Written by Brian Pohl
Atlanta, GA- Following a blowout win over Louisville, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets return home to take on ACC Coastal foe in the Duke Blue Devils.
With two straight comfortable victories, the Yellow Jackets are back at 3-3 on the season after a rough stretch at the start of the year against a difficult schedule. Georgia Tech now shifts their focus towards a divisional opponent, as they are set to take on a solid Duke Blue Devils team that sits 4-1 on the year.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson on the upcoming game against Duke and the challenges they present, “We’re looking forward to being back home and having a chance to play a really good Duke team. I think that Coach Cut has done a really nice job there. They’re really, really good defensively. They run to the ball, play hard, and when they have their quarterback in there, they present a lot of problems offensively, as well.”
Offensively, the Yellow Jackets will try to continue their run of recent success where they have scored 60 points or more each of the last two games. They will have a difficult test, however, as the Duke defense has given up just 18.4 points per game this season, which ranks third in the ACC.
Leading the way for Georgia Tech on offense is senior quarterback Taquon Marshall, who has seemingly found his footing after an inconsistent start to the season. Under Marshall, the Jackets have scored on 14 straight offensive possessions, and coach Johnson hopes to see continued progression of the offense under the leadership of Marshall.
Coach Johnson on Marshalls improved play the last two weeks, “I think he’s limited his mistakes and played within the system, and he’s got good ability. He’s quick, and he’s made good decisions, and when we play with no turnovers and no penalties, we can be pretty effective.”
Redshirt freshman Jordan Mason has carried the load in the backfield for Georgia Tech following a season-ending knee injury to KirVonte Benson earlier in the year, and the freshman hasn’t disappointed. With 443 rushing yards and four touchdowns, Mason has been solid and has improved every week as he gains more experience in his first year with playing time.
On defense, the Jackets will matchup up with one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC when they face Duke’s junior quarterback Daniel Jones. The key for Georgia Tech will be trying to slow down Jones and avoiding any big play mistakes in the passing game. The Yellow Jackets have allowed 28.3 per game this year under new defensive coordinator Nate Woody, and whether or not the Jackets can slow down Jones and the Duke offense will determine if they will come out with the victory Saturday.
Coach Johnson on Daniel Jones, “He’s a good player. He’s got good size. He’s a dual-threat guy. He can hurt you running the ball as well as throwing the ball. I think probably the thing that’s most impressive with him is he doesn’t usually make mistakes. I think he understands what he’s doing. He understands defenses, and he operates their system at a high level. I think he’s a really good player.”
This will be a fun ACC Coastal Division matchup between two teams fighting to move up the division standings. The key will be if the Georgia Tech defense, and especially the secondary, can slow down Daniel Jones and the Duke offense enough for their offense to continue their good work of late.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Duke Blue Devils will kick off from Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia at 12:20 p.m.