Georgia Southern running back Matt Breida (center) is brought down by Georgia Tech’s defense in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September, 13, 2014. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Southern: Three things to watch

Three things to watch when Georgia Tech (3-3, 1-3 ACC) hosts Georgia Southern (3-2, 2-1 Sun Belt) on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium:

The offensive line. The group, like most on Tech’s team, is beat up. Several contributors weren’t able to practice at least one day during the week. As a result, there could be as many as three freshmen, Parker Braun, Jahaziel Lee and Kenny Cooper, playing a significant amount should Shamire Devine, Andrew Marshall and Trey Klock not be able to go. The line’s pass protection improved in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh, but its run blocking, particularly in a key short-yardage situation late in the fourth quarter, was sub-standard.

Can the defense get a stop? Tech’s defense has given up a touchdown on the first drive to its past five opponents. If it can’t stop the Eagles, who run a similar offense to Tech’s so it should be very familiar to the defense, then who knows if that trend will ever stop.

Unhappy Georgia Southern fans. The Eagles have lost two consecutive games. The running game, arguably the best in college football for several years, has yet to produce a 100-yard rusher this season. Matt Breida, who was averaging 8.27 yards per carry his previous two seasons, is averaging 4 yards per carry this season. The Eagles are averaging 286.6 rushing yards per game, but the fan base isn’t happy with first-year coach Tyson Summers.

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