After an impressive 42-17 win over the Miami Hurricanes, the Clemson Tigers head down to Atlanta this Saturday Oct. 17 to play Georgia Tech at 12:00 on ABC. The last time Clemson saw the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech was the 2019 season opener, and also the first game of the Geoff Collins era. Last year’s Georgia Tech team had to run a new offense with the triple option personnel. But, things have changed for the Yellow Jackets under Collins this year.
Under freshman Quarterback Jeff Sims, this Georgia Tech offense is more explosive than last years. In addition, Georgia Tech has quality receivers that can both block and make plays downfield with Malachi Carter, Marquezz Ezzard, Jalen Camp, and electrifying slot receiver Ahmaraen Brown on the roster. But, the offense relies heavily on true Freshman running back Jayhmr Gibbs. Gibbs brings a different element to this offense that Collins missed last year, Gibbs can make an impact in the run game as well as the passing game. Even though Georgia Tech has ditched the triple option, they still run a lot of plays that are option based. They run a good mix of inside and outside zone as well as powers, draws, and counters. They use a lot of 11 personnel (one running back, and one tight end) and 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends). These personnel groupings can create mis-matches up front and in the passing game.
The matchup to watch is Clemson’s inside linebackers, Baylon Spector and James Skalski trying to contain Jahmyr Gibbs in the passing game. Clemson has the advantage upfront to try to contain Gibbs without second level players getting involved. But, Georgia Tech uses Gibbs in the passing game very well, using screens and flares to get Gibbs the ball in open space. It will be up to Spector and Skalski to contain Gibbs in the passing game.
I expect Brent Venables to stack the box and make Jeff Simms, who is a better runner than passer at this point in his career, challenge him to beat him outside the numbers with one on one matchups for Clemson’s corners. So overall the advantage goes to Clemson.
Prediction: Clemson wins 48-13.