Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Miami Hurricanes: A Statistical Preview

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s hope this one doesn’t get ugly

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets hit the road down to South Beach this weekend to take on the Miami Hurricanes and first-year head coach Manny Diaz. After some more improvement on offense for the Jackets last week against Duke, Geoff Collins and Co. are hoping to see some more improvement this weekend. Will it happen? The stats don’t look hopeful.

Georgia Tech Offense vs. Miami Defense

Well, this doesn’t look very promising. Miami’s defense has been a large highlight of the team this year. The one thing that Georgia Tech has been moderately successful at this season has been rushing the ball (43.19 percent success rate), and a lot of that is because of Jordan Mason. Miami just happens to have one of the top run-stuffing defenses in the country. The thing that really concerns me here are the stuff and havoc rates. Miami has been really good and stuffing the ball and causing havoc. Tech, on the other hand, has been really bad at preventing teams from doing that.

Georgia Tech Offensive Explosiveness vs. Miami Defense

Tech’s best chance at getting on the board is explosive plays, which unfortunately is not a sustainable offense, but I’ll attribute that to growing pains. One thing that has been nice to see has been seeing progression on offense, since they’re actually scoring now. James Graham has also been doing a little better each game, and he’ll face a tough test this week and will probably be running for his life the whole game. Despite that, if Tech wants to win, they’ll need to find success on first and second down, which will not be easy against this defense.

Georgia Tech Defense vs. Miami Offense

Georgia Tech will have a bit of an easier time here. Miami’s offense is still trying to find itself, though not as much as Georgia Tech is. Something interesting to keep an eye on here is that Miami recently switched to N’Kosi Perry at quarterback, replacing Jarren Williams. The switch first happened during the Hurricanes’ game against Virginia Tech, which saw Williams throw three interceptions in just seven passes. To win this game, Tech is going to need to do something they haven’t been good at: causing havoc.

Georgia Tech Defense vs. Miami Offensive Explosiveness

One thing that bodes really well here for Tech is the down-by-down success rate. Georgia Tech is really good with success rate on first down, but what stands out to me is how bad Miami is on third downs. If Tech can force third downs, it’ll definitely help them somehow pull out a victory.


This game has a very good chance of not ending well for Georgia Tech. I’m trying to stay optimistic, and if I’m being honest, I don’t know that Miami is quite as good as the stats indicate. I think the defense is legit, but the offense still has a lot of question marks. The Yellow Jackets will need to find a way to score, which will be the hardest thing to do in this game. I think Miami’s offense is a good match-up for Tech’s defense, but I’m not sure about the opposite.

How do you see this weekend’s game going?

Texas needs better decision making on special teams

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Texas

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

A lack of effective in-game coaching has contributed to turnovers and loss of field position in recent weeks.

On Monday, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman admitted that one key area his staff has to address is decision making on special teams after numerous mental mistakes in recent weeks.

Against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl last Saturday, senior wide receiver Devin Duvernay contributed to the 12 Texas drives starting at the 19-yard line on average due to Duvernay continually pressing to make a play.

The game started off with a relatively rare positive play on kickoff return — Duvernay returned the ball 31 yards from the Texas one-yard line, one of his best of the season. He entered the game averaging only 22 yards per return.

After that, however, Duvernay kept trying to make plays against odds stacked against him, as Texas entered the game knowing that the directional kicking by Oklahoma would make returns difficult. Nonetheless, on the next three kickoffs, Duvernay eschewed fair catches and only gained 46 yards total, a loss of 27 yards of total field position. On one of those kickoffs, Duvernay nearly stepped out of bounds fielding the ball, a decision that might have cost Texas even more yardage and almost resulted in a disaster near the goal line.

When Duvernay finally did call for a fair catch, he dropped it. Because of the new fair catch rules, the ball was ruled dead at the spot of his recovery at the 5-yard line. Add in another 20 yards for 47 total yards of lost field position after the opening kickoff to Texas.

By the time that Duvernay did successfully call for a fair catch in the fourth quarter, he drew a derisive cheer from the Longhorn fans on that end of the stadium.

“Yeah, we should have instructed our returners probably to fair catch. They do a good job spreading the ball to different sides of the field, and it makes it difficult for the return schemes,” Herman said after the game.

“We adjusted, we certainly did, but it was too little, too late at that point.”

So Herman and the Texas staff knew that it was going to be difficult to produce plus yardage on kickoff returns, but didn’t effectively convey that reality to Duvernay during the most critical points of the game.

Sometimes trusting experienced players to make the right decisions isn’t the right move.

“There’s not a guy back there that we would rather have than Devin Duvernay, in terms of his trust level,” Herman said on Monday. “I think he would admittedly say he got caught up in the moment and was trying to make a play. I think the fact that he was so close on the first or second one that we got out to the 35-yard line or something, kind of gave him some confidence. But, obviously, when you field the balls where he fielded them, you’re not giving your return team a chance.”

