Football reporter Meadow Barrow spoke to Will Fuss, sports editor at Technique, Georgia Tech’s student newspaper, about Georgia’s upcoming matchup against Georgia Tech. The following story has been edited slightly for clarity.
meadow cart: What has Brent Key been like as interim head coach and what has he accomplished?
Want foot: So we [have] a much better record under Key than at any point under it [former head coach Geoff] Collins. We’re 4-3 under Key this year versus 1-3 to start under Collins, and you know four wins in a truncated season is better than the three wins Collins had in his first three years… He definitely has revived a program that looked like it was going to be an utterly lost season. The defense has gone light almost every week except against Florida State since he took over and that’s definitely been big, and then offense has done enough to keep us going in most games we’ve played.
MB: How was it getting through that excitement against North Carolina last weekend?
WF: We beat them in the Mercedes-Benz last year when they were ranked, so it’s our second year in a row that we’ve beaten a UNC team in the rank. It was definitely exciting… It also gave us some hope because after the Miami game we thought we had to win the Miami game and the UNC game to make a bowl game… We’re 2-0 against ranked teams en route this year, which gives us some hope of competing in Athens this weekend, even though UNC and Georgia aren’t quite the same team.
MB: Tech’s defense dominated against North Carolina’s offense and Drake Maye. How do you think the defense will fare against Georgia’s offensive?
WF: Georgia just has incredible offensive linemen and just some really good weapons across the board. But you know, Keion White won the weekly Bednarik Award for Best Defensive Player in the Nation last week. He had three sacks against a pretty solid UNC offensive line. And you know, we’re capable of forcing turnovers and making plays. I mean, you know, a lot of respect for Bennett, but Maye is also a very good quarterback and we were able to limit him. I think defense was definitely our strength this year. We had, you know, kind of an aberration on Ole Miss, Florida State, and Clemson. But otherwise [we] limited most teams we’ve played against, including a UNC offense that averaged about 40 points per game. So I think the defense definitely has potential to go to Athens and cause Georgia a lot of trouble that side of the ball.
MB: What about Tech’s attack versus Georgia’s defense?
WF: Georgia’s defense is obviously scary. One of the best in the country in years, and we’re down to Zach Gibson, our third-row quarterback. But Gibson, I mean, he played well [last weekend]he completed 72% of his passes. We did a lot of damage on the ground [and] We’ve had a couple of big rushing games this year. Hassan Hall had a big 160-yard rushing play earlier this year. Gibson is accurate when he’s at his best and when the offensive line [is] keep. Against Georgia’s defensive line we need to be creative and need Gibson, you know, to stay mobile and make plays when he’s able and hopefully force some turnovers that make a short field because [Gavin] Stewart has been a good kicker for us for most of this year.
MB: What does the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry mean to you and the students at Tech?
WF: It’s a great rivalry on our side. My dad actually went into tech, so I’ve been a fan my whole life. So it’s definitely big. I mean it’s a big rivalry. Especially after the UNC win, there was a bit of excitement around campus around this game and enthusiasm for it. Every Georgia-Georgia Tech game is a big game. But as you know, it’s easy for tech fans to hate Georgia, so we’re definitely tuning in now.
MB: your prediction?
WF: Oh, that’s the hardest part. See it’s like I can’t go on the plate and predict a tech loss. No matter what ESPN’s FPI says. So I say 23-20 tech in a nice tight game.