As the autumn leaves start to fall and the wind turns cold, the Eagles will fly south to Hot-lanta to face the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech on November 13th. Let us examine just what type of hornets’ nest BC will be walking into.
Last season the Eagles washed the bad memories of Dublin 2016 out of their mouths with a thrashing of then second year head coach Geof Collins’s Yellow Jackets, 48-27, at home in Alumni. It was one of, sadly, few success BC has had against the Yellow Jackets, as Georgia Tech leads the series 7-3.
Geof Collins took over the Tech program in 2019 from the legendary Paul Johnson and it has been a bit of a slow start. Collins has only managed 3 wins in each of his first two seasons and according to ESPN, this is not the year Tech makes a great leap. With an FPI of 2.3, Georgia Tech is ranked 57th and predicted to have 4 to 5 wins. Yet this is a team that, according to Bill Connelly of ESPN, is returning 83% of their offense and defensive production (13th Ranked in the nation) as 12 of their 22 starters from last year’s squad are coming back.
While Tech ranked second to last offensively in the ACC last year, they do return their biggest offensive pieces in quarterback Jeff Sims and and freshman All-American running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Overall, the Yellow Jackets are returning their top 5 rushers including Sims, Gibbs, running backs Jordan Mason, Jamious Griffin, and Dontae Smith. Gibbs was also 2nd on the team in receiving yards last season and is the leader among returning player. Needless to say this a team that has relied on the run to set up the pass and 2021 does not seem like it will be that different. Sims was put through the crucible last year and that actually bodes well for him this year as many expect him to take great strides (not hard given his 13 INTs last season).
The Yellow Jackets weren’t much better on defense, surrendering the 2nd most points in the ACC and giving up an average of 459.3 yards per game, including 270.1 passing yards per game. Among the talent that is returning is linebacker Quez Jackson who was second on the team in tackles, the team’s sack leader Jordan Domineck, and the team’s top 2 corners, Zamari Walton and Tariq Carpenter. In addition, Geof Collins has tried to beef up the returning talent with several additions from the transfer portal including redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Kevin Harris who comes to Tech from Alabama, linebacker Ayinde Eley from Maryland Kenyatta Watson II, a defensive back from Texas. What that leaves us with is a defense that is returning a fair number of starters and adds some fresh talent as well and…we’ll have to see. The transfers may bolster the defense but it is a unit that does seem to be a year or two from being a real threat.
I would be weary of this Georgia Tech team if I were BC. BC follows up Georgia Tech with Florida State, so there is the danger that they could get caught looking ahead. BC is also traveling to Atlanta where Tech usually gets a good boost from their crowd (maybe back-to-back losing seasons will hurt that). Lastly, Tech may not win a lot of football games this year, but they have the talent to steal one. The loss of Chibueze Onwuka weakens a very unproven front seven for the Eagles and if Tech can get the run going and set up the play action pass for Sims, the Yellow Jackets could keep the game close.
That being said the Eagles should not have a difficult time scoring on the Yellow Jackets and by November who can say for sure what the BC defense will look like. Thus, while I would peg this as a potential trap game for the Eagles, I still forecast an Eagles victory,