And yet, it still took losing nearly 30 yards of field position before the coaches explicitly instructed Duvernay to call for a fair catch.

Trying to make a play is an admirable goal, but Herman admitted that it’s important to rein in those emotions, especially in a rivalry game.

The overarching concern is that special teams nearly cost the Longhorns a victory against the Cowboys several weeks ago when freshman Jake Smith fumbled a punt, punt-safe returner Brandon Jones gave the ball away when aggressively trying to field another, and had to recover a loose ball earlier when it hit a player on the punt-return unit.

After the game, Herman had to express similar culpability for not communicating to Jones that letting the ball bounce in front of him and losing field position was preferable to turning the ball over.

Herman taking immediate responsibility is the necessary first step in addressing those issues during the game instead of after, but if he’s too busy during games worrying about upcoming offensive drives — or whatever else is keeping him from having those critical conversations — then it should be up to special teams coordinator Derek Warehime to communicate with the return men.

The bottom line is that Texas is hurting itself because the coaches aren’t providing the necessary instruction during games and that has to stop.

Interview with Football Frenemies: Michigan

NCAA Football: Michigan at Illinois

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 16 Michigan Wolverines are looking for their first win as underdogs in the Jim Harbaugh era.

Ahead of Saturday’s long-awaited White Out against Michigan, we caught up with our friends over at Maize N Brew to talk about the match-up between two teams looking for statement wins on Saturday night. Before we dive into the interview, we’d like to thank Maize N Brew’s Trevor Woods for his time!

Now without further adieu;

  1. Michigan’s offense seems to be performing below expectations. What seems to be the overall issue, and where is the offense now compared to your expectations at the start of the season?

Execution. A major issue on offense has been fumbles, they’ve put the ball on the ground 17 times and have lost 9 of those fumbles. Obviously that’s really bad and Michigan needs to play turnover free football in hostile environments on the road. Michigan’s offensive line wasn’t protecting the quarterback earlier on in the year, but they’re playing better now. Michigan was banged up at running back, now Zach Charbonnet is back to full health and looks like they found a bruiser for a No. 2 back last week in Hassan Haskins. Quarterback Shea Patterson hasn’t played as well this season compared to 2018, which has fans worried and wanting to see backup Dylan McCaffrey in the game.

As far as where the offense is compared to where I thought it would be, it’s my own fault for having high expectations out of the gate. With new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis coming in and installing a new up-tempo pro-spread scheme, it actually shouldn’t have come as a surprise that there have been growing pains this season. Gattis’ scheme promises to be aggressive and dictate what it does, it is supposed to get their playmakers the ball with ‘speed in space’. I don’t think we’ve seen this offense at their best, and it remains to be seen if we’ve seen them at their worst.

2) Penn State’s defense has been fantastic against the run this season. Do you think Michigan will be able to find success in the run game, or will they need to rely on Shea Patterson?

They’ll have to rely on Patterson in certain stages of the game no matter how good Michigan’s run game performs. Patterson will need to hit his shots when they’re available.

Michigan will have at least moderate success running the ball. Michigan’s line is looking good enough to spring at least a couple sizable gains. Penn State will get their stuffs, but Michigan has talent at the position that won’t get completely shut out.

3) Patterson’s completion percentage has dipped this season. What has been the cause of this?

In short, he hasn’t been as accurate. Patterson hasn’t been consistently on the money to any area of the field and has had his share of misses on short, intermediate, and long throws. Part of the inaccuracy can be blamed on the pressure he received from the Army, Iowa, and Wisconsin defenses, but Patterson wouldn’t use that as an excuse.

4) Which match-up will you be paying close attention to on Saturday (either individual vs. individual or position group vs. position group)?

The trenches on both sides of the ball for Michigan. The Wolverines offensive line really needs to protect Patterson and give him time to operate. It’s also smart to pack a run game on the road and the o-line has a major say in the effectiveness of a running attack. For the Michigan d-line, it’ll be real important to maintain their gaps and contain Sean Clifford in hopes of making him pass from the pocket all game long. Clifford has been a fine QB this season, but he’s struggled when pressured.

5) Penn State’s offense has run hot and cold at times throughout the season. What will be the key for Michigan’s defense to slow down the Nittany Lions?

Pretty much continuing what was said in the question above, Michigan needs to pressure Clifford and make him play from the pocket. If the Michigan pass rush is able to get to Clifford quickly and the d-line clogs the running lanes for him to scramble, this game could go Michigan’s way.

6) Which lesser-known (at least to Penn State fans) Michigan player could be the X-factor on Saturday?

Wide receiver Ronnie Bell has really developed into one heck of a receiver for Michigan. Bell is up to 20 receptions and 361 yards (0 TDs). Bell is a go-to target in crucial 3rd down situations.

7) How do you see this game playing out and what is your prediction for the final score?

