Preview: BYU at Georgia Tech--The outcome will depend on the Cougar defense

The Brigham Young Cougars (4-4) caught Notre Dame in a trap game situation last week. It could be argued the tables are turned this week against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-4).

BYU has suffered two tough, emotional losses. The Cougars played well in these losses to top 10 foes. They may not be in the mood for another trip back east. They may take it for granted that they can just show up and beat this Yellow Jacket squad that has a losing record, including a loss to Sun Belt Conference member Middle Tennessee State. 

Georgia Tech’s 3-4 record is a little deceptive. Two of the four losses have come in overtime to Virginia Tech and Miami. Teams with losing records don’t typically average 37.7 points per game and 497.7 yards per game on offense. Tech’s problem this year has been their defense. The Wrecking Crew hasn’t wrecked anybody this year besides Presbyterian. Opponents average 28.3 points per game and 411.7 yards per game. Take out the Presbyterian game and those averages jump to 32.5 points and 439.8 yards.

The terrible defensive performance prompted Georgia Tech head coach to Paul Johnson to fire defensive coordinator Al Groh two weeks ago. In the Yellow Jacket’s only game since then, the defense played better statistically allowing 296 yards and 17 points, but that, too, is a little deceptive. Boston College only had the ball for 16:15 in that game. That is an average of 18.2 yards and 1.05 points per minute. If the time of possession was evenly split, like it has been in most of the Yellow Jackets’ other games this season, then Boston College would have had 31 points and 546 yards total offense.

Boston College was just 1 of 9 on third down conversions. It would appear that as long as BYU can convert third downs the yards and points should easily come. BYU has converted 43.65 percent of third downs on offense this season.

Stopping the Georgia Tech option attack will be priority number one for the BYU defense. Georgia Tech averages 339.6 yards rushing per game. What makes this option attack especially dangerous is an accurate passing game. BYU can't go all out to stop the run because when Georgia Tech does decide to throw, Tevin Washington is surprisingly efficient. He has completed 61.6 percent of his passes and averages 10.3 yards per attempt. Georgia Tech averages 158 yards passing per game. BYU will get stung if they forget to watch for pass attempts. 

The key to the game for BYU will be defense. If BYU wins and how big the margin will depend on how well the Cougar D stops the Georgia Tech offense. The BYU offense should move the ball and score enough points to win as long as the defense doesn't let Georgia Tech put together too many long, time-consuming drives.

All-time Series: Tied 1-1
Last: BYU won 24-13 (2003)
Streak: BYU won 1

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