With bowl eligibility at stake for both teams, Georgia Tech welcomes Syracuse to Atlanta on Saturday for a critical Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.
The Yellow Jackets (5-5, 4-3) recently posted back-to-back wins over then-No. 17 North Carolina and Virginia before getting doubled up by Clemson last weekend 42-21. Georgia Tech came into that game averaging 465 yards of offense but mustered only 254 yards against the Tigers.
Haynes King was picked off four times and the Yellow Jackets only held the ball for 23:08 as their five-game ACC road winning streak came to an end.
“We got our butts kicked out there today,” Georgia Tech coach Brent Key said. “We’ve got to continue to improve, push through these things, correct these things, and get ready to play another game next week.”
That game will come against a Syracuse team that snapped a five-game losing streak last weekend with an innovative 28-13 victory over Pittsburgh. The Orange (5-5, 1-5) essentially played without a quarterback, as the injured Garrett Shrader was only able to throw two passes.
That opened the door for coach Dino Babers to install a wildcat offense in which tight end Dan Villari (17 carries, 154 yards) and running back LeQuint Allen (28 carries, 102 yards) took the bulk of the snaps.
Shrader is questionable for Saturday’s affair, while backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson appears unlikely to be available after missing the Pitt game.
The Orange need one win to become bowl-eligible for the second straight season. They haven’t gone to a bowl in back-to-back seasons since 2012 and 2013.
“The bottom part of success is getting these guys to a bowl game,” Babers said. “They give up their summers, they go through broken bones, torn ligaments, surgeries. If we can find a way to get into a bowl, to me, that’s a good thing.”
The Yellow Jackets are aiming for their first bowl appearance since 2018.
Georgia Tech swept its first three games against Syracuse before dropping the last meeting, 37-20 in 2020.