Really not sure how this game is going to play out so no prediction or final score from me. Penn State has the home field advantage on their side, it’s a freaking whiteout game at night in Happy Valley, it’s going to be nuts. Penn State could hit a few big plays in both the run and pass game and create enough separation and momentum to breeze in this one. Michigan could play their most fundamentally sound game yet with their offense finally hitting their stride and their defense could shutdown Penn State’s offense like Iowa did for much of the game last week. Penn State’s defense could pressure Patterson and create a couple turnovers that aid in a close game. It could be a throwback low-scoring affair. It could be a game where both team goes over 25 points. A lot of things could happen, just not sure what. This is a rivalry, and it’s going to be fun (at least until something bad happens to your respective team). Best of luck to Penn State and I wish you and your readers well.

(No final score provided)

UNC Football: Desmond Evans, ESPN’s #2 recruit in the nation, commits to North Carolina

South Carolina v North Carolina

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Evans is ESPN’s #2 overall recruit. That seems like a good thing.

North Carolina has landed its crown jewel of the 2020 football recruiting class. On Friday afternoon, five-star defensive end Desmond Evans verbally committed to the Tar Heels. Evans, who has long been rumored to favor UNC, finally made it official after unofficially visiting Chapel Hill approximately 10 times in the past year. After attending the season opener in Charlotte where North Carolina dispatched the South Carolina Gamecocks on national television, Evans also visited Chapel Hill for the Clemson and Appalachian State games.

Just how big of a commitment is this for the Heels? ESPN ranks Evans as just one of 17 five-star prospects in their ESPN300 rankings. Here’s a breakdown of the three major recruiting services.

ESPN: 5-stars, #2 (national), #1 (position), #1 (state)
247 Sports composite: 5-stars, #22 (national) #2 (position), #1 (state)
Rivals: 4-stars, #48 (national), #3 (position), #2 (state)

Whichever service you prefer, there is no way to overstate the significance of this commitment. In the pantheon of coveted UNC recruits, the list is arguably Ronald Curry, Desmond Evans, Marvin Austin, and then everyone else. Since recruiting rankings have become mainstream and easily accessible, Evans joins Austin as one of the top-two rated defensive recruits to ever land at North Carolina. Different recruiting services differ on Austin and Evans’ overall rankings, but at this point, we’re all just splitting hairs. (ESPN lists Evans as the better prospect, while 247 Sports currently prefers Austin).

The 6-6, 240-pound defensive lineman out of Sanford, NC will undoubtedly be the cornerstone of the current defensive resurgence in Kenan Memorial Stadium. As a junior he accounted for 25 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. According to MaxPreps, in five games of action this season, Evans has tallied 27 Tackles, 10 TFLs, 4 Sacks, 6 QB hurries and forced a fumble. On offense, he’s grabbed seven receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Evans projects to be the perfect hybrid OLB/DE for Jay Bateman’s fluid scheme, adding size and length that’s sorely missing from the defensive side of the ball. The official UNC football roster lists just two defensive players, DEs Nolan DeFranco (SR) and Wisdom Asaboro (FR), as being 6’6 or taller. Neither have played a single snap this season. Not to mention at least five seniors on the defensive line and linebacking corps will graduate. There will be ample opportunity for immediate playing time.

Evans also adds another brick to Mack Brown’s proverbial recruiting wall around the state. Of UNC’s 23 verbal commits, 13 are from the state of North Carolina. According to Rivals’ and 247 Sports’ organic rankings, Evans’ commitment gives UNC four of the top 10 players in the state of North Carolina for the 2020 cycle. ESPN puts that number at three of the top 10. Despite those differences, no other school has more than two of the state’s top 10 recruits according to any of the three primary recruiting services.

Evans picked UNC over Virginia Tech, Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee. He never took an official visit to any of his top five schools, but recently took an unofficial trip down to Florida. He also scheduled an OV to Virginia Tech for this weekend’s game against North Carolina. It’s a safe assumption that Des will not be making it up to Blacksburg as a VIP guest of the Hokies.

North Carolina now owns a consensus top 20 recruiting class in the country and boasts six ESPN300 recruits. That is their highest total since ESPN expanded their rankings in 2012. The 2020 recruiting class is also on pace to be their highest ranked recruiting class since 2009 when Butch Davis’ third recruiting class finished at 9th (Rivals), 12th (247 Sports), and/or 13th (ESPN). That class included seven recruits on what was then the ESPN150.

This class isn’t quite to that level, but with six games left in the season UNC still has a few scholarships remaining. A few surprise commitments may still pop. As we mentioned on Monday, Mack flipped nine recruits in last year’s class and picked up three transfers in the offseason. Anything can happen in the next 60 days.

In the meantime, the coaching staff will put the finishing touches on 2020 and use that momentum for the 2021 class.

Kentucky vs. Georgia: Analysis, betting trends, expert picks & predictions

Georgia v Kentucky

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

A look at how the oddsmakers and experts view Kentucky vs. Georgia.

