Georgia Tech Football: Grading the Defensive Units in win Over Duke
After allowing three turnovers against Pitt, Georgia Tech’s defense knew they had to stop the Duke offense. They answered the call.
The defense turned in what was perhaps the best performance of the season, holding to Duke to under 300 total yards and stopping their ground game, which had been one of the ACC’s best heading into the year. Only once Duke drove on Georgia Tech’s field was when they had the help of officials on their last drive. It was another solid performance by the defense, and hopefully it will continue to be so.
How did each unit do from Saturday? Let’s take a look at how each unit graded from Saturday.
Defensive Line: A
The defensive line totaled 1.5 sacks in the game, with one coming from Kyle Kennard, a half sack from Sylvain Yondjouen, and one from Makius Scott. Noah Collins (3) was next with four tackles. Kennard led the group in tackles. The defensive line did a good job keeping their rushing lanes clean and not letting Duke quarterback Riley Leonard escape from the pocket. Leonard is a skilled scrambler who was the second-leading rusher for Duke going into the game against Georgia Tech. However, he was ineffective during Saturday’s game and the defensive line deserves a lot of credit. Overall, this was another impressive performance by the defensive line after their win against Pitt.
It is not surprising, but the linebackers had another good game on defense and it is something that I have just come to expect from both Charlie Thomas and Ace Eley.
Eley led the team with nine tackles, but he also had two quarterback hits and contributed on a sack. Eley leads the team in tackles this season with 65 and he is second on the team in sacks with 3.5.
Thomas recorded seven tackles, a tackle to the quarterback and a pass breakup. Thomas is the best player on defense and plays well every single time he is on the field.
The secondary for Georgia Tech was pretty impressive against Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils do not have a strong passing attack, but they couldn’t get anything going against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday.
True freshman Clayton Powell-Lee was the standout. He was making his first start in a professional football league and had a great game. He finished second on the team with eight tackles and seemed to be in the right place during the game. Powell-Lee will see a lot of playing time this year with Jaylon King out for a year. He hopes to build on this game moving forward.
K.J. Wallace is the other player I want to highlight. Wallace had an interception, three tackles, and a good contribution in his first season as Yellow Jacket. Overall, it was a strong performance by everyone in the secondary. However, Wallace and Powell-Lee stood out to me as young players and should only get better.
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.