ATLANTA — The third Saturday in October is not too early for Georgia Tech to worry about extending its streak of 16 consecutive bowl seasons.
Three consecutive losses to Virginia Tech, Miami and Brigham Young have raised the pressure for Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) to end the skid against Syracuse toay.
Syracuse (3-3, 1-1), coming off a win at North Carolina State, is making its first trip to Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets play two Football Championship Subdivision teams this season. They opened with a 70-0 rout of Elon on Aug. 31 and will play Alabama A&M on Nov. 23.
Only one win over a FCS team can count toward bowl eligibility, so Georgia Tech likely needs to win four of its last six games.
Georgia Tech also has games remaining against Virginia, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Georgia.
A key for the Yellow Jackets is improved production from quarterback Vad Lee, who has no touchdown passes and four interceptions in the three consecutive losses.
Coach Paul Johnson has pulled Lee in the past two games but said he is sticking with the sophomore as his starter. Johnson said Lee needs better pass protection and fewer drops from his receivers.
“Is he perfect? No, but nobody is,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to protect him better in the passing game. That’s the bottom line.”
Lee has struggled making the right option reads in his first year as a starter. Johnson said that part of Lee’s play has improved.
Syracuse coach Scott Shafer began preparing his team for Georgia Tech’s spread option offense during two-a-days in August. He continued to spend time on Georgia Tech in the last 10 minutes of practice every Sunday during the season.
“The only way you can get ready is to spend a little bit of time,” Shafer said. “Hopefully, we’ll reap the benefit from that. We’ll see. They are very tough.”