The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets enter this game against UNC on Saturday, coming off a disappointing 28-25 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks last Saturday. Whereas the extremely shorthanded Tar Heels, playing without 13 players including offensive stars Greg Little, Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn and their entire starting defensive secondary, lost 30-24 to the LSU Tigers in a valiant comeback attempt by the Heels.
Luckily for the Heels this week, starting running back Shaun Draughn rejoins the team as they continue to look for a consistent running game to Quarterback T.J. Yates. Yates played extremely well in the opener by completing 28 of 46 passes for 412 yards and 3 Touchdowns.
Ultimately, the keys of the game this week for UNC against Georgia Tech are to establish the running game early in order to take some pressure of Yates. The last thing the Tar Heels want is to become one-dimensional on offense and allow that Georgia Tech front four to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. Also, offensive coordinator John Shoop needs to continue to a good job of getting the ball to his playmakers on offense such as Jheranie Boyd, Erik Highsmith and Zack Pianalto.
As for the Defense, it is extremely important for UNC’s young defensive ends Kareem Martin, Donte Paige-Moss and Quinton Coples to stay disciplined against this deadly Georgia Tech triple option offense. Georgia Tech Quarterback Josh Nesbitt has top-end speed and is now in his third season as a starter for the Yellow Jackets. It will also be interesting to see of course how the Tar Heels perform on special teams this week after being burned on them multiple times by LSU in the season opener.
All in all, I feel fairly confident that the UNC defense will be more than up to the challenge against Paul Johnson’s triple option offense and that the young defense will play exponentially better after the bye-week. I also think the Tar Heels have some budding young starts at the Wide Receiver position and I am excited to see the passing game continue to improve throughout the year.
The Yellow Jackets are going to pose quite the challenge though for the Tar Heels, and I see this game being extremely close throughout. My prediction is that UNC will pull this one out 24-21 over the Yellow Jackets. I have a feeling that Erik Highsmith is going to have a big day for the Heels.
About the Author
Written by Tom Waterman
I am an aspiring Sports Journalist, who is currently majoring in Communications at Elon University.