When: Saturday, November 26, 2016
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Odds: The Bulldogs are four-point favorites, via OddsShark.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-4, 4-4) travel east to Athens on Saturday afternoon to take on the Georgia Bulldogs (7-4, 4-4) in the season finale for both schools.
The Yellow Jackets enter this game winners of two straight and four of their last five. Quarterback Justin Thomas returned in last week’s victory over Virginia after missing GT’s upset win at Virginia Tech the week before.
After an up-and-down beginning to head coach Kirby Smart’s first year at Georgia, the Bulldogs have started to play well. Winners of three straight, the ‘Dawgs have gotten three straight strong outings from junior running back Nick Chubb. In UGA’s three-game winning streak, Chubb has rushed for 294 yards.
Georgia freshman quarterback Jacob Eason has displayed moments of brilliance in his debut season. He’s led the Bulldogs on a pair of game-winning drives and almost had another one in the last-second loss to Tennessee. Over the last five weeks, Eason has just one interception and hasn’t thrown more than one in a game all season.
This game, like most when you play Georgia Tech, will be determined by how well the ‘Dawgs defend GT’s triple option.
The Bulldogs are solid against the run, ranking No. 33 nationally allowing 133 yards per game. Opponents average under four yards per attempt.
But you can throw rankings out the window.
The triple option is so unique to defend and it will be interesting to see how UGA—under Smart—defends it.
This game, known as ‘Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,’ has been a bit one-sided in recent years. Georgia won last year in Atlanta, 13-7, and has won six of the seven previous meetings and 13 of the past 15. Outside of 2012, these games are always relatively close since Paul Johnson took over the Jackets back in 2008.
UGA leads the all-time series, 65-40-5.
So, what happens?
Determining and predicting who will win this game in 2016 is essentially a toss-up. It’s not like Georgia is particularly strong at home. The Bulldogs almost lost to Nicholls in Athens back in September and did lose to Vanderbilt in October.
In fact, there is not one particular area where Georgia hangs its hat. They should have a strong running game, but a weak offensive line limits how good this unit should be.
For Tech, if it can gain get chunk plays from the running game, something will be open later down the field. That’s how the Yellow Jackets will keep it close and frustrate the ‘Dawgs.
This game will go down to the final minutes, perhaps even the final drive. But Smart won’t have the answer to the option and that will prove to be the difference in this one.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Georgia 24