Here's The Deal: Georgia Tech has answered back-to-back losses in October with back-to-back routs, ensuring a 20th consecutive season of at least a .500 record. And after pummeling Virginia, 35-10, last week, the Yellow Jackets remain in the Coastal Division race … barely. Tech doesn’t hold the tiebreaker with Duke, meaning a Blue Devil slip-up will be necessary to erase the gap.
NC State is coming off a seminal win. Yeah, it was a ho-hum victory over fading Syracuse, but it was also Dave Doeren’s first ACC victory at the school. And it pulled the Pack to within a W of bowl-eligibility.
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: State has one of the league’s worst defenses. Tech has the ACC’s leading offenses. It ought to be a big day for Yellow Jacket QB Justin Thomas, the budding conductor of Paul Johnson’s ground-based attack. Thomas continues to evolve within the triple-option, leading the team in rushing, while firing 14 touchdown passes. WR DeAndre Smelter will be a particularly tall order for an average Pack pass defense.
Why NC State Might Win: Now that the ACC monkey is off its back, the Wolfpack can go about the business of picking up that critical sixth win needed to bowl. Georgia Tech is soft on defense, especially against the run, where it yields well over five yards a carry.
This is the type of game—and opponent—in which NC State might want to highlight the athleticism of QB Jacoby Brissett and the running ability of Shadrach Thornton, Matt Dayes and Tony Creecy, who each average more than five yards a carry.
Who To Watch Out For: The Pack has given up 21 sacks, which has somewhat stifled Brissett’s development. Although the Jackets don’t have a consistent pass rush, they’ll want to unleash from the second level with linebackers P.J. Davis and Quayshawn Nealy. Plus, rookie DE KeShun Freeman is quickly becoming a force off the edge.
What’s Going To Happen: Georgia Tech’s roll won’t be stopped by inconsistent NC State. While the Yellow Jacket offense is humming, the Wolfpack continues to stumble, a recipe for a futile attempt to rally after falling behind. With Thomas once again leading the charge, Tech will win comfortably for the third straight week.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 35 … NC State 21
Line: Georgia Tech -4 o/u: 60.5