Book, No. 4 Notre Dame face Sims, Georgia Tech
The No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish will try to continue their dominance over Georgia Tech when the teams meet on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.
Notre Dame leads the all-time series 28-6-1, the last meeting a 30-22 Irish win in South Bend, Ind., in 2015. Georgia Tech’s last victory over the Irish came in a 33-3 decision in 2007, also at South Bend.
This year’s game was originally scheduled to be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, but it was shifted to the campus site after COVID-19 forced the Atlantic Coast Conference to reshuffle its schedule.
Notre Dame (5-0, 4-0 ACC) recovered from a narrow 12-7 win over Louisville on Oct. 17 to thump Pitt 45-3 last Saturday. It was the largest margin of victory over a Power Five conference opponent since Brian Kelly became head coach.
The Fighting Irish have won 11 consecutive games, the longest active winning streak among FBS teams.
“We have to elevate our play if we have any chance to get to our goal, which is to win a championship,” Kelly said.
Georgia Tech (2-4, 2-3) lost 48-27 at Boston College last week, its second straight defeat. The Yellow Jackets’ average margin of defeat in their four losses is 33 points.
That number is misleading, according to coach Geoff Collins.
“A lot of people just look at the results,” said Collins, who is in the middle of his second season. “They don’t want to look at the steps we’re taking and the progress we’re making in his journey. Every single day, we’re building something that’s very, very special.”
This week’s game will feature a pair of playmaking quarterbacks, a veteran, Notre Dame’s Ian Book, and a newcomer, Georgia Tech freshman Jeff Sims.
Book, a graduate senior, is 25-3 as a starter, tied for the third-most wins among active FBS quarterbacks. He threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns last week against Pitt and was named ACC Quarterback of the Week.
Book has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 1,026 yards and six touchdowns and has rushed for 166 yards and five touchdowns. He was added to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 list this week.
He will face a Georgia Tech defense that is allowing 41.2 points, 198.7 yards rushing and 280.5 yards passing per game. The Yellow Jackets have a talented secondary but have failed all season to get pressure on the quarterback.
Sims will face a tougher task going against the Notre Dame defense, which has yielded just 9.8 points per game. Sims has been productive, having thrown for 1,196 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns, but he has thrown 10 interceptions and has had issues with ball security.
Sims was yanked in the fourth quarter against Boston College and replaced by James Graham, last year’s starter. It was Graham’s first action this season, and he threw for 85 yards and ran for 21. Sims is expected to start, but his leash is getting shorter.
“Sims is a talent,” Kelly said. “He’s got arm talent, he’s got the ability to extend plays and he’s very dangerous with the ball in his hands.”
–Field Level Media