Photo by Mark Russell

GA Tech

Tech (4-3, 3-2 ACC) has dropped two of three. The good news? Both were against ranked opponents; Miami and Clemson find themselves in the top ten after the most recent week’s set of games. The bad news? The offense was basically dormant in both contests.

The Jackets’ calling card in recent years has been an explosive offense that got support from a bend-but-don’t-break defense. When the former does not do its job, the Jackets face an uphill battle.

Speaking of that defense, they have played well beyond any reasonable expectations. Since allowing 42 points in an overtime loss versus Tennessee to start the season, the Jackets have not allowed more than 24.

Yes, perhaps the Tigers let off the gas once they jumped up to a 21-point lead, but the numbers are impressive nonetheless. They get a relative break this week against a much less potent Cavalier offense. They cannot afford to be complacent.

University of Virginia 

Virginia (5-3, 2-2 ACC) is enjoying its best season since 2011, when the team lost in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. By strength of schedule, UVA scores a -0.95. They have one of the weaker slates in the country this season.

But not all of the team’s success can be chalked up to an easier schedule. Former Eastern Carolina passer Kurt Benkert is putting together a second solid season in Charlottesville; he has thrown 17 touchdowns against five interceptions, good for a passer rating of 127.7. Yet he has thrown for a combined 338 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions during a two-game losing streak. Benkert will have to play better against Tech.

Senior linebacker Micah Kiser leads the charge on defense. He was top of the ACC in tackles last season with 68. While his production has dipped a bit this season, he is still second on the team in stops. Although he has yet to force a fumble this year, a turnover would be key.