Nov. 10, 2009
Coastal Division Title In Balance For Tech At Duke Saturday
Georgia Tech, riding a seven-game winning streak and owning its highest national ranking since 1999, travels to Duke Saturday with an opportunity to clinch the ACC Coastal Division title (Noon/ESPN2).
The Yellow Jackets, 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the ACC, must win at Duke on Saturday to earn a berth to the ACC championship game Dec. 5 in Tampa. A loss to the surprising Blue Devils may not completely eliminate Tech, but it would put the Yellow Jackets in the middle of a potential complicated tie-breaker scenario.
Tech, ranked seventh by Associated Press, USA Today and in the BCS standings, are coming off a thrilling 30-27 overtime win over visiting Wake Forest last Saturday. The Jackets converted a nail-biting 4th-and-one at the Wake Forest 5-yard line, setting up a game-winning 3-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Josh Nesbitt. Junior Jonathan Dwyer rushed for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown, and junior defensive end Derrick Morgan sacked Wake quarterback Riley Skinner twice on the Demon Deacons’ final possession of regulation.
Duke, 5-4 and 3-2, saw its three-game winning streak end with a 19-6 road loss at North Carolina last Saturday. The Blue Devils, who remain in the hunt for the Coastal Division crown, were outscored 13-0 in the second half by the Tar Heels. The Blue Devils are led by senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, whose 269.8 passing yards and 276.8 total offense yards per game cause the Yellow Jackets concern.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 45-30-1 and the Yellow Jackets have won the last five meetings. The series history can be found on page four.
Key Statistical Match-Ups For Saturday’s Game
Saturday’s game pits Georgia Tech’s high-powered rushing offense (1st in the ACC, 2nd nationally) against a Duke defense that is allowing just 139.2 yards per game.
The Yellow Jackets’ passing defense (10th in the ACC) will face a tough test in Duke (2nd in the ACC in passing offense).
Both teams have positive turnover margins — Tech +6 (1st in the ACC) and Duke (+3).
Saturday’s game features some of the ACC’s top receivers. Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas (86.1 ypg) leads the league in receiving yards per game. Duke freshman Conner Vernon leads the ACC in receptions per game (5.12) and Donovan Varner (74.9) ranks second behind Thomas in receiving yards per game.
Jackets Have Highest National Ranking In 10 Years
Georgia Tech moved up to seventh in the Associated Press poll and the USA Today poll this week — its highest national ranking since Nov. 1, 1999.
Tech was ranked seventh for three weeks in the 1999 AP poll. The Yellow Jackets have not been ranked higher than seventh since their national championship season of 1990.
Tech is ranked seventh in the BCS standings.
The Jackets are seventh in the Harris poll.
2009 Has Been A Season Of “Firsts” For The Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech’s 34-9 win at Virginia (Oct. 24) was its first in Charlottesville since 1990, breaking a streak of eight consecutive losses at UVA’s Scott Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets’ 28-23 win over Virginia Tech (Oct. 17) was its first win at home against a team ranked in the top five nationally since 1962.
Tech’s 49-44 win at Florida State (Oct. 10) marked its first win ever in Tallahassee, breaking an 0-6 streak.
The Jackets are ranked seventh in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 1999.
Georgia Tech is 9-1 through 10 games for the first time since its national championship season of 1990 when the Yellow Jackets started 9-0-1.
The Jackets have four road wins in a season for the first time since 2000.
Tech’s seven-game winning streak is its longest since 2000 and ties for the seventh-longest current streak nationally.
Quick Notes On The Jackets
Georgia Tech has not punted in the second half of a game since October 3rd, vs. Mississippi State. That punt came with 9:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Tech went through an extremely difficult October — five games, including four road games — without a blemish.
Tech ranks second nationally in rushing offense (314.9 ypg) behind Nevada. The Jackets have rushed for more than 300 yards in a game eight times this season. No other ACC team averages 200 yards rushing.
Over the last six games, Tech has averaged 479.7 yards of total offense, 350.2 yards rushing and 39.8 points.
