Georgia Tech football faces perfect bounce-back opportunity vs. Syracuse

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 09: Jordan Mason #27 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets rushes in the first half during a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium on November 9, 2019 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 09: Jordan Mason #27 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets rushes in the first half during a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium on November 9, 2019 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

Georgia Tech football heads back on the road looking to go 2-0 in ACC play as they face the winless Syracuse Orange. Perfect time to bounce back.

Georgia Tech heads into Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record in what has been an already up-and-down season. The Yellow Jackets picked up a huge season-opening win at Florida State 16-13. Last weekend did not go as well for Georgia Tech after getting smoked in their home opener against UCF 49-21.

Syracuse’s season has not been a memorable start for them as things appear rough for the men in orange and blue. After being down just 10-6 after three quarters, Syracuse surrendered 21 fourth quarter points to lose their season opener against 18th ranked North Carolina 31-6. Last week’s game against 25th ranked Pittsburgh Panthers did not go as well as they lost once again on the road 21-10.

Despite the blow out loss to UCF last week, Georgia Tech is riding in with some confidence being undefeated in ACC play. The DNA of Georgia Tech has been running in recent years. Their passing game appears to be in the game-plan more often than it has been in the past.

Syracuse is still trying to find an identity to their team. Offensively, the team has struggled mightily in every aspect of passing and running the ball. The defense has played well at different times in the game but has been inconsistent to start the season.

Here’s everything you need to know for the Georgia Tech-Syracuse ACC showdown this Saturday:

Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Syracuse, NY
Venue: Carrier Dome
Live Stream: WatchESPN

Keys to Victory

Georgia Tech freshman quarterback Jeff Simms has had some good and bad moments this season. Simms’ rushing ability makes him dangerous for any defense but tends to turn the ball over too much. He’s thrown for two interceptions in each of the first two games of the year. His youth means he needs time to develop, but facing a team like Syracuse that has struggled could be the game Simms hits his stride.

The defense of Georgia Tech’s game-plan is pretty simple against Syracuse: pressure the quarterback. Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito has already been sacked a whopping 14 times in two games this season. That type of pressure has resulted in bad play at quarterback and a lack of consistency on offense.

The bad news is the Yellow Jackets have only recorded five sacks in two games themselves. Players like defensive lineman Curtis Ryans must come up big and knock the quarterback out of rhythm.

In reality, Syracuse has to do a lot of things to win this game, but number one has to be what was mentioned in the last paragraph: protect the quarterback. The Orange has an interesting situation between DeVito and Rex Culpepper both getting playing time at quarterback. Neither player has taken the job, but DeVito appears to be the starter for now. The offensive line must be better at not only pass protection but opening lanes in the running game as well.

On the defensive side of the ball, Syracuse has to stop the running game of Georgia Tech. While the Yellow Jackets have picked up quite a bit on passing the ball, Simms is a freshman and has turned the ball over four times passing. Syracuse junior defensive back Andre Cisco is the star of the secondary with one interception already this season and 13 in his career.

If the Orange can shut down the running game and force Simms to beat them through the air, their veteran secondary could take advantage of freshman mistakes being made.

Betting Odds

Odds courtesy of The Action Network

Point Spread: Georgia Tech -7.5
Over/under: 52


Syracuse’s offense has been nothing but trouble for the team in two games with the defense keeping them in both games. Their quarterback position must get solved quickly for them to be successful. It seems hard to believe that the offense can finally pick up momentum, but Georgia Tech’s defense allowed 49 points last week which is an advantage for the Orange.

Georgia Tech must cut down on turnovers and focus on what they do best: running the football. Simms has the ability of being a difference maker in the offense if he protects the football. Focusing on running the ball more than passing it will take pressure off of the freshman quarterback. Simms could have a big day on the ground with two games under his belt.

Expect Georgia Tech to put up a lot of yards on offense, but Syracuse’s defense keeps them in the game the whole time.

Final Score: Georgia Tech 23, Syracuse 16

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