Virginia vs. Georgia Tech: A breakdown

Cavaliers travel to Georgia Tech following Senior Day loss


Junior free safety Quin Blanding's play could be key for the Cavaliers to slow down Georgia Tech's triple option offense. 

Emma Lewis | Cavalier Daily

Three keys to the game

Play by the rules

Penalties have cost Virginia significant amounts of yards throughout the season. Against Miami last week, the Cavaliers were penalized 10 times, costing them 110 yards overall. Virginia ranks 91st in the nation in the least amount of penalties per game. Already fighting to convert on third downs, the Cavaliers need any yardage they can get to be successful.

Stop the run

If Virginia wants to defeat Georgia Tech, the key will be stopping the option offense, which has rushed for 266.4 yards per game this season — good for second in the ACC. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae indicated last week that the defense played well enough to keep Virginia in the game, but they will need to be firing on all cylinders to be effective Saturday.

Minimize turnovers

Virginia Tech turned over the ball four times against the Yellow Jackets last week. On the other hand, the Cavaliers have had issues with giving up the ball, especially in the fourth quarter. In the last three games, Virginia has turned over the ball six times in the final quarter, costing them 31 points. The Cavaliers’ offense needs to dominate possession against Georgia Tech.

Three Virginia players to watch

Matt Johns

Senior quarterback Matt Johns returns as the starting guy for the first time since last season. Johns tallied one touchdown this season against North Carolina when he was involved in a fake field goal. Against Miami, he played for less than six minutes in the fourth quarter, going three-for-seven. It will be interesting to see if Johns can revitalize Virginia’s offense Saturday.

Micah Kiser

Junior linebacker Micah Kiser will be tasked with keeping Virginia’s defense in line against Georgia Tech’s dynamic option offense. The junior ranks first in the ACC and No. 3 in the nation with 114 career tackles. Last week against Miami, he recorded his first career interception, which eventually lead to a touchdown for the Cavalier offense.

Quin Blanding

Junior free safety Quin Blanding is another key leader of Virginia’s defense who will need to have a big game Saturday. Personally, Blanding will be looking to make a mark, as he is five tackles away from surpassing Anthony Poindexter to record the most stops of any Cavalier defensive back. He has five double-digit tackle games so far this season.

Three Georgia Tech players to watch

Lawrence Austin

Junior defensive back Lawrence Austin was a part of three out of the four takeaways Georgia Tech gained from Virginia Tech. He caught two interceptions and forced a fumble. Austin has 90 tackles so far on the year, with his high coming against Clemson with 12 tackles.

Dedrick Mills

Freshman running back Dedrick Mills has been a favorite target in Georgia Tech’s option offense. Mills has compiled a total of 578 rushing yards so far in his freshman season, which averages out to 5.1 yards per carry. Overall, Mills has tallied 10 touchdowns on the season to lead the Yellow Jackets.

Justin Thomas

Georgia Tech’s veteran senior quarterback missed last weeks game against Virginia Tech due to injury, and although the Yellow Jackets were victorious, Thomas is a key component to his team – starting for the past three years. This season, Thomas is already producing his best numbers with seven touchdowns and 1,168 yards. He is expected to be back and healthy against Virginia.

Statistical Leaders



Kurt Benkert (QB): 57.6% Completion percentage. 2430 Yards. 20 Touchdowns. 11 Interceptions


Taquan Mizzell (RB): 141 Carries. 696 Yards. 4.9 Yards Per Carry. 5 Touchdowns.

Albert Reid (RB): 86 Carries. 417 Yards. 4.8 Yards Per Carry. 6 Touchdowns.


Olamide Zaccheaus (WR): 45 Receptions. 517 Yards. 11.5 Yards Per Catch. 6 Touchdowns.

Taquan Mizzell (RB): 45 Receptions. 361 Yards. 8 Yards Per Catch. 2 Touchdowns.

Micah Kiser (LB): 115 Tackles. 10 Tackles for Loss. 4 Forced Fumbles. 6.5 Sacks.

Quin Blanding (S): 102 Tackles. 1 Tackle for Loss. 2 Interceptions. 5 Pass Breakups

Georgia Tech


Justin Thomas (QB): 54.4% Completion Percentage. 1168 Yards. 7 Touchdowns. 1 Interception.


Dedrick Mills (RB): 114 Carries. 578 Yards. 5.1 Yards Per Carry. 10 Touchdowns.

Justin Thomas (QB): 112 Carries. 561 Yards. 5.0 Yards Per Carry. 5 Touchdowns.


Ricky Jeune (WR): 21 Receptions. 350 Yards. 16.7 Yards Per Catch. 1 Touchdown.

Clinton Lynch (TB): 12 Receptions. 389 Yards. 32.4 Yards Per Catch. 5 Touchdowns.


Corey Griffin (S): 72 Tackles. 4 Tackles For Loss. 1 Sack. 1 Interception.

Patrick Gamble (DE): 32 Tackles. 6.5 Tackles For Loss. 4.5 Sacks. 2 Forced Fumbles.


MatchupJacob Season: 112-52Week 11: (0-15)Robert Season: 109-55Week 10: (12-3)Week 11: (8-7)Grant Season: 120-44 Week 10: (12-3)Week 11: (8-7)Mariel Season: 121-43Week 10: (13-2)Week 11: (9-6)
(3) Louisville at Houston LouisvilleLouisvilleLouisville Louisville
Miami at NC StateMiamiMiamiMiamiMiami
Connecticut at Boston CollegeConnecticutConnecticutBCConnecticut
Duke at PittsburghDukePittsburghPittsburghPittsburgh
(17) Florida State at SyracuseFlorida StateFlorida StateFSUFlorida State
The Citadel at North CarolinaNorth CarolinaNorth CarolinaUNCNorth Carolina
Virginia Tech at Notre DameVirginia TechVirginia TechTechVirginia Tech
(5) Clemson at Wake ForestClemsonClemsonClemsonClemson
(8) Oklahoma at (10) West VirginiaWest VirginiaOklahomaWest Virginia West Virginia
(21) Florida at (16) LSU (makeup game)LSULSULSULSU
(20) Washington State at (12) ColoradoColoradoColoradoRadoColorado
(13) Oklahoma State at TCUOklahoma StateOklahoma StateOk StateOklahoma State
Dartmouth at PrincetonPrincetonPrincetonPrinceton Princeton
Virginia at Georgia TechGeorgia TechGeorgia TechVirginiaGeorgia Tech

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