“We just cannot get off the field”.

That has been the consistent weekly topic and words uttered repeatedly on many occasions during Tuesday press conferences involving Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson. The frustration has clearly become more and more common though many of those pressers were following a win. Even versus some pretty darn good teams. It’s something the team has failed to do consistently and makes one’s mind wander how good this team could be if they improve in that one key area on the field.

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In fact, they could be scary good and it’s not too late. If you’re familiar with the terms ‘clean, old fashioned hate’ and it’s rivalry week, you’ll know that Georgia Tech and University of Georgia are scheduled to meet this weekend for a contest that is typically always competitive and recently hardly ever overlooked.

Depending on who you’re asking, UGA hasn’t lived up to the expectations that they entered the season with but have shown flashes of greatness to build upon for the future despite their rookie QB Jacob Eason and rookie coach Kirby Smart.

The growing pains that realistic Dawg fans were expecting revealed it’s ugly face during some critical moments in games earlier this season that could have perhaps changed the outcome of the final score (Tennessee).

What DawgNation cannot afford are losses to it’s primary rivals in Florida and Tech. That could very well happen after the Bulldogs fell 24-10 to FLA in Jacksonville’s world’s largest cocktail party a few days before Halloween. Needless to say this game is key and could cap off a decent at best yet competitive regular season.

Optimism lingers with a win this Saturday versus it’s in-state arch-rivals following some disappointments (Vandy, Ole Miss) and some wins to hang your hat on (North Carolina, Auburn). Georgia will look to add to that glass half full if it takes full advantage of Tech’s weak points; going back GT’s inability to get a stop on 3rd down when on the defensive side of the football.

GT is ranked 124th nationally in 3rd down conversion defense and have allowed nearly 80 successful opportunities for the opposing team in 150+ attempts. Why is this expected to be such a great game again? Georgia doesn’t particularly excel in taking advantage of GT’s weaknesses. UGA ranks 68th in 3rd down conversions on the season, 15 spots lower than the Jackets.

These 2 teams don’t like each other.

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Period.

When they meet in Athens this weekend, both will be looking to pull out all the stops on both ends.

Buzz has also had it’s fair share of let-downs this season starting with road games. North Carolina just weeks ago was winnable and kept close for a large portion of the game until the Tar Heels pulled away and took off on offense making the final score look worse that most of what was played, 48-20.

Prior to that, a late field goal just barely edged Pittsburgh past Tech. However, a close win over Duke who has been much improved these last few seasons isn’t too shabby. Sure they’re not the basketball team but I don’t think anyone would disagree with the steady increase of noticeable success from the Duke program on the gridiron.

A road win versus Virginia Tech plays as a huge confidence booster for Paul Johnson’s club and as minimal as it may seem, a win over Vandy (something not even UGA can say) should should be beneficial to Georgia Tech as well.

Both teams will be bowl eligible so they’re seniors will have another shot at competition moving forward past Friday but this is a huge deal for both coaches and programs overall likely playing their last game of the season in the Peach State.

GT QB Justin Thomas’ experience, leadership and maybe most importantly his decision-making will need to be big as well as the play-making ability of Qua Searcy, Ricky Juene, Marcus Marshall, Patrick Gamble and Clinton Lynch.

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The Yellow Jackets will swarm together but will they play Georgia the way they played Virginia Tech or how they competed versus Virginia? We will see this weekend.