Kentucky seemed to find themselves last week against a sub-par Arkansas Razorbacks team, but it took every ounce of wide receiver-turned-quarterback Lynn Bowden to pull out the victory.

The Wildcats, sitting at 3-3, will now face by far their most difficult test of the season as they travel to Athens, for a matchup with a Georgia Bulldogs team that embarrassingly lost at South Carolina last weekend.

With a full game of tape on Bowden, a much more physical offensive/defensive line and a clear advantage of talent at skill positions, Georgia is a very sizable favorite one year after demolishing the best Kentucky team the Wildcats have had in four decades.

Saturday will be a major challenge just to stay competitive, but this Georgia team has proven to be far more vulnerable that most expected coming into the season.


ESPN’s Football Power Index is giving Kentucky a whopping 6.3% chance to upset Georgia, who was every matchup of this decade and hasn’t lost to the Cats since 2009. Bill Connelly’s S&P formula gives the Wildcats an 8% chance of winning and projects a 39-15 win for the Dawgs.

After opening as 27-point underdogs, the line has indeed moved in Kentucky’s favor, but only by two points, as it now stands at -25 and still favors Georgia by four scores. With the over/under set at 46.5, the final score is predicted to be somewhere around 36-11 with the Bulldogs obviously winning.

Behind seasoned quarterback Jake Fromm, a veteran head coach and (most importantly) an embarrassing loss last week to the Gamecocks, Georgia will be more than ready to play this weekend. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops has pulled off multiple upsets in his career at Kentucky, including one as a 28-point underdog at Louisville in 2016, so it’s not like they’re strangers to massive upsets.

Betting Trends


  • Kentucky is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 9 games.
  • Kentucky is 13-6 SU in their last 19 games.
  • Kentucky is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games against Georgia.
  • Kentucky is 0-9 SU in their last 9 games against Georgia.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 7 games on the road.
  • Kentucky is 1-11 SU in their last 12 games when playing on the road against Georgia.
  • Kentucky is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games this season.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Kentucky’s last 12 games against an opponent in the Southeast conference.


  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Georgia’s last 7 games.
  • Georgia is 5-1 SU in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Georgia’s last 6 games against Kentucky.
  • Georgia is 16-1 SU in their last 17 games at home.
  • Georgia is 11-1 SU in their last 12 games when playing at home against Kentucky.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Georgia’s last 6 games this season.
  • Georgia is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against an opponent in the Southeast conference.
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of Georgia’s last 8 games played in October.
  • Georgia is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games played in week 8.

Expert Picks

Per CBS Sports, there was a sweep by Barton Simmons, Chip Patterson, Dennis Dodd, Jerry Palm and Tom Fornelli to not only pick the Bulldogs straight up but also to cover the 25-point spread.

Rob McVey of Athlon Sports is predicting a narrow cover by Kentucky, though, with the Wildcats losing by a 37-13 decision.

Pete Fiutak of College Football News is almost right in line with McVey, predicting a 37-10 loss for Kentucky.

Brad Crawford at 247 Sports is expecting an even wider margin of blowout by a score of 38-7 in favor of Georgia.

Joe Williams of SportsBook Wire is going with a 45-13 Georgia win.

TeamRankings projects a 37-10 Georgia win, while numberFire went with a 38-15 win for the home team.


Other than punter, Kentucky won’t have an advantage at any position on the field this weekend. While flipping the field can spell your team some time, the punter can’t assist the offense scoring points or the defense being ran over by the Goliaths’ of Georgia’s offensive line.

This game will represent that one weekend nearly every college fanbase has each year where you’re simply looking forward to the next weekend. For the players, though, this a chance to show what they’re made of on a national stage.

The Wildcats will look to prove they’re still narrowing the gap between themselves and the Bulldogs, who in turn will look to show they’re still a legitimate College Football Playoff team.

Needless to say, Georgia will win this going away.

Final Score: Georgia 41, Kentucky 6

Georgia Tech Football 2019 – Opponent Q&A: Miami

NCAA Football: Virginia at Miami

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A Q&A with State of the U

Today the Q&A chats with Cameron Underwood of State of the U. The ‘Canes have had an up and down season, but appear to be on the upswing after beating UVA last week. Who will start at QB for Miami this weekend? Who does Miami’s often baffling play calling fall on? Which member of their defense will be causing GT QBs to run for their lives?

Surprise, it’s everyone.

1. Much like the rest of the Coastal, Miami hasn’t made much sense to me this season. Was the win over a good UVA team a sign of things to come and the team is on the upswing, or was it just some Coastal Chaos?

Miami’s made plenty of sense, in a bad way though. This program has played down to and below the level of their opponents for YEARS, and that continued early this season. The Canes were finally able to put together a solid-enough-but-not-perfect game to beat Virginia, so that was good from our perspective.

