Georgia Tech, returning from a messy but successful road trip to Virginia, is glad to be back home for this week’s showdown with Pittsburgh.
The evening atmosphere has been good in the past for the Yellow Jackets, which they hope is a good sign.
“We are excited to be back home this week for homecoming and have a Saturday night game,” Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. “There’s always a great atmosphere and a lot of electricity in the air when you play on Saturday night here in Atlanta.”
Tech (5-3, 4-2 ACC) was sloppy in the win over Virginia with five turnovers and 100 yards in penalties.
“We’ve got some things to clean up from the Virginia game,” Johnson said. “I was proud of our guys in that we overcame some adversity with some self-inflicted wounds such as penalties and turnovers. But we found a way to make enough plays to win the game. That’s what it’s all about.”
Tech had three 100-yard rushers in the game as Zach Laskey, David Sims and Robert Godhigh each topped the century mark. The Yellow Jackets never trailed in the game despite Virginia having ample opportunities to take the lead thanks to Tech turnovers.
Pittsburgh (4-3,2-2) is in its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. An interesting twist to preparing for the game is that the Panthers played Navy, something which Johnson thinks will benefit them on Saturday.
“It’s good for us to look at, having not played them,” Johnson said. “If I’d had my rathers, I would have rather them not played Navy. It probably benefits them a little more to get the speed of the offense. It’ll give them a chance to see what they liked about it and what they didn’t; what they want to add and what they throw out.”
Pitt features two of the top receivers in the conference in Tyler Boyd and Devin Street. Boyd is just a freshman who has exploded on the scene with over 500 yards and five touchdowns while Street is a senior and former second team Big East all-conference selection. Street leads the team is receiving yards at 645, good for over 100 yards per game.
“Both Tyler Boyd and Devin Street are really good,” Johnson said. “Street is the all-time leading receiver in school history if I’m not mistaken. And besides Boyd and Street, they have very talented wide receivers. They also have an experienced quarterback who is very accurate if you can’t move him off his spot.”
Defensively, Pitt is led by one of the best defensive lineman in the country in Aaron Donald, who has recorded eight sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss as an interior lineman.
Donald was a first team all-conference selection a year ago and will likely receive All-American honors this year.
Tech will be hoping the triple option gets back on track after stalling in Virginia last week. It had been going well the last few weeks since completely stalling against Virginia Tech, but for some reason the Yellow Jackets weren’t very effective last week.
“It’s been hot and cold. I thought we were getting better at it,” Johnson said. “We did OK the first series. We ran two of three plays and we handled it OK. We only ran it the one time in the second half and we got the ball pitched for about an eight or 10 yard gain, but there were other things we could do and it didn’t look as smooth to me.”