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THE COLUMN: Virginia at Georgia Tech Complete Preview

TIME: 3:30 PM (EST)

DATE: November 17th, 2018

LOCATION: Bobby Dodd Stadium | Atlanta, GA


The Lowdown

This is where things get interesting for the Hoos. Last week, Virginia closed out Scott Stadium with a 45-24 win over the Liberty Flames. While they won by a 21-point margin, the game actually felt a lot closer as the Flames stuck around for a good portion of the matchup. The Cavaliers now go on the road for the final two regular season games, with the first one being in Atlanta - against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

This week’s matchup is an intriguing one that could be troubling for the Hoos. Georgia Tech’s well-known triple option offense is all about running the ball. So much so that Head Coach Paul Johnson’s team is first in the country in rushing offense - with 362.4 yards. Virginia’s run defense, on paper, is stingy and ranked at 37th (136.3). But, the Hoos’ defensive line has been severely disabled with multiple injuries. Two weeks ago, Pittsburgh ran the ball all over Virginia and, against Liberty, the Cavaliers again struggled to stop the run.

There’s no doubt that the Yellow Jackets will go into this game looking to run all-day. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall has to know that though and will try to ready his players for the challenge. At 7-3 on the season, this year has been a huge success for in the eyes of many fans. In fact, UVA has secured its first winning season since 2011. The team will look to add to that win column down in Georgia this Saturday.

The Statistics

from Danny Neckel

The Bad

Category UVA Category GT
Category UVA Category GT
3rd Down Defense 82nd (41.1%) 3rd Down Offense 19th (46.2%)
Yards Offense 87th (376.4) Yards Defense 42nd (356.3)
Passing Offense 91st (201.1) Passing Defense 53rd (218)

The Good

Category UVA Category GT
Category UVA Category GT
Passing Defense 30th (192.5) Passing Offense 126th (88.4)
3rd Down Offense 12th (47.7%) 3rd Down Defense 126th (49.6%)
Turnovers Gained 39th (17) Turnovers Lost 81 (16)

Hoo’s Hoo?

Virginia Cavaliers

Joe Reed, WR

All year, fans have been waiting to see the resurgence of Joe Reed’s explosiveness in the kick return game. Last week, Reed delivered big time. On four returns, the third-year torched the Flames for 193 yards. In the second-half, Reed brought back a kick 90-yards to the house. Oh, and he also had two receiving touchdowns. It’ll be tough to follow up such a day, but who knows?

Virginia Cavaliers

Elliott Brown, LB

Against Pittsburgh, Brown has a questionable horse-collar penalty called against him which unfortunately turned the tide in favor of the Panthers. Last week, the second-year bounced back and recorded a key interception against Liberty in the second quarter. While he’s appeared in all of Virginia’s games this season, Brown hasn’t been super active. With Virginia’s defense thin, Brown may get some extra minutes.

Virginia Cavaliers

Lester Coleman, P

The GOAT a.k.a. Lester Coleman is in his last season for the Hoos. He is averaging 41.5 yards per punt, with his longest being 61 yards. Coleman has also pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line 15 times. Year-in and year-out, the fourth-year has been a consistent piece for the Wahoo’s special teams. Coleman will continue to be an important piece as the Hoos enter the home stretch of the season.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

TaQuon Marshall, QB

TaQuon Marshall highlights the triple option offense under Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson. His statistics are somewhat similar to that of last year. So far, Marshall has 751 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He’s also thrown for 718 yards and four touchdowns. Marshall is a steady rusher for the Yellow Jackets and his performance should be as-advertised on Saturday.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Tobias Oliver, QB

Another intriguing player in Georgia Tech’s triple offense is Tobias Oliver. He is most likely the future for the Yellow Jackets’ offense, even though his usage has not been consistent as that of Marshall. Against Virginia Tech this year, he rushed the football a whopping 40 times for 215 yards and three touchdowns. But, last week against Miami, Oliver only touched the ball once. Keep your eyes peeled if we see his number called this weekend though.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Jordan Mason, RB

Freshman Jordan Mason is the third leading rusher behind Oliver and Marshall, respectively. He currently has 628 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. While modest numbers, Mason has been a reliable cog on the Yellow Jackets’ run game. Injuries to Virginia’s defensive line has exposed a weakness and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Paul Johnson try to exploit that. Look for Mason to get touches early on in efforts to establish a run game.


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September 16, 1995 | Charlottesville, VA | UVA 41-14 GT