This team is still searching for an overall identity, and a cohesive offensive philosophy. I think we started to see what those things could be in the win over Virginia, and I sincerely hope that was the beginning of a run of wins. But, with the penchant to play well one week and terribly the next, I can’t be sure of that until I see it. But let me be clear: that win over Virginia was not just random “Coastal Chaos”. Miami is the most talented team in the division BY FAR and finally played like it to beat a tough and well-coached team. It’s incumbent upon the Canes to maintain and improve that level of performance moving forward, but last week’s win was nobody’s “fluke”.

2. The little bit I’ve watched of the Canes play this season has almost always included Manny Diaz making some baffling in-game decisions with timeout usage and playcalling… how much of this do you think is just a learning curve for the first-time HC, or do we have the making of young Les Miles on our hands?

Let’s start with the fact that Manny Diaz isn’t calling the plays, although I wish he would on defense. But, yes, some of the playcalling, especially on offense, has been QUITE perplexing. There are obviously going to be some growing pains with a pair of new coordinators calling the plays, and even moreso on offense as Miami is in the first year of a new offensive system, but yeah……there have been some calls that even by alignment before the snap were known to be poor choices.

Manny Diaz’s timeout management is also curious, as you noted. He treats them like the most precious resource in the world. Sure, it’s nice to have all 3 timeouts on the last drive of a half or game, but maybe using one earlier in a key situation would be helpful. And, like I said, we have new coordinators on both sides of the ball. Calling a TO before a key 3rd down play in a high leverage situation might be beneficial, but Diaz hasn’t gone that route yet.

I think there are game-management issues that are the growing pains of a 1st year, and FIRST TIME, head coach. But there are other things where Diaz is ahead of the curve, such as going for a 2pt conversion when Miami scored a TD after being down 14 points. The analytics say that’s the move to make, and Diaz made it. So that was good. But yeah, there are still other things that can be tightened up to make the ship sail more smoothly. And hey, he’s not out here munching on grass like Les Miles so let’s give the man some time, eh?

3. Which quarterback do you think deserves the starting gig? I know both Perry and Williams have seen a decent amount of time this season – is Diaz just playing the hot hand at this point?

Diaz is not “playing the hot hand”. He’s repeatedly stated that, if healthy, Jarren Williams is the guy. That leads me to question whether Williams has been healthy all season, but that’s a debate for a different time.

As far as my view of the situation, I think N’Kosi Perry should be the starter. He is more mobile both in and out of the pocket, a fact that creates room for other players to run and opens up elements of the playbook that go dormant with Williams in the game, has a MUCH stronger arm to push the ball vertically down the field (And thereby make the defense back out their safeties out of the box….where they live with Williams in the game), and he’s shown an ability to get our best playmakers, namely Brevin Jordan and Jeff Thomas, the ball. FULL DISCLOSURE, I’ve always thought Perry should be the starter, so this is just me continuing with that line of thought.

And look, Williams does some things very well and much better than Perry. He’s incredibly accurate, which Perry will never be, completing 72% of his passes. He’s tough and will take a hit (so will Perry), and he’s a gamer. But Williams is checkdown Charlie in terms of passing distance, favoring RPO slants, Digs, and swing passes to deeper throws. VT Defensive Coordinator talked about this: he had his DBs play right press man because he saw Williams’s tendency to throw the ball short, and also questioned whether Williams had the arm strength to beat them deep if a receiver got off of press coverage.

So, really, it comes down to personal preference. Would you rather a more stationary QB with great short and intermediate level accuracy with an average arm? Or would you rather a more dynamically mobile QB with a stronger arm whose accuracy is improving but not the greatest but can make a play when the designed play breaks down? To me, I’d prefer the latter, but Manny Diaz, a defensive coach who values ball control versus offensive explosion, prefers the former.

4. The Canes are not going through nearly the same rebuild as the Yellow Jackets, but it still seems that they’re still struggling under the new regime. What do the Canes most need to improve on in order to compete for the Coastal title?

Consistency on offense, particularly the offensive line. Miami has given up the most sacks in the country (28) and has allowed pressure on like 40% of their pass plays. That’s QUITE bad. And the intermittent whiffing of blocks on run plays isn’t really helpful, either.

The other big issue is finding an identity for the team overall and playing to the level of talent on the roster. Miami has done less with more talent than anyone in the country over the last 15-20 years. To have the kind of talent this roster does, there’s no reason to lose to the teams we’ve lost to (Florida being the exception as they’re as talented as Miami is). THAT is the thing that has to change. Manny Diaz has to find a way to get this team to play like the elite athletes they are. If and when that happens, the ACC Coastal should be easy pickings.

Then again, we’ve been saying this same thing since 2004, so………

5. Tech’s O-line is porous at best, so who on the defensive side will we see the most of in our backfield?

DE Jonathan Garvin is a beast, and has caused more pressures than any other player on Miami’s team. His stats are lower this year than in previous years since he’s constantly being double teamed (as well as teams running plays away from his side of the field), but trust and believe that he can change the game in an instant.

