The moment has come for Florida State and Georgia Tech to meet in the long awaited ACC Championship game. The Conference championship match-up was set weeks ago, but both teams had more work to do to reach this top 11 potential classic. Both teams knocked off SEC foes in the regular season finale.
The (10-2) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have won their last five games by an average of 22.8 points per game. Their only single digit win was in the season finale over Georgia in overtime. Now Georgia Tech has an opportunity for a second straight Top 10 win. If they get it, they’ll be the ACC Champions. However, a spot in the College Football Playoff is not likely.
The No.4 Florida State Seminoles have been under the gun all season long. For the most part, the Seminoles have dealt with slow starts, only to recover time and again. With the way Georgia Tech runs their offense, Florida State must be keen on playing assignment football. That goes for both sides of the ball. Eye discipline, and reading certain keys will have to be on point.
Offensively, Florida State can’t afford for Jameis Winston to throw away possessions. Based on prior results, there will be fewer possessions in this game, so the Seminoles need to start fast. Forcing passes will not get it done on Saturday. Georgia Tech has intercepted 17 passes this season. In addition, Georgia Tech only gives up 220 yards per game through the air.
For Florida State to maximize these offensive possessions, the Seminoles must establish the run with Dalvin Cook. Florida State will be without Karlos Williams, so Cook will get the bulk of the carries, while Mario Pender will be the top reserve at running back.
If Florida State is going to win the ACC Championship game, their defensive line must be dominant. The Yellow Jackets will cut block, and try to keep the defensive line on the ground. If that’s the case, the nation’s fourth best rushing attack will flourish Saturday night. Georgia Tech averages 333 yards per game in 2014. It won’t be a fluke if the Yellow Jackets control the line of scrimmage.
Can Georgia Tech hit timely passes? That’s one of the biggest questions to be answered during the game. Georgia Tech only averages 135 yards passing, but it’s a big play here or there that can change the fortunes of both teams. The Yellow Jackets don’t want to turn into a passing team by any means, so they’ll be looking to win on first down.
This is one of a few huge games on the “Championship Saturday.” Which team vying for a College Football Playoff spot is most likely to lose on Saturday?
Both teams average over 34 points per game, therefore a high scoring game is not out of the question. However, a quick tempo, high scoring pace might benefit the Seminoles in the long run.
The ACC Championship takes place Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET in Charlotte, NC.