Tech has produced more than 300 yards of total offense in 14 of the last 15 games.
Georgia Tech has rushed for 400 yards in a game seven times over the last 20 seasons. Six have come under Paul Johnson, including a 412-yard effort vs. Wake Forest last Saturday. Tech might not pass that often — 117 attempts in 10 games — but it averages a remarkable 23.7 yards per completion and has completed eight passes of 50 yards or longer.
Nesbitt: The Gritty Engineer Of Tech’s High-Powered Offense
Junior Josh Nesbitt is enjoying one of the finest seasons by a quarterback in Georgia Tech history.
Nesbitt’s 817 yards rushing are the most ever by a Yellow Jacket quarterback and rank as the third-most ever by an ACC QB.
His 1,849 career yards rushing make him the most prolific rushing quarterback in Tech history and ranks him fourth in ACC history.
Among quarterbacks, he ranks third nationally in rushing (81.7 ypg).
In Georgia Tech’s current seven-game win streak, Nesbitt has rushed for 604 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Over the last five games, Nesbitt has rushed for 454 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Among all positions, Nesbitt ranks fifth in the ACC (45th nationally) in rushing, second in the ACC in touchdowns scored (15), tied for second in scoring overall (90 points), and seventh in total offense (204.0).
He has rushed for 90 yards or more five times this season.
Nesbitt is the first quarterback in Georgia Tech history to rush for 100 yards in consecutive games (FSU and Virginia Tech).
He has rushed for at least two touchdowns in a game six times this season.
Nesbitt has been responsible for 28 plays of at least 20 yards, including 22 passes and six rushing attempts.
Facing 4th-and-1 and trailing 27-24 in overtime, Nesbitt rushed for a first down, then ran three yards for the game-winning touchdown against Wake Forest (Nov. 7).
At Florida State (Oct. 10), Nesbitt rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns. He also passed for 131 yards and a touchdown — the second time in his career he has passed and rushed for 100 yards in the same game.
Nesbitt’s three rushing touchdowns were the most allowed by Florida State since 1997.
At Mississippi State (Oct. 3), Nesbitt completed 11-of-14 passes for a career-high 266 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 19.0 yards per attempt — easily Tech’s highest average per attempt in at least 20 years. Nesbitt’s 319 yards of total offense at Mississippi State were the most by a Yellow Jacket since 2005.
Against North Carolina (Sept. 26), Nesbitt rushed a career-high 32 times — the most by a Jacket since 2007 — for 97 yards and two TDs.
Sept. 10 against Clemson, Nesbitt threw a 39-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas, setting up a game-winning field goal.
Dwyer: Showing Form That Made Him `08 ACC Player Of The Year
Junior Jonathan Dwyer, for the second straight season, is proving to be one of college football’s best ball-carriers:
Over the last two games, Dwyer has rushed for 375 yards and four touchdowns in wins over Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
Over the last seven games, Dwyer has rushed for 925 yards (132.1 ypg) and seven touchdowns.
He has rushed for 100 yards in a game five times this season, including in each of the last three games.
Dwyer is the third player in Yellow Jacket history, joining Tashard Choice and Robert Lavette, to rush for 1,000 yards in a season two times.
He ranks second in the ACC and 16th nationally in rushing yards per game (109.3).
Dwyer ranks sixth in the ACC in touchdowns scored (9).
He ranks sixth in the ACC in all-purpose yards (110.4 ypg).
The first time he touched the football this season, he ran 74 yards for a touchdown.
He has 10 carries of 30 yards or more this season.
Has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of the last two season.
Dwyer’s 1,093 rushing yards this season are the 11th-most in Tech history.
His 2,924 career rushing yards rank sixth in Tech history.
Dwyer’s name is etched throughout Georgia Tech’s career record book: 3rd in rushing touchdowns (30), 3rd in overall touchdowns (31), 4th in career 100-yard rushing games (15), 6th in career rushing yards (2,924), 7th in career scoring (188), 9th in all-purpose yards (3,638), 10th in rushing attempts (451) and 16th in total offense (2,924).