The name to know this year is DE Gregory Rousseau. A 6’6” (maybe taller?) pterodactyl, Rousseau is growing into his impressive frame, and using his incredible athletic skills to be a terror in opposing backfields. Already 7.5 TFLs and 5 sacks — both team-leading numbers — Rousseau is only scratching the surface for his potential. Oh, and he’s put up those numbers in VERY limited snaps this year; Rousseau was a 15-20 snap rotation DE for 5 games before FINALLY being inserted into the starting lineup last week. When you look at him now, you wouldn’t know that he was a 200lb WR and S in high school, but remember the name: Gregory Rousseau will play on Sundays for a long, long time.

Lastly, Linebacker Michael Pickney. The 4 year starter at LB is an instinctive and disruptive player on Miami’s defense. If you’re concerned with a player getting up the field and creating disruption in GT’s offensive backfield, then I would identify #56 on every play. With 36 TFLs and 11.5 sacks to his credit in his career, Pinckney has a knack for making plays behind the line of scrimmage, and he’s probably looking for that chance this week after the beginning of his senior season was below the standard of his performance as seen over the last 3 years.

6. I think all of us involved are going to be worse people for having watched this game, but how do you see it going, and who wins?

I think Miami is a far more talented team that Georgia Tech at present. And with the Yellow Jackets in a full scale gut renovation rebuild on offense, they just don’t have the demonstrated scheme, or players to win this game. Miami started to right the ship last week, and that continues at Noon on Saturday on the ACC Network (so, at least there won’t be TOO MANY people watching at home).

Final score: Miami 31 Georgia Tech 14

Thanks again to Cameron for taking the time to talk to us. Y’all make sure to head over to State of the U to say hello. Kick is at noon on Saturday.

Go Jackets!

Gamethread: No. 4 Ohio State vs. Northwestern

Northwestern v Nebraska

Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

The Buckeyes look to stay perfect tonight against Northwestern.

The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes have had their bye week, and remain one of just 12 undefeated teams in the NCAA. Now, they look to prove why they deserve to be counted among the best teams in the country as they face Northwestern in Evanston in a rare Friday night matchup.

Yes, Friday night. If that seems weird for Ohio State, it is, as the last time the Buckeyes played a non-Saturday, mid-season game happened six decades ago. In other fun historical facts, tonight’s game also happens to be a rematch of last year’s Big Ten Title game, which the Buckeyes won 45-24.

Heading into the bye week, Ohio State brought home a 34-10 win over Michigan State. In that game, quarterback Justin Fields was 17-of-25 passing for 206 yards, two touchdowns and his first and only pick of the year (knock on wood). Running back J.K. Dobbins added 172 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Northwestern, meanwhile, enters the game with a 1-4 record on the season, but that record doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s true — Pat Fitzgerald’s offense has had just eight touchdowns this season (including a mere two through the air), but the defense has been stellar. Against Wisconsin, the Wildcats held Heisman candidate running back Jonathan Taylor to just 4.6 yards per carry and one touchdown (still good — but not as good as Taylor’s been the rest of the season).

The Buckeyes are 27.5-point favorites over the Wildcats. Historically, Ohio State holds a 62-14-1 advantage over its Big Ten opponent. Weird scheduling and all, the Buckeyes look to stay unbeaten when they take the field in Evanston tonight.

When is the game and how can I watch?

Game Date/Time: Friday, Oct. 18, 8:30 p.m.
Location: Evanston, Illinois
Online: BTN+
Radio: 97.1 FM/1460 AM

Where is GameDay this weekend?

For the 19th time in the show’s history, College Gameday is heading to the site of a Penn State game. The crew is heading to Happy Valley ahead of the Nittany Lions’ matchup with Michigan. GameDay has been to Happy Valley eight times overall, including once in each of the last three seasons.

What’s the rest of the Big Ten up to tomorrow?

The Big Ten has five matchups scheduled for Saturday. No. 6 Wisconsin is kicking things off on the road against Illinois at noon on BTN, while Purdue travels to No. 23 Iowa during the same time slot on ESPN2. At 3:30 p.m., No. 20 Minnesota (which happens to be 6-0) heads to Rutgers on BTN. Also at 3:30 p.m., Maryland gets Indiana in College Park. Finally, capping things off with the premiere game of the day, No. 16 Michigan heads to the aforementioned Happy Valley to face No. 7 Penn State at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

Join the conversation

Below is your Ohio State – Northwestern GameThread. Be respectful, be kind and as always, keep it classy. If you like GIFs, lay ‘em on us. In all, be good fans, cheer for your teams, be cool to each other (even if somebody else isn’t) and everyone wins. Let’s keep it rolling strong!

Numbers, Statistics and Lies: Minnesota Edition

Nebraska v Minnesota

Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Do you want the bad news first? Or the bad news?

