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Beats' picks: Can Duke football get back in the win column against Georgia Tech?

Our beat writers expect Duke's running backs to have a field day against a struggling Georgia Tech defense.
Our beat writers expect Duke's running backs to have a field day against a struggling Georgia Tech defense.

Prior to each Duke football game, beat writers Evan Kolin, Shane Smith, Jake Piazza, Max Rego and Cam Polo will make their predictions for the contest, and we’ll track their records throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ trip to Georgia Tech, which pits Duke as a one-point favorite.

Evan Kolin: Duke 31-24

As bad as the Blue Devils' offense looked against North Carolina, this matchup just plays right into head coach David Cutcliffe's hands. Georgia Tech's defense is dreadful against the run, while Duke's running game has been its lone positive this season. Don't expect Charlotte or Syracuse numbers (the Yellow Jackets' defense hasn't been that bad), but I can definitely see Mataeo Durant and Deon Jackson carrying Duke to victory.

Shane Smith: Duke: 26-24

This game is in a primetime slot for ACC football, but it’s hard to see much intrigue around this matchup of two teams near the conference basement. I was incorrect last month in thinking Cutcliffe’s previous success against N.C. State would bring the Blue Devils a win, but in a pick ‘em matchup I’ll roll with Duke, winners in five of the last six in this series.

Jake Piazza: Duke 27-21

These two teams stack up extremely well, but ultimately Duke’s experience is going to be the deciding factor Saturday. The veteran presence on the Blue Devil defense will be enough to quell the impact of Georgia Tech’s greatest offensive weapon, true freshman quarterback Jeff Sims, and Duke is going to ride out of Atlanta with its third win of the season.

Max Rego: Duke 23-17

Georgia Tech has struggled mightily to stop the run, giving up 202.7 yards per contest, 14th in the ACC ahead of only Syracuse. That, along with the fact that the Yellow Jackets also struggle to put points on the board and haven’t taken the field in nearly a month, makes me think Duke comes out with the win.

Cam Polo: Duke 24-13

Despite coming off a tough loss to the Tar Heels, the Blue Devils have still looked better lately than in the front half of the season. Duke's running backs should have a day against a Georgia Tech defense that hasn’t kept many people out of the end zone lately. Turnovers are always a risk, but expect the Blue Devils to put this one away midway through the fourth.

Overall results:

Evan Kolin: 5-3

Shane Smith: 5-3

Jake Piazza: 8-0

Max Rego: 5-3

Cam Polo: 6-2

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