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irish insider

Head-to-Head: Georgia Tech Yellowjackets

| Friday, October 30, 2020

Notre Dame Passing

Georgia Tech is giving up 280.5 yards per game through the air on the season. Were this contest immediately following Notre Dame’s meandering passing performance against Louisville, there might have been cause for worry. However, following a 319-yard outburst against Pittsburgh, albeit one in which graduate student quarterback Ian Book only completed 16-30 passes, the Irish should fare well against a Yellowjackets secondary that is ill-equipped to handle the versatility provided not only by Notre Dame’s receivers, but their tight ends and running backs as well.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Notre Dame Rushing

Georgia Tech has given up nearly 200 rushing yards per game this season. While Notre Dame ran for just over two yards per carry against Pitt, they got every yard they needed to, and Pitt has a strong run defense if nothing else (and it doesn’t seem like they have much else). This should be a game where the rejuvenated Notre Dame pass game (see 312 yards against Pitt) opens up opportunities as it keeps Georgia Tech honest, and Kyren Williams should legitimately have another shot at a 100-yard performance on the ground.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Notre Dame Offensive Coaching 

The only way Georgia Tech gets the edge here is if Tommy Rees lays an egg, and a massive one at that, while looking ahead to Clemson. The Yellowjackets are still hemorrhaging points to defenses even when factoring out the 73 they gave up to Clemson. Notre Dame is hitting its stride offensively and will probably view this game as a tune up for Nov. 7, which means giving the Tigers more to think about based on what they see from the Irish in this game.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Notre Dame Offensive Special Teams

Brian Polian’s special teams crowd has faced some blunders in its first few outings but was finally able to shine with a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown last week against Pitt. But the Yellowjackets have an interesting case study in their kicking group with two true freshmen split kicking responsibilities. Jude Kelley has made one field goal this year and has had three blocked, and he is three of four on extra point attempts. Classmate Gavin Stewart has taken over duties for point afters and has missed two of his own already going 11-13 so far. Although this group has struggled to lift its feet off the ground, the Irish have a clear edge over the Yellowjackets when it comes to special teams. 

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Georgia Tech Passing

Freshman quarterback Jeff Sims has had his moments for Georgia Tech this season. He occasionally throws a beautiful deep ball when the defense blows coverage and he has enough time behind his offensive line, but those two scenarios do not occur very frequently. He’s thrown eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions and is barely completing 55% of his passes. Notre Dame’s secondary seemed to finally figure out how to intercept a pass against Pittsburgh, so expect another one or two in this one.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Georgia Tech Rushing

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs is a quality player for the Yellowjackets, better than the 308 yards and two touchdowns he has recorded so far this season as a result of running behind a subpar offensive line. Sims also provides some dual threat ability at quarterback as their second leading rusher. However, Notre Dame has been stout against the run this season, making up in tackles for loss what they are not getting in sacks. Expect the Irish defensive front to get good push in the trenches and keep Georgia Tech in check on the ground.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Georgia Tech Offensive Coaching

Georgia Tech is averaging 22.8 points per game. Take out the seven they scored against Clemson and it’s 26 every contest. Notre Dame has given up 26 all season to a team Georgia Tech beat 16-13, and that was coming off of a cancellation of team activities because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the Irish program. Since that game, Notre Dame has surrendered less than 10 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2012. Clark Lea has his defense firing on virtually all cylinders, with one of the best third down defenses nationally, and they should handle the Yellowjackets just fine.

EDGE: Notre Dame

 

Georgia Tech Offensive Special Teams

One out of five. That’s Georgia Tech’s conversion rate on field goals this season. Granted, two of those were blocked against Florida State, and the one they converted ended up being the deciding factor in the Yellowjackets’ win against the Seminoles. However, they are also 14-17 on extra points. Their punt and kickoff returns are nothing to turn one’s head at, so without a reliable kicking game or a reliable enough offense to get them in field goal range, chalk this one up to the Irish.

EDGE: Notre Dame

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