The Golden Gophers piled up 322 yards on the ground against Nebraska last Saturday to the tune of 6.6 yards/carry. An obscene amount of those yards came after contact. Not just a Husker getting a hand on the ball carrier, no. This was several Huskers being there to make the stop and still getting shoved backwards until the pile either tripped the ball carrier or it let him go.

In 2018, we saw a team regroup and get its crap together in the second half of the season. Scott Frost has a bye week at the right time – or the wrong one, depending on how the team responds to the message Minnesota sent. It sounds like we could see rejiggering in playing time with younger players getting more chances to show what they have. Or we might not. It is hard to tell what will shake out as Frost and Co. challenge their players.

Color-Coded Pile of Numbers

The green has all but disappeared but for a few holdouts. This is no longer a mediocre team, but one that is playing bad football and appears to have lost any sense of self and confidence. Players aren’t trusting each other to do their jobs.

This team does have an identity, but it is not a good one. The 2019 Huskers turn the ball over too much, are penalized too much, cannot sustain drives (time of possession) and have issues on third down and in the red zone on both sides of the ball. In other words, this is not a Big Ten football team yet.

The Huskers ran 10 more plays on offense than the Gophers (72 to 62) but only reached the red zone once. The Gophers reached the red zone six times and scored on five of them.

Third down was not kind to Nebraska as the offense was six of 16 in conversions (37.5%). To be a top 25 offense in this metric, a team should be at 45% conversion. The defense fared worse in giving up eight of 13 to the Gophers (61.5%). To be a top 25 defense, a team should hold opponents to converting less than one-third of their third down chances.

Next week (bye week), I’ll take time to make some of the graphs to show how the Huskers performed on a game by game basis.

Inside Enemy Territory: Florida

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

That Georgia win? The Gators aren’t impressed.

Welcome back to this week’s edition of Inside Enemy Territory, which takes us to Gator Chatter and Swamp Gas, and into the minds of Florida Gators fans. Despite their loss to LSU and the Gamecocks’ shocking upset of Georgia, the Gainesville gang remains confident about Saturday, and as bitter as ever about Will Muschamp.

Let’s get to it.

South Carolina’s offense is completely inept. However, they do have a decent OL and I expect him to try to run it down out throats (especially after the sh*tty run D at LSU). If Hilinski plays or not, their QB isn’t going to do much (I’d rather Hilinski play than the running QB). I see us getting back on track: UF 31-16

An interesting amount of Florida fans are more concerned about the possibility of Dakereon Joyner starting as opposed to Ryan Hilinski, who left the Georgia game early with a sprained knee. Will Muschamp has maintained that Hilinski will be ready to roll on Saturday, but injury reports have been a bit of an adventure in his tenure, so we’ll see.

USCe has played 2 teams ranked higher than anyone we’ve played – and beat one of them at their house. IMO, UF is looked at as a beatable opponent who is crippled and hurting following consecutive physically and mentally draining games. The good news is they won’t resemble LSU throwing the ball – the bad news is their #3 QB runs well. This will be a close game if we play well and hang tough. If we don’t, it could get ugly.

Some more fear of the #DakAttack. I’d obviously prefer a healthy Hilinski, but I’d love to see Joyner get some snaps too if Florida’s run defense is really that porous.

I do expect to see a sloppy game on both sides since both teams are coming off of an emotional win/loss. But like games before, I think our guys will persevere through, and they won’t be willing to lose this game in the 4th quarter. Of course, Muschamp will play not to lose like he always does, and he’ll lose anyways.

That last part hurts because it’s so often been true.

The cocks are a pretty good football team. Their biggest weakness is Muschamp. He threw the game away last year against us by going conservative on us when they were up big.

Frankly, can’t argue with this either.

South Carolina is going to score a lot of points, backup QB or not – the defense is in shambles right now. Our only hope is letting Trask loose.

Unfortunately for Feliepe Franks, his injury has helped elevate Florida’s success. Franks never impressed me, but Kyle Trask has shown the ability to be the kind of quarterback Dan Mullen needs. He’s likely among the best USC will face this season, so it’d be nice if he turns in a Jake Fromm-esque performance.

Watch out for their 6’4 corner and throw to the side he isn’t playing on.

USCe is good against the run. We can’t really run it. They found a CB who can play. If they put him on Pitts, I believe Swain, VJ, and Hammond will have a field day

Nice to see Izzy getting some respect here, especially since the secondary had such a tough start to the season. Of course, this poster has forgotten (or doesn’t know about) Jaycee Horn, who was quietly done a great job in his own right. The safeties, on the other hand…

This is the one I’m most worried about. This is the definition of a trap game.

Good! Stay worried.

Maybe Muschamp will be over confident for this game and we’ll be able to pull it out. Likely to be a nail biter.

Agree on the nail biter part, disagree on Muschamp being overconfident. Historically, that’s been an issue for South Carolina teams after earning a big win, but this team in particular has no business being overconfident about anybody. And given how horrendous the UF game was last season, I should think (and hope) they don’t need any extra motivation here.

