NCAA Friday Night Football: Georgia Tech/Louisville Preview

by Alec McMordie

Two teams from the ACC look to snap two-game losing streaks in a nationally-televised game on ESPN at 7 PM ET.

Expectations were high for Louisville this season with them returning sixteen starters, including their quarterback, from last year’s group that went 8-5 with a victory over Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl. Head coach Scott Satterfield was able to get half his spring practices in as well in his second year with the program before things shut down due to COVID.

The Cardinals season started well with a 35-21 victory over Western Kentucky. But Louisville has disappointed, albeit against quality competition, in successive losses to Miami (FL) and Pittsburgh. The setback to the Panthers two weeks ago by a 23-20 score was concerning given the play of junior quarterback Micale Cunningham. He completed only 9 of 21 passes for 107 yards while throwing three interceptions. Cunningham has thrown five interceptions in three games in a disturbing trend for Satterfield. He has also tossed seven touchdown passes, which are eighth-most in the nation. Cunningham had 22 touchdowns last year after taking over the quarterbacking duties for the team in the second game of the season. He led the country with a 194.45 passer efficiency rating, which broke a school record.

Georgia Tech opened its season with a 16-13 comeback victory Florida State. The Yellow Jackets have since lost to Central Florida and then at Syracuse two weeks ago by a 37-20 score despite being a 7.5-point favorite. Georgia Tech is also getting inconsistent play from their quarterback. The second-year head coach tapped his highly-touted true freshman Jeff Sims as his starter who rewarded his coach by overseeing that victory against the Seminoles. However, Sims has thrown six interceptions this season after getting picked off four times by the Orange.

Sims has been successfully running the ball in Collins’ spread offensive attack. He has rushed for 187 yards while reaching the end zone twice. The Yellow Jackets have also gotten 171 rushing yards from running back Jahmyr Gibbs and 140 rushing yards from running back Jamious Griffin. Collins brought in three transfers from SEC programs in the offseason to add size to an offensive line that was recruited for its quickness to operate in the triple-option offense under previous head coach Paul Johnson.

Georgia Tech expected to be much better than last year’s 3-9 team in the first year in the Collins era, who changed schemes on both sides of the football. Nineteen starters returned from that group that had only 11 seniors (third lowest in the FBS).

These two teams have played only one other time, but it was just two years ago when the Yellow Jackets rolled to a 66-31 victory in the final season of Johnson’s 11 years running the Georgia Tech program. BetAnySports has Louisville as a 5-point road favorite with the total set at 64.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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