Duke at Georgia Tech
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 13, Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field, Atlanta, Ga., 12:20 p.m. EDT.
Duke looks to begin its climb out of the cellar in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday when it takes on a Georgia Tech team looking for its third straight win.
The Blue Devils (4-1, 0-1 ACC Coastal) have been idle since getting thumped 31-14 at home by Virginia Tech on Sept. 29, a defeat that knocked them out of the AP Top 25. Duke has won just four of its last 17 conference games dating back to 2016, with one of them a 43-20 drubbing of the Yellow Jackets last year.
Blue Devils look to get back to ball-hawking ‘D’
After forcing six turnovers in its first three victories and limiting North Carolina-Central to 187 total yards in its fourth win, it all came undone for Duke against the Hokies two weeks ago.
The Blue Devils allowed a season-worst 413 yards, including 332 through the air as five different Virginia Tech players had at least one reception of 24 yards or longer and exploited the absence of injured all-ACC corner Mark Collins.
“It’s a next-man-up philosophy,” defensive co-coordinator Matt Guerrieri told Duke’s official website. “What you saw in that game was the next guy up stepping up and taking his responsibility seriously. Our criteria for a defensive back is the ability to run, the ability to cover and the ability to tackle.”
The 11.86 yards per attempt allowed was nearly double their season mark of 6.74 as Duke looks to get back to making game-breaking plays its secondary has been known for in recent seasons.
— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) October 5, 2018
Though the defense struggled, the Blue Devils offense welcomed the return of quarterback Daniel Jones after he missed the last two games with a fractured collarbone suffered in the win over Northwestern on Sept. 8.
Jones went 23 of 35 for 226 yards and a touchdown with an interception, giving him 615 yards and five TD passes while completing 70.3 percent of his 74 attempts thus far. The redshirt junior looked no worse for the wear, and coach David Cutcliffe made it a point to adjust the offense to keep his signal-caller out of harm’s way.
“He wasn’t antsy at all,” Cutcliffe noted post-game. “There were some things we were going to stay away from as far as certain parts of the run game with him but he threw the ball well. He could’ve had two or three more touchdown passes in there. He was courageous in the pocket and kept his eyes down the field. I thought he came back playing really well.”
Duke is seeking its second 5-1 start in four years, with the other coming in 2015. The Blue Devils are looking to avoid a second straight fall-off following a 4-0 start, having lost six straight after winning their first four games in 2017.
Ramblin’ Wreck out to continue rampage
Georgia Tech (3-3, 1-2 Coastal) has shaken off a three-game losing streak in emphatic fashion by steamrolling its last two opponents.
After dismantling Bowling Green 63-17 two weeks ago, the Yellow Jackets ran through Louisville 66-31 on Oct. 5 for their first conference win, rolling up a season-best 542 rushing yards with their triple option offense. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall had a season-high 175 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yard scamper for the opening points that set the tone of the game.
Season-High 175 Rush Yds ✔️
2 TDs ✔️
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) October 6, 2018
Marshall, who garnered ACC Offensive Player of the Week honors, has been unstoppable over the last two games as Georgia Tech has amassed 129 points and 1,086 yards. Going back to his last possession in the Yellow Jackets’ loss to then-No. 3 Clemson on Sept. 22, Marshall has directed Georgia Tech to 13 touchdowns and a field goal in his last 14 drives.
“Our quarterback was playing well and he was doing a nice job getting us in the right plays against the right fronts, and the kids played hard and executed,” coach Paul Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Offensively, if you don’t have penalties and you don’t have missed assignments, you’ve got a chance, and that’s kind of what we’ve eliminated not having the ball on the ground.”
It was the second straight game Georgia Tech did not commit a turnover, and the defense also recorded three takeaways. After forcing 10 turnovers all of last season, the Yellow Jackets have racked up 13 through their first six games. Seven different players have an interception, with defensive back Malik Rivera the only one with two INTs.
Marshall has rushed for team highs of 557 yards and nine touchdowns, while backup Tobias Oliver has also been involved with 421 yards and seven scores. Georgia Tech has rushed for 320 or more yards in all but one of its six games and easily leads FBS teams in that category at 373.0 yards per game.
Georgia Tech is:
- 6-1 ATS in its last seven games as a home favorite.
- 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games after scoring 40 or more points in its previous game.
- 8-3 ATS in its last 11 home games.
- The over is 6-2 in its last eight games as a favorite.
- The over is 4-1 in its last five games vs. above-.500 teams.
- The over is 6-2 in its last eight games after accumulating more than 450 yards in its previous game.
- 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven games following a straight up loss.
- 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven games following an ATS loss.
- 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight games vs. ACC teams.
- The over is 7-3 in its last 10 games as an underdog between 0.5 and 3.0 points.
- The over is 5-2 in its last seven games as a road underdog between 0.5 and 3.0 points.
- The over is 19-5-3 in its last 27 games following a double-digit loss at home.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Yellow Jackets have simply been awesome offensively in their last two games, and Marshall will be eager to avenge last year’s loss at Duke in which the Blue Devils scored 30 unanswered points and pitched a second-half shutout.
While Duke does have a solid run defense, holding opponents to 122.8 yards per game, Georgia Tech has been successful running the ball against in this matchup since Johnson’s arrival — the Yellow Jackets have averaged 296.1 yards in the 10 games between the teams since he took over in 2008 and won seven of them.
Duke has not forced a turnover in the last two games after creating six in its first three, and if it cannot get Marshall to put the ball on the ground, it could be a long day for the Blue Devils defense chasing shadows in that triple option set.
Prediction: Pick: Georgia Tech -2
Full-Game Total Pick
The line has already dropped from 59 points, which is somewhat surprising considering these teams have almost always put up solid numbers in terms of points. They have combined for 50 or more points in the last nine meetings, including 54 or more in the last four.
The last four games played at Georgia Tech have averaged 61.3 points and had a 38-35 barnburner the last time the teams played in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets look too good offensively to be slowed down, and Jones has played well for Duke against Georgia Tech, accounting for 646 yards and five TDs of total offense in two games.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 56.5 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
Confidence in Georgia Tech to cover in this game also means taking the Yellow Jackets and the money line in this instance.
Prediction: Pick: Georgia Tech -130
Half-Time Side Pick
Georgia Tech’s triple option is firing on all cylinders and has racked up 59 first-half points in its last two wins. With Duke giving up 130 or more rushing yards in two of its last three games, the Yellow Jackets should get going fast.
Prediction: Pick: Georgia Tech -1
Half-Time Total Bet
In addition to the Yellow Jackets finding their stride late offensively, the Blue Devils have also been a competent first-half team offensively. They have scored 95 points in the first two quarters of games this season, and with Jones likely to be able to utilize the full playbook, the teams should get to 28 combined points and more.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 27.5 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Even with Tech running the option and keeping the clock moving, both teams should be good for a touchdown to climb over 10.5 points.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 10.5 points 1st Quarter (-120)