NC State in the previous week. The Terps rallied from a 13-0 deficit in the game and led 17-13 late into the fourth quarter but Maryland could not hold off a late surge from the Eagles that was capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass by BC.
This has been a conference matchup that has been dominated by Georgia Tech lately. The Yellow Jackets have won 14 of the 20 total contests between the two squads, including a 21-16 win last season behind 120 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Tevin Washington. Georgia Tech has won four of the last five contests overall.
Washington is back to running the show in this season's matchup as well. The squad's quarterback has been the leading rusher for the Yellow Jacket's heavy rush attack with 481 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is coming off a season-low 10 yards last week. Washington's contributions have been just one of the cogs in the ACC's leading rushing offense (311.75 ypg). Orwin Smith (434 yards) and Zach Laskey (432 yards) have each posted more than 400 yards, while five other players having at least 120 yards rushing on the season.
In term's of passing the ball, Georgia Tech is nowhere near as successful or reliant. Washington has completed 59.3 percent of his pass attempts but he has thrown the ball only 91 times. He has 896 total passing yards this season and his 112.0 yards per game is the fewest among any quarterback in the conference with at least 50 completions.
The lack of passing is not concerning though because Georgia Tech runs the ball so often. In fact, Georgia Tech is fourth in the conference in total offense (455.1 ypg) and scoring (35.1 ppg).
Perhaps Georgia Tech's lack of passing offense has made the defense less prepared to defend other teams that are more pass-reliant. The Yellow Jackets have the second-worst pass defense in the conference, allowing 262.3 yards per game. Overall the Yellow Jackets are surrendering 411.6 total yards and 29.9 points per game.
Bradon Watts is second on the team in total tackles with 50 but he has been the most effective player on the squad in terms of creating negative plays. Watts has 7.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, which are the best marks on the squad. Jeremiah Attaochu and Euclid Cummings also have a pair of sacks. Isaiah Johnson is the leading tackler with 55 stops, but Johnson has been more versatile than that with 4.5 tackles for loss, with a sack, an interception and a forced fumble.
Finding a quarterback that can last has proven to be an impossible task for Maryland this season. C.J. Brown went down prior to the season's start. Perry Hills injured his knee two weeks ago, forcing him out for the remainder of the year, as well as Devin Burns (Lisfranc) and now Caleb Rowe (torn ACL) falling victim. Rowe's injury is particularly devastating after he looked solid against Boston College, throwing for 240 yards and a pair of touchdowns. There are now no quarterbacks on the roster. This week head coach Randy Edsall will have to turn to another position player with linebacker Shawn Petty likely to get the nod.
Not having the quarterback situation sorted out is not exactly a recipe to improve on what has been the ACC's worst offense this season. The Terps are posting only 300.5 yards per game, which is the lowest mark in the conference. Maryland is also the lowest scoring offensive team in the conference (20.8 ppg).
Wes Brown and Justus Pickett will be called on to literally carry the offense now. Brown has rushed for a team-high 344 yards this season and Pickett has accumulated 142. The pair have combined for five touchdowns on the ground but have yet to prove that they have the ability to really carry the bulk of the offensive responsibility.
Perhaps hurt the most by the lack of a quarterback is freshman Stefon Diggs, who has enjoyed a very good season, with 666 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 38 receptions. Diggs will provide a good target for whoever is under center the rest of the way.
Maryland's saving grace is its defense. The Terps are ranked second in the conference in both total defense (289.3 ypg) and scoring defense (20.3 ppg). The team has pounded squads in the backfield, especially opposing quarterbacks, with 24 sacks this season.
Defensive tackle Joe Vellano has been a dominating force up front with a conference-high 14.0 tackles for loss to go along with five sacks. Vellano's teammates have also gotten in the mix with Darin Drakeford (8.0 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks) A.J. Francis (7.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks) and Demetrius Hartsfield (7.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks) finding their way into the backfield often. Hartsfield is also the team's leading tackler with 69.
Defensively, Maryland is built to beat a team like Georgia Tech with the Terps' ability to cause havoc in the backfield, a perfect counter to the Yellow Jackets' run game. However with the Terps having to rely on a non- quarterback under center, they will not have enough offensive punch to get the job done.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 21, Maryland 7
10/31 10:43:06 ET