The Washington Times - October 8, 2011, 08:27AM

ATLANTA – And a pleasant good morning from the 404.

Will it be a pleasant afternoon for Maryland? The prospects don’t look so good.

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Here’s five predictions for this afternoon’s game at Bobby Dodd Stadium …

1. Georgia Tech will run for at least 325 yards. This isn’t much of a stretch for the nation’s No. 1 rushing offense; indeed, it is below the Yellow Jackets’ season average. Of course, that number is a bit bloated by Georgia Tech’s 604-yard outing against Kansas. The other four rushing totals: 297, 382, 312, 296. Look for something above the average of those four games (321.8).

2. Maryland will start four freshmen on defense for the first time in … well, a really long while. Linebacker Kenny Tate is listed as doubtful on Maryland’s injury report. Assuming that’s truthful (and it probably is, really, since it makes more sense for teams to omit injured players than to include them), the Terps will likely turn to Mario Rowson at Star. Toss in Lorne Goree, Keith Bowers and Titus Till, and Maryland will go with four freshmen on defense. It hasn’t happened since at least 1997, if ever.

3. Georgia Tech will score every time it’s in the red zone. The Yellow Jackets are 24-for-27 at getting something each time they get inside the 20, including 21 touchdowns. The big question for Georgia Tech is just how often they’ll take snaps inside the 20 against such a green Maryland defense.

4. Maryland will score every time it’s in the red zone. Georgia Tech has ceded 14 touchdowns and a field goal in 17 red zone trips by opponents, and has yet to force a turnover once a foe is inside the Yellow Jacket 20. The Terps have touchdowns in only half of their 20 red zone trips, but should fare better today – assuming they move the ball.

5. Georgia Tech will win by at least two touchdowns. There are only two questions for Maryland. One, can the Terps slow down Georgia Tech (heck, even coach Randy Edsall acknowledged the Yellow Jackets’ triple option won’t be stopped entirely)? Two, can the Maryland offense keep pace? The latter will be difficult if the Terps and their series of short passes can’t do better than their average time of possession of 24:40 against an opponent with the ability to grind up much of the clock.

Patrick Stevens