The Duke Blue Devils (4-6) will look to keep their bowl hopes alive against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-4) this Saturday. Tech will look to lock up their own bowl berth, starting at 3:30 EST from Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham.
It’s no secret the Yellow Jackets are way better at home in Atlanta than they are away from it. But besides a tight loss to Virginia, the other two teams they’ve played on the road were potential top-four teams, Clemson and Miami.
Coming off a big win over Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech will have the added motivation of trying to clinch a bowl berth. Since their game against UCF was cancelled, they won’t play a full schedule. They only have one more game after this, and that would be against a top-10 Georgia. Needless to say, they need this one. If the option works the way it did against Virginia Tech, then they should be just fine.
For Duke, this is also a must-win to make a bowl game. It’ll be hard enough winning at Wake Forest next week, but they have to deal with this rushing attack first. They at least have a top-50 rushing defense, but they’ve looked a bit less stable in the front seven the last three weeks.
They’ll come into this Saturday as 6 ½-point underdogs.
Georgia Tech is not only 7-1-1 this season ATS, but they are playing a Blue Devils team that hasn’t won any of their past six spreads. It’s true that Tech hasn’t won a road game this year, but they played Clemson hard and lost by one-point to Miami.
Duke has been wearing down a bit against better rushing teams recently. Army and Virginia Tech were able to slowly chip away on them for victories, and Pitt was able to rack up nearly 6.0 YPC against them for 336 rush yards. Florida State had 5.7 YPC against them the week before that.
Seeing 202 carries over the last four games is clearly taking its toll. Duke has lost six games in a row after an inspiring 4-0 start. Only one of those losses, last week to Army, was by less than a touchdown. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech was bouncing back with their win over a ranked Hokies team with plenty of talent.
Tech will take a bit of a hit with OL Scott Morgan out, but that’s one spot where they have depth.
For Duke, their own run game has been all but shut down the last few weeks. They’re averaging 2.8 YPC over their last three contests, with only 266 yards rushing over that span. It’s also been tough through the air, as they have less than 250 yards passing the last two games combined. It’s a pretty far dip for a team that doesn’t have many injuries.
Daniel Jones has taken a step back at the quarterback position. While RB Shaun Wilson still has 5.4 YPC, he hasn’t broken over 50 yards in a month. Giving him more carries could pay dividends for the Blue Devils. But they’ve only allowed him to have over 15 carries twice, so don’t expect their strategy to change.
Georgia Tech has momentum and plenty of incentive for this game. They’re getting contributions from different sources week-by-week, and have KirVonte Benson as a strong lead back. QB TaQuon Marshall will do the rest in short-yardage situations, and Georgia Tech shouldn’t have many problems in this one.