Notre Dame 2021 Schedule Countdown: No. 10, Georgia Tech
This is the third of our 12-part series where we count down Notre Dame’s 2021 strength of schedule by how we view the degree of difficulty, from 12 to 1. At No. 10 is Georgia Tech on Nov. 20, Senior Day at Notre Dame.
Head Coach: Geoff Collins — 21-26 overall (.601): Entering 3rd season at Georgia Tech, where he is 6-16.
Collins was 15-10 at Temple in 2017-18.
Recruiting Rankings: 2017-21
2017 (41st), 2018 (53rd), 2019 (43rd), 2020 (25th), 2021 (48th)
2020 Record: 3-7
Year 2 under Collins began with much promise when the Yellow Jackets opened with a 16-13 win at Florida State. However, that conquest was followed by a 49-21 thrashing at home to UCF and then a 37-20 loss to Syracuse — the lone victory of the season for the 1-10 Orange.
Georgia Tech lost five of its last six games to end the campaign, and hit their worst three-week stretch with a 73-7 defeat at home to Clemson, a 48-27 loss at Boston College and a 31-13 setback to Notre Dame in a game where the gap was much wider than the score indicated.
Did You Know …
Among 127 FBS teams last year, Georgia Tech finished 95th in scoring offense with a 23.9 average, and No. 109 in scoring defense at 36.8.
Among the 15 ACC teams in the league last year (including Notre Dame), only Syracuse was worse on offense and only Duke posted worse data on defense.
2021 Capsule Summary
Building for the future was evident last year while continuing to move away from its triple-option days and identity under Paul Johnson, who was 82-61 from 2008-18. It was manifested by starting true freshmen Jeff Sims at quarterback and classmate Jahmyr Gibbs at running back.
The duo finished 1-2 in rushing with 492 and 460 yards, respectively. Gibbs was also one of the top receivers with 24 catches for 303 yards and three scores. Sims completed a relatively modest 54.9 percent of his passes for 1,881 yards, 13 scores but also 13 interceptions.
The defense under coordinator Andrew Thacker is where much more revitalization is needed. It was ineffective against both the run (90th, 189.2 yards per game) and pass, allowing 270.1 yards per game to rank 111th.
Two graduate transfers added this year to help aid production are linebacker Ayinde Eley and wide receiver Kyric McGowan.
The 6-3, 240-pound Eley came from Maryland, where as a sophomore two years ago he had had 79 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries.
Georgia native McGowan comes from Northwestern, where he had 34 receptions in eight games last year and produced 1,688 all-purpose yards during his career.
Why 10th Among 12 In Countdown
The current sophomore class, led by Gibbs and Sims, was one of the best signed at Georgia Tech in recent decades, but it is going to take a lot more than that to become a factor in the ACC race again.
There wasn’t one particular area last year where the Yellow Jackets could hang their collective hat on, and avoiding a third straight sub-.500 season will be difficult, and perhaps make the natives restless.
It will be Senior Day at Notre Dame, and the Fighting Irish have been unbeaten the past three Novembers. Unlike most of its ACC brethren, Georgia Tech won’t have a bye the week before playing Notre Dame, and then it has to face state rival Georgia and top-10 program the next week.
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