After a week six loss and a week seven bye, the Cavaliers are on the road again. This week’s matchup: UVA vs. Georgia Tech. On Thursday night the Cavs will take on the Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. For two teams plagued with struggles early in the season and a dead even record for the history of this matchup, week eight will tell fans a lot about both teams. The game begins at 7:30 PM EST on October 20, 2022 and can be viewed at home on ESPN.
UVA vs. Georgia Tech: What’s Trending
Georgia Tech began the season 1-3 and fired head coach Geoff Collins. Under interim head coach Brent Key, the Yellow Jackets have notched wins over Duke and Pittsburgh to bring their current standing to 3-3.
UVA began the season with a new head coach in Tony Elliott, and new coordinators as part of Elliott’s staff. Right now, they’re 2-4 and 0-3 in ACC play. While the Yellow Jackets are improving, the Cavaliers seem to be trending in the opposite direction.
While UVA has beat Georgia Tech in the last two meetings of the series, the final standing is dead even at 21-21-0. So what does all this mean for this week’s UVA vs. Georgia Tech matchup?
UVA 2022: Cavalier Pros and Cons
At this point, you could make a whole pro/con list about the 2022 Virginia Cavaliers.
Lefty quarterback Brennan Armstrong, a literal record breaker just a year ago, hasn’t performed to expectations this season while all-star wide receiver Keytaon Thompson has stepped in to become the Cavs’ biggest playmaker. Dontayvion Wicks, a dominant force at receiver in 2021, has been plagued with drop issues this year while Perris Jones has proven himself a highly capable runner for the Cavs.
The defense, which on the whole would’ve been listed as a “con” last season and into the pre-season is migrating into “pro” territory thanks to performances by Nick Jackson, Chico Bennett Jr., and Jonas Sanker just to name a few. Surprisingly, this year’s defense is outperforming what was previously considered one of the conference’s most solid offenses.
The new coaching staff is almost certainly a factor in the season’s less-than-stellar performances. Maybe a winning season is more than anyone should’ve expected for a brand new coaching staff, but a season this troubled with the talent the team has is at the very least perplexing.
However, UVA vs. Georgia Tech is a chance for the Cavs to reignite the fire and work to salvage the remainder of the season.
UVA vs. Georgia Tech: What to Expect
Georgia Tech is not an unbeatable team. Sure they’ve won a couple of games under Coach Key, but for the season they are the lowest scoring team in the ACC. However, they’re playing in Atlanta this week which certainly doesn’t hurt their chances against the Cavs.
This season, the pass rush has been a strength for Georgia Tech but stopping the run has not. Virginia would be smart to exploit Georgia Tech’s weakness in this years UVA vs. Georgia Tech matchup, relying heavily on Perris Jones to be a big part of the offense this week.
After an injury against Duke, Yellow Jackets quarterback Jeff Sims is questionable this week. Like Brennan Armstrong, Sims is a dual-threat quarterback often relied on to make plays with his legs as well as his arm. If Sims is out this week, backup QB Zach Gibson will step in against the Cavs. Gibson, a transfer from Akron, isn’t without experience on the collegiate level but the real game changer at QB will be Sims if he’s in the game.
Whether Sims is in or not, Virginia’s defense will need to step up again this week. Up front, Kam Butler, Chico Bennett Jr., and Aaron Faumui have been solid but Virginia is still one of the worst teams in the ACC in tackles for loss. Linebacker Nick Jackson is the team’s leading tackler. Safety Jonas Sanker is the go-to for all things secondary and Anthony Johnson’s two interceptions rank fourth in the ACC. While Virginia’s defense has stepped back a little bit in recent weeks, they have forced 11 turnovers in six games.
Both teams have been forced to make adjustments on special teams this week with Virginia’s Will Bettridge taking over kicking duties from Brennan Farrell, and Georgia Tech’s Gavin Stewart taking over for Jude Kelley.
For this year’s UVA vs. Georgia Tech matchup, I wouldn’t anticipate a high scoring game because these teams have struggled similarly despite their current records. But, Virginia is the underdog and hasn’t been playing with the momentum or morale of Georgia Tech. A win could help to turn the season around, and would pull Virginia ahead in the UVA vs. Georgia Tech series.
UVA vs. Georgia Tech: Betting Odds
Per FanDuel Sportsbook, Virginia is the underdog this week at +3.5 on the spread. The moneyline is +126 and the over/under is 47.5.
Hopefully the Cavs have been putting in work during the bye for a UVA vs. Georgia Tech victory this season!
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