The Louisville Cardinals will be on the road for the second straight week after falling against the Pitt Panthers two weeks ago. They’re coming off a bye week, and have had some extra time to prepare for Georgia Tech on Friday night. The Pittsburgh game was a bit of a letdown spot for the Cardinals.
They were just a week removed from a showdown with the Miami Hurricanes. Miami have looked excellent this season and they showed it against Louisville. The Hurricanes emerged with a 47-34 win on the road at Louisville. It was the D’Eriq King show for Miami, as he threw for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns.
After that loss, Louisville didn’t appear ready to play Pittsburgh the following week. They were still thinking about the loss against the Hurricanes. That’s an easy way to lose football games. Fortunately, the Cardinals had two weeks to get both of those games out of their system. They will start fresh against the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech on Friday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Louisville were expected to be a potential sleeper in the ACC. Maybe not good enough to compete with Clemson, but in the next tier behind the Tigers. Until Miami can show that they’re better, the ACC is Clemson at the top and then everybody else behind. Miami has a chance to do that on Saturday night in what is easily the most anticipated matchup of the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have an opportunity to get back on track against Georgia Tech. There are no excuses for Louisville in this one. Having said that, they do have Notre Dame on the docket next weekend. This could be seen as a lookahead spot, though coming off a bye, Louisville catches a break. And after their lowly performance versus Pittsburgh, you have to think they will be more focused instead of taking their focus off the Yellow Jackets.
If you haven’t been paying attention to college football in the last couple of years, the triple-option left Georgia Tech with Paul Johnson in 2018. They had some success in his ten-year tenure, but weren’t able to get over the hump. Georgia Tech is trying to establish a passing-game after using the ground as their primary offensive vehicle for ten years.
They haven’t had a scary air attack since Calvin Johnson was a Yellow Jacket, and it’s going to take some more patience. The Yellow Jackets are 1-2, with a 16-13 win against Florida State in Week 1, and then 49-21 loss to UCF and 37-20 against Syracuse. Off a bye as well, Louisville and Georgia Tech are on an even playing field in that sense. Head below for our free Louisville vs. Georgia Tech pick for October 9, 2020.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets NCAAF Betting Odds:
Louisville vs. Georgia Tech Prediction:
It has been a tough transition from the triple-option to a more traditional college offense at Georgia Tech. Quarterback Jeff Sims must improve and cut down on the turnovers if anything is going to change for the Yellow Jackets.
Sims is a slippery runner, and could probably operate a triple-option to perfection, but Geoff Collins is asking him to do something with his arm. Sims is coming off a brutal performance versus a mediocre Syracuse defense.
He threw 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions to go along with 174 yards passing. Sims did manage to wiggle free for 41 yards rushing and a score on the ground. However, this is an offense that needs a quarterback who can connect downfield now. Sims hasn’t brought that to the equation.
Through three games in 2020, Sims has thrown 3 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The freshman is completing just 55.1% of his passes. He’s only a first-year quarterback, so with time we might see Sims develop. It’s likely not going to happen between two weeks ago and Friday night, though.
King is a mobile quarterback that showed the Cardinals aren’t the most difficult defense to conquer. However, Sims is not nearly on King’s level yet. The Cardinals’ defense played much better against the Pitt Panthers after King torched them. Kenny Pickett, who is a fairly serviceable QB, passed for 220 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.
I’m confident that Louisville will be able to frustrate Sims and the Georgia Tech offense on Friday night. The run has to set up the pass for the Yellow Jackets. However, the Cards were able to do a fine job turning back the Panthers’ ground game two weeks ago. Their leading rusher, Vincent Davis, ran for just 47 yards on 3.4 yards per carry.
Malik Cunningham has been dealing with the turnover bug as well. Not to the extent that Sims has, but Cunningham threw 3 interceptions against Pitt, which was essentially the difference in the game. The offense was unable to go anywhere in that one. On the season, Cunningham has passed for 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 59.3% completions.
Despite the shaky outing for him, he’s much better than the numbers against Pittsburgh indicate. He passed for 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 62.6% completions last year. One of his greatest strengths was avoiding mistakes. However, we didn’t see any of that versus the Panthers.
With a week off to prepare for Georgia Tech, I think we see a much better Cunningham in this meeting. Conversely, I don’t have much confidence in Sims matching drives with Cunningham. He needs more than a week off to work on his decision making. Look for the Cardinals to pull away in the fourth to win and cover.