Boston College and Georgia Tech meet in Chestnut Hill on Saturday, with both teams licking their wounds after lopsided defeats last week. BC has lost the past three match ups between these schools, with their only ACC era win coming in 2007. The Yellow Jackets enter with a 2-3 record, which includes losses to Clemson, Central Florida, and a bad Syracuse team, as well as wins over Florida State and Louisville.
I don’t think BC will get caught looking ahead to next week’s bout with Goliath Clemson, as they have something to prove in the wake of a 40-14 drubbing by Virginia Tech. BC’s first loss was a tight one against a good UNC team, so this is really the first time Jeff Hafley will have to rally his troops for a bounce-back performance. Let’s take a look at how they match up with Georgia Tech:
When BC is on Offense:
Tech is allowing an ACC worst 39.8 points and 493.2 yards per game thus far, which helps to explain how Clemson scored 52 points in the first half alone last week. Boston College’s running game was a litttttle bit better against VT, if you disregard the fumbles that is, so it would be nice to see them take another step forward. If David Bailey can get rolling, it will take a bit of weight off the broad shoulders of Phil Jurkovec, who has been tasked with creating all of the offensive output to this point.
BC’s strength is through the air, which happens to be GT’s biggest weakness on defense. The Yellow Jackets are giving up 307.6 yards and 3.2 TD passes per game. Jurkovec is second only to Trevor Lawrence among the ACC’s passing yardage leaders, so look for him to follow Lawrence’s example from last week (404 yards and 5 TD passes). With more and more defensive attention going to Zay Flowers and Hunter Long, Jaelan Gill should have the opportunity to produce more performances like last week’s 100 yard game. Points will be there for the taking, but BC needs to avoid giving away possession on turnovers.
When BC is on Defense:
The Eagles couldn’t contain Virginia Tech’s running attack last week, and while GT isn’t quite on that level, at 195.6 rushing yards per game they will pose another challenge for BC. Like Hokie Hendon Hooker, Jackets QB Jeff Sims is a capable runner, with 228 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. However, Sims has already thrown 9 interceptions on just 133 attempts, contributing to GT’s 3.0 turnovers per game. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs is the primary offensive threat for Georgia Tech. Gibbs is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, but he’s also a solid pass catching back, with 3 TD receptions on the season.
After forcing 5 turnovers in the season opener at Duke, BC has forced just 3 turnovers over the past 4 games. The defense gave up a dismal 8.2 yards per play last week, but let’s hope that was an aberration. I have a feeling the combination of Hooker and Herbert are going to continue to give opposing defenses fits as the season goes on.
Moneyline: GT +135, BC -164
After losing the turnover battle 5-0 at Virginia Tech, I’m looking for BC to not only protect the football, but also to take it away on defense. The offense rolls: Jurkovec tops 300 passing yards for a fourth straight game, and the Eagles finally eclipse 100 yards rushing for the first time this season. Bounce-back win for BC: 35-24