Saturday, October 31, 2020, Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia 3:30 p.m. ET
Fighting Irish at Yellow Jackets Betting Preview: Fighting Irish (-19.5), Yellow Jackets (+19.5)
No. 4 Notre Dame (5-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) will take an 11-game winning streak — the nation’s longest — into Saturday’s game, but coach Brian Kelly is looking for his Fighting Irish to step up their play.
“We have to elevate our play if we have any chance to get to our goal, which is to win a championship,” Kelly said.
Quarterback Ian Book has been a major reason for the Irish’s success. The veteran is 25-3 as a starter, which is tied for the third-most wins among active quarterbacks at the FBS level. He passed for 312 yards in Notre Dame’s 45-3 rout of Pittsburgh last week, earning ACC Quarterback of the Week honors in the process.
For the season Book has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,026 yards and six touchdowns and has rushed for 166 yards and five touchdowns. He was added to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 list this week.
He will be up against a Georgia Tech defense that has allowed 41.2 points, 198.7 rushing yards, and 280.5 passing yards a game. The Irish have protected Book well, having given up only nine sacks all season. The Yellow Jackets have 10 sacks in six games.
The Yellow Jackets (2-4, 2-3 ACC) have had their ups and downs this season, starting the year by beating Florida State in Tallahassee but losing big 73-7 to No. 1 Clemson. Despite the 48-27 loss to Boston College last week, coach Geoff Collins sees progress in his Jackets.
“A lot of people just look at the results,” Collins said. “They don’t want to look at the steps we’re taking and the progress we’re making in his journey. Every single day, we’re building something that’s very, very special.”
Quarterback Jeff Sims has had his moments and has passed for 1,196 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 275 yards and four more scores, but he often plays like the freshman he is. He has 10 interceptions and has had issues with ball security.
Collins yanked him in the fourth quarter last week and replaced him with last year’s starter James Graham. Graham passed for 85 yards and ran for 21 in his first action of the season. Sims, however, is expected to start against the Irish.
“Sims is a talent,” Notre Dame’s Kelly said. “He’s got arm talent, he’s got the ability to extend plays, and he’s very dangerous with the ball in his hands.”
Fighting Irish at Yellow Jackets Betting Pick for October 31, 2020
Notre Dame’s 30-22 win in 2015 in the last meeting with Georgia Tech gave the Irish a 28-6-1 advantage in the series. Both the Irish and Yellow Jackets own wins over Florida State and Louisville, the Irish by 42-26 over Florida State and 12-7 over Louisville and the Jackets by 16-13 against the Seminoles and 46-27 against the Cardinals.
Fighting Irish at Yellow Jackets Pick:
Fighting Irish 38, Yellow Jackets 10
Fighting Irish at Yellow Jackets Best Bet for October 31, 2020
The Irish offense woke up last week in a 45-3 rout of Pittsburgh and their defense should keep the Yellow Jackets in check. The Irish are allowing opponents only 273 yards a game in total offense, and the Yellow Jackets are averaging 396.3 yards a game.
Fighting Irish at Yellow Jackets Best Bet: UNDER 56.5