Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#333 Georgia Tech vs.
#334 UCF
Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 4:00pm EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head further south to Orlando, Florida to take on Central Florida on Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets are looking to get back to .500 after being blasted by Ole Miss last weekend. Meanwhile, the Knights are looking to improve to 3-1 on the season after beating Florida Atlantic soundly last weekend. The opening kickoff on Saturday is set for 4:00pm EST.

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Hitting the Road after a Home-humbling

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fell to 1-2 on the season on Saturday after getting blasted by #20 Ole Miss, 42-0 at home. The Yellow Jackets have now lost by a combined 83-10 to the two ranked teams they have played this season, both at home. In their last five games against Power Five conference teams, the Yellow Jackets have lost all five by a total of 183-10. The Yellow Jackets will be on the road for the first time this year when they head to Orlando.

"That was hard. Not up to the standard of Georgia Tech Football that completely falls on me as the head football coach. I thought we were prepared, I thought we had a good game plan, I thought we were ready to handle any adversity that showed. I don't know that there are any positives to take out of that, offensively, defensively, special teams. As soon as we leave here, it is on to cleaning up the mistakes, and onto the next opponent. Not a lot of positives to talk about and that falls on me." Head coach Geoff Collins said after the discouraging loss. 

Georgia Tech was never able to get going on Saturday, falling behind 14-0 after allowing Ole Miss scores on each of their first two possessions. By halftime the game was 21-0 and got only worse in the second half as the Rebels scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions to put the game away. The Yellow Jackets never really got anything going offensively save for a drive in the second quarter deep into Ole Miss territory. Trailing 14-0, Collins decided to forego a field goal on fourth and goal from the four and Georgia Teach was turned way, essentially putting the game away. Quarterback Jeff Sims went 18-of-32 on the game for 161 yards for Georgia Tech.

It is hard to find many positives defensively in a 41-0 loss but linebacker Ayinde Eley continued his stellar season against Ole Miss. Eley had 12 tackles, including three for a loss and added a sack and forced fumble on the day as well. He leads the team in tackles, tackles for loss and fumble recoveries on the season

The Yellow Jackets will hit the road for the first time after a mostly miserable three-game home stand in which the Yellow Jackets were outscored 100-45. Overall, Georgia Tech has been miserable on offense with an average of 264 total yards per game. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets are allowing 438 yards per game including 254 yards per game passing. Even more troubling, the Yellow Jackets are allowing an average of nearly 12.5 yards per pass play. The only saving grace for the Yellow Jackets is the team's +4 turnover differential on the season but they only have 14 points off of turnovers all season.

Home on the Road

After a tough 20-14 home loss to Louisville on September 9th, the Knights bounced back with a huge road win over Florida Atlantic, 40-14 on Saturday night. The win improved UCF to 2-1 on the season and marked the team's 4th straight win over Florida Atlantic.

"Overall, I think we played a lot cleaner game," head coach Gus Malzahn said in a post game press conference. "We talked about that, we gotta keep improving, I mean we can't beat ourself.

"We preached really hard on that all last week."

Knights quarterback John Rhys Plumlee went 25-of-36 for 339 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran the ball 20 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Overall the Knights gained 653 yards of total offense. In the second half alone, the Knights had 327 yards of total offense and outscored Florida Atlantic 24-0.

Coming into the second half, the Knights led just 16-14 but the defenses came alive to completely shut down Florida Atlantic. For the game, FAU had 296 yards of total offense but only 18 yards of total offense in the second half. They had five tackles for loss and two sacks in the game and recovered one fumble.

UCF is scoring nearly 37 points per game and allowing 15. The Knights running game has been humming along with an average of 5.7 yards per rush and 253 yards per game on the season. Defensively, they have allowed the opposition to rush for 4.2 yards per carry and 150 yards per game. UCF is converting on 3rd down at a sparkling 53% thus far this season while holding the opposition to 26%. The Knights have a -2 turnover differential this season, including losing three out of five fumbles thus far in the run-heavy offense.

 

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Full-Game Side Bet

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At some point, Collins and the Yellow Jackets have to perform against an above-average opponent or the Collins regime will be quite short at Georgia Tech. This might be the best opportunity for Collins' squad. The team takes to the road in this one, the first road game of the season. While the Yellow Jackets have been blasted by their last five Power Five conference teams, UCF does not reside in such a conference. UCF's inability to protect the football should play into Georgia Tech's hands in this matchup. The Yellow Jackets' defense is far more susceptible to the pass while the Knights' offense is led by its ground attack. Georgia Tech has held the opposition to just 3.9 yards per carry thus far and will have a chance to make plays in this one, particularly from star linebacker Ayinde Eley. A nearly three-touchdown line is far too much for UCF in this matchup. They should be able to hold their own and put up some points but their propensity to turn the ball over will give the Yellow Jackets a chance at some additional possessions and some possibly in the red zone.

Take the points and go with the Yellow Jackets.

Prediction: Georgia Tech +20.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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While Georgia Tech has averaged just 15 points per game this season, they have played two Top 25 programs and scored a total of 10 points in those games. They have given up two huge point totals but, again, against two of the best teams in the country. UCF will not vary from their game plan of a run-first offense. Even in their loss to the Louisville Cardinals two weeks ago, the Knights still ran the ball 38 times. Georgia Tech has given up big plays this season but mainly to the pass. The game should move along quickly with the UCF ground attack. I expect this game to be played much more like the Louisville/UCF game that was played to a 34-point total. It will get higher than that but not much more. Expect a game in the 40s and much closer than the 20-point line as the Yellow Jackets' defense is able to keep UCF from big plays on the ground.

Take the under, 56.5 points.

Prediction: Under 56.5 points
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.