He seems to be different from when he coached at Florida… where his teams seemed unbalanced but nevertheless, elite consistently on defense… now his teams seem competent on both sides of the ball considering the talent that they have, but fall victim to tough schedules and alarmingly conservative game management…

Interesting perspective on Muschamp. I’m not sure how many of our fans would agree he’s changed that much from his Florida days, but I do think his South Carolina offenses have been a bit more successful (at least once Kurt Roper was shown the door, anyway). No doubt in-game coaching decisions are still the Achilles heel, though.

It wouldn’t surprise me if we lay a total egg, have four turnovers, and lose to an inspired USC team. With Greenard and Zuniga in the lineup, I would say we wipe the floor with USC, that is how much I think those two guys impact the game. Without them though, I worry we will have a 2018 Kentucky type game where we get whooped on both sides of the line of scrimmage all game long.

Florida is looking at the absence of two of its best defensive players in ends Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga, which is certainly a break for the Gamecocks. We’ll have to see just how much South Carolina can take advantage of that, particularly in regard to Hilinski’s health and the continued emergence of the run game.

Muschamp goes up 3-0 early in the first and then goes conservative

I have to admit, this earned a laugh.

For the sake of more interesting discussion, I declined to include a sampling of the dozens of posts calling for a Florida blowout victory. But aside from the occasional nervous nelly, most Gators fans don’t seem to be losing sleep over this matchup. Hopefully the Gamecocks can prove them wrong.

What Needs to Happen: Wisconsin Badgers

NCAA Football: Michigan at Illinois

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

How can the Illini pull off the upset of the year?

It’s going to be a tough game for the Illini on Saturday, as they welcome the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers to town for Homecoming. Let’s take a look at some ways the Illini can try and keep the game against the No. 6 team in the country close:

Get the ball out quickly

The Wisconsin Badgers are officially back. It’s quite funny, because my interpretation of Badger fans (now that I live in hostile territory of Madison, Wisconsin) was that expectations were low coming into this season. Hornibrook, although he was a thorn in most Badger fans’ side, was an experienced starter lost to the transfer market. Coming off an 8-5 season, where Wisconsin was just 5-4 in the B1G and defense seemed lackluster, I think few would have imagined the boys in red beating down Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan team and having four shutouts through six games. Not too shabby.

This about sums up Wisconsin’s year so far.

Anyway, the defense is good. That’s the point here. If Matt Robinson is starting (which would be preferable, Lovie) Rod should utilize lots of quick outs and slants to Imatorbhebhe and Ricky. Maybe throw in a few RPOs and get Matt running. The last thing this offense needs is to sit back and try to heave the ball deep – our QB will get demolished. Rod’s offense works best with quick hits, and Wisconsin gets after the quarterback. Let’s be clear: the Badgers have given up an average of 4.83 points per game and only ONE touchdown in six games this year. Get the ball out quickly and utilize the running game.

Contain Jonathan Taylor

This won’t be easy. Taylor will be another top vote-getter for the Heisman this year, as he should be. He is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and already has 14 (!) touchdowns this year. He had 16 all of last year. Yeah, I would say this team is improved. In addition, Taylor has already outpaced his last two seasons in terms of receiving yards and has become a threat out of the backfield. Jack Coan has found him through the air for an additional four touchdowns.

I’m not defensive scheme expert, but if Austin Clark and Lovie could do something to keep Taylor from gashing the defensive line and outrunning Jake Hansen and Dele Harding at the second level, that would be great. In addition, it would put more pressure on Jack Coan to make throws, which was an issue he had against Northwestern. It doesn’t mean we will win, but if they can hold Taylor to 100 yards on the ground then perhaps the Illini can keep it close.


Obviously, Reggie is the guy defenses have honed in on the most this year. He missed a game early on in the season and has 396 rushing yards (around 6 yards per carry), but is not on pace to match last year’s 1,000-plus yard season. However, he is by far the most talented individual skill player. He needs touches – I don’t care if its a draw, a stunt, or a swing pass. Get him the ball. If I recall, he may have had one or two good plays against the Badgers last year:

That might be my favorite play of the past several years, other than Steve Hull’s touchdown while laying on his back against Northwestern.

The takeaway here: give the ball to your best player as much as possible.

Can we change up the defense?

“Can we change up the defense?” is a rhetorical question. I know it won’t happen. I knew it wouldn’t happen when Lovie hired his son as linebackers coach and refused to hire a defensive coordinator who could actually utilize guys like Marquez Beason and Nate Hobbs to prevent opposing offenses from putting up 700-plus yards (see Nebraska game). If everything went the right way, I think these team could have a chance. Is Wisconsin more talented? Yes, I think so. The defense is one of the best in the country. But Jack Coan is no Russell Wilson, and Wisconsin is no Alabama. A well-coached Illini team could make this game close. Unfortunately, I do not think that will happen. I think the Illini will lose by three scores or more.

At this rate, this may be Lovie’s last homecoming.