The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will try to continue turning around their season Thursday night when they host reeling Virginia in Atlanta.
After opening the season by dropping three of their first four games, the Yellow Jackets have won two under interim coach Brent Key. The former Georgia Tech offensive lineman took over after the school fired coach Geoff Collins and athletic director Todd Stansbury two days after a loss at Central Florida on Sept. 26.
Key, who was promoted from assistant head coach coach/run game coordinator, guided Georgia Tech to a 26-21 upset at then-No. 24 Pittsburgh on Oct. 1. A week later, it knocked off visiting Duke 23-20 in overtime to head into last week’s open date with momentum.
Suddenly, Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-1 ACC) is in second place behind North Carolina (6-1, 3-0) in the ACC’s Coastal Division, while Virginia (2-4, 0-3) has dropped three in a row to remain the league’ only winless team in ACC play.
Key said the Yellow Jackets need to build upon their recent gains after the Yellow Jackets’ nine-game losing streak to FBS teams ultimately cost Collins and Stansbury their jobs. Under Collins, Georgia Tech went 10-28 overall, including three successive three-win seasons, and went 7-19 in ACC play.
“We need a great crowd on Thursday night to help these kids and motivate these kids and show them that everyone’s behind them in their quest to be successful,” Key said.
Virginia also had an open date last week after falling to visiting Louisville (3-3, 1-3), the Cavs’ fourth loss in five games.
Key arrived at Georgia Tech in 2019 after coaching the offensive line under Nick Saban at Alabama the previous three seasons. Last month, he became the head coach, and last week the school hired J Batt away from Alabama to be the athletic director. Batt had served as key athletic fundraiser at Alabama and worked with Key for three years.
Virginia hired first-year head coach Tony Elliott in December after he had spending 11 seasons at Clemson, serving as offensive coordinator for Dabo Swinney for the past eight years.
“We are still a team that needs a lot of work fundamentally,” Elliott said. “We wanted to set the vision of where we are heading coming out of the bye week.”
Virginia has won the past two meetings and three of the past four against Georgia Tech, including last year’s 48-40 decision in Charlottesville, Va.
–Field Level Media