Georgia Tech faces No. 24 Pitt after dismissal of Geoff Collins
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Pittsburgh Panthers
- Pittsburgh has won four straight games against Georgia Tech, most recently with a 52-21 victory in Atlanta last season. It was the largest margin of victory for either team in the matchup since Pitt won 32-0 in the first game of the series in 1918.
- The Panthers have had an average time of possession of 35:18 this season, which leads the ACC and is seventh in the nation among FBS teams. Pitt joins Massachusetts and Minnesota as the only FBS teams to have 32:00 minutes of possession or greater in four different games in 2022.
- Israel Abanikanda rushed for 177 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries in Pitt's 45-24 win over Rhode Island. Abanikanda joins C.J. Spiller as the only ACC players this century to have 175+ rushing yards and four TD runs on 20 attempts or fewer in a single game.
- Brent Key will make his debut as head coach for Georgia Tech after Geoff Collins was let go on Monday. Key played on the offensive line for the Yellow Jackets from 1997 to 2000 with the team having a record of 34-14 over those four seasons.
- Georgia Tech is averaging 13.8 points per game this season, more than only Colorado (11.8) among Power Conference schools. Dating back to last season, the Yellow Jackets have scored more than 10 points once over their last six games.
Georgia Tech will start a new era for its program when it plays at No. 24 Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. Saturday, but not in the way the Yellow Jackets envisioned when the season began.
Following a 27-17 loss at Central Florida last Saturday that put the Yellow Jackets at 1-3 (0-1 in ACC play), Georgia Tech fired head coach Geoff Collins, who went 10-28 after taking over for the retired Paul Johnson in 2018.
Georgia Tech also dismissed athletic director Todd Stansbury Monday.
Georgia Tech named associate head coach and offensive line coach Brent Key as interim, who has the unenviable task of helping his players deal with the transition and prepare for a ranked opponent on the road.
"Unfortunately, the results of our football program have fallen short of what our loyal community, fans and athletes expect and deserve," Georgia Tech president Angel Cabrera said in a statement. "We are committed to rebuilding the program and a coaching change is a necessary first step in that process."
Georgia Tech's only win this season was a 35-17 win in Week 3 over Western Carolina. In its three losses, the Yellow Jackets have combined to score 20 points, and fixing those offensive struggles will likely be foremost for Key.
Georgia Tech's offense is led by quarterback Jeff Sims, who has completed 59.8% of his passes for 739 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 111 yards.
While Georgia Tech enters in turmoil, Pittsburgh enters on a roll and in a steady place as a program.
The Panthers (3-1) enter the start of ACC play having won their last two games, at Western Michigan and against Rhode Island.
Pittsburgh received good news during the 45-24 win over Rhode Island when quarterback Kedon Slovis returned after missing the Western Michigan game with an undisclosed injury.
Slovis completed 20-of-27 passes in his return, but had the help of running back Israel Abanikanda with 177 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Abanikanda enters the game second nationally in all-purpose yards at 180.25 and sixth in rushing yards per game at 119.8.
Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi admitted Monday that a coaching change with Georgia Tech leads to some uncertainty in regards to preparation.
"It's like going back to the opening game of the season again, not knowing what they're going to do," Narduzzi said. "But again, I would imagine the offense is going to stay pretty similar. The defense is going to stay pretty similar with the effect that they had. But you never know. There's going to be different things that maybe they're allowed to do that they couldn't do before."
Pittsburgh has owned the series against Georgia Tech as of late.
The Panthers have won four straight games over the Yellow Jackets and six of the last seven, with Georgia Tech's lone win in that span coming in 2017.
Last season, Pittsburgh earned a 52-21 over the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 26, 2022