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Five Reasons Georgia Tech Football Should Be Concerned Playing Duke: A Fan’s Take
Even though the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets play their big rivalry game a week from Saturday (Nov. 26) against the Georgia Bulldogs, they cannot look past this weekend's opponent, the Duke Blue Devils (Nov. 19). Duke may have a 3-7 record, but the Blue Devils had legitimate chances to win four of their games, including a 14-10 loss to current No. 8 Virginia Tech.
As an ardent Georgia Tech fan, I am optimistic that the Jackets will win, but I still think there are five reasons to be concerned.
#1: Attaochu's Suspension
Georgia Tech linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu will be sitting out the first half against Duke because of a suspension handed down by head coach Paul Johnson. You can read my take on the suspension here. Attaochu has contributed 48 tackles, 5 sacks, and 1 interception to the defense this year. On top of that, he was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after the Jackets' win over the University of North Carolina on Sept. 24.
#2: Duke's Formidable Passing Attack
Duke's passing offense ranks 27th nationally in yards per game. In last week's game against Virginia (Nov. 12), Blue Devils quarterback Sean Renfree threw for over 300 yards. For the season, Renfree has completed over 65 percent of his passes. And in last season's loss to Georgia Tech, he threw for 334 yards.
#3: Duke's Defensive Adjustments
The Blue Devils are adjusting their defense to combat Georgia Tech's option offense. Duke is certainly taking this game seriously and using a special defense against the Yellow Jackets is part of its game-plan.
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said, "We have dedicated a lot of time to defending Georgia Tech's offense since we've been here. … We have a separate playbook that doesn't sound or look anything like our regular defense, and our youngsters have been learning once they come in."
#4: Duke's Home-Field Advantage
This is the final home game at Wallace Wade Stadium for Duke this year. This means the seniors on the team will be extra-motivated and will want to go out on a winning note. Also, playing at home in front of a friendly crowd is always an advantage.
#5: Georgia Tech's Rivalry Game Next Week vs. University of Georgia
As I already mentioned, Georgia Tech must focus on this week's game and not look ahead to next Saturday's game against the arch-rival Bulldogs. There will be plenty of time to prepare for that game.
While I fully expect the Yellow Jackets to win this game, I am still concerned that this is one of those "danger" games. These are five of the factors that could work against Georgia Tech if it is not careful. But I have the utmost faith in coach Johnson that he will have his team and coaching staff fully prepared.
Joe is an ardent Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fan currently living in Florida.
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