Feb. 14, 2011
by Dean Buchan
Georgia Tech 2011 Opponents
The Catamounts went 2-9 overall and 1-7 in the Southern Conference… Paul Johnson is a 1979 graduate of Western Carolina… this will be the first meeting between the two teams since 1994… Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 4-0… the Catamounts are led by running back and Decatur (Ga.) native Michael Johnson (611 yards), a junior… quarterback Zac Brindise is a South Caroina transfer who passed for 1,405 yards and seven touchdowns last season as a junior… head coach Dennis Wagner will call the plays on offense this season, meaning the Tech-WCU game will be one of the few in college football in 2011 that does not have an offensive coordinator.
Georgia Tech’s home opener… Kansas went 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12 Conference… one of those wins was a surprise upset victory over Georgia Tech in Lawrence… now the Jayhawks make the return trip to Atlanta… KU has never played previously in Bobby Dodd Stadium… the only other meeting between the two teams came in the 1948 Orange Bowl, won by the Yellow Jackets, 20-14.. the Jayhawks return their starting quarterback in Jordan Webb (1,195 passing yards), leading rusher in James Sims (742 yards) and leading receiver Daymond Patