Virginia (4-4) at Georgia Tech (6-2) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) — Atlanta, Georgia.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Virginia 4-2, Georgia Tech 3-1. Away Record:
Virginia 0-2, Georgia Tech 3-1. Neutral Record: Virginia 0-0, Georgia Tech
0-0. Conference Record: Virginia 2-2, Georgia Tech 3-2. Series Record: Georgia
Tech leads, 18-17-1.

GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Virginia Cavaliers set out to
begin the month of November on a strong note, as they square off in an ACC
affair at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets ended a two-game slide with last weekend’s 56-28
rout of Pittsburgh on the road. The victory moved the team to 3-2 in
conference play, sitting behind only Duke (2-1) in the Coastal Division
standings. The win over the Panthers also made Tech bowl eligible for the 17th
straight season, tied for the second-longest active streak in the nation.

The head coaching seat in Charlottesville was pretty warm heading into the
2-14 campaign, but four wins in the first six games tempered things and gave
Mike London some leeway. However, the Cavaliers have fallen back to .500 with
back-to-back losses to Duke (20-13) and North Carolina (28-27), leaving
Virginia at 2-2 in the ACC. The team must now win two of its last four games
to earn bowl eligibility.

This series is highly contested with Georgia Tech clinging to a narrow 18-17-1
advantage in 36 prior meetings. Georgia Tech has won four of the last five
meetings overall and is 14-7 all-time in games played in Atlanta.

The Virginia offense lacks variety in terms of playmakers, but the numbers
have been solid nonetheless. The Cavaliers are averaging 411.8 yards of total
offense per game, with a nice balance between the run (170.1 ypg) and the pass
(241.6 ypg).

Sophomore QBs Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns have split time under center,
although Lambert has started five games, after missing three due to injury.
The pair have combined for just over 1,800 yard and 12 TDs, but have been
guilty of 11 interceptions.

Sophomore tailback Taquan Mizzell leads all players with 27 receptions, but
they have only amounted to 143 yards. Junior wideout Canaan Severin has been
much more productive with his 25 catches, going for 321 yards and three
scores.

The ground game is headlined by the top offensive player on the squad in
senior tailback Kevin Parks, who rushed for 111 yards and one TD in the loss
to the Tar Heels and now has 613 yards and four TDs on the season.

The offense for Virginia hasn’t been running on all cylinders, but the defense
has played well throughout the campaign. the Cavaliers ranks 21st in the
nation in total defense and have forced 20 turnovers in the first eight games.

Virginia boasts serious talent in the secondary, headlined by freshman Quin
Blanding and senior Anthony Harris at the safety positions. Blanding has made
an immediate impact with a team-high 76 tackles and two INTs. Harris was an
All-American a year ago and has 71 tackles this season, with one pick. Senior
linebacker Henry Coley (53 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 6.0 sacks) and junior end Eli
Harold (42 tackles, 12.0 TFL, 7.0 sacks) force the issue upfield.

As one of the better offensive teams in the country, Georgia Tech puts a lot
of pressure on opposing defenses, thanks to Johnson’s patented triple-option.
The Yellow Jackets are putting up 37.1 ppg this year on 481.8 yards of total
offense, with most of that coming via the run, where the team ranks third
nationally at 326.1 ypg.

Quarterback Justin Thomas leads the way under center and is the right man for
the job. He leads the Yellow Jackets in rushing this season with 717 yards and
four TDs. Thomas doesn’t pass much, but he has thrown 11 TDs passes against
just three INTs.

Other offensive players of note include tailback Zach Laskey (595 yards, 5
TDs) and wideout DeAndre Smelter (20 rec, 462 yds, 5 TDs).

While the offensive has flourished this season, the Tech defense has
languished and gives back much of what the Yellow Jackets gain. The team is
yielding a generous 429.4 yards per game and has been vulnerable to the run
and the pass this year. The team has forced 16 turnovers, but has just 11
sacks in the first eight games.

Sophomore linebacker P.J. Davis leads the way with 63 tackles and has 5.5 TFL,
2.5 sacks, 1 INT and 2 FF. Senior linebacker Quayshawn Nealy is next in line
with 56 tackles and has 1 INT and 2 FR to his credit.

Virginia has played good defense for the most part this season, but getting
off the field against the Yellow Jackets is easier said than done. Georgia
Tech is running at full speed now and the Cavs could be in for a long day in
Atlanta.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 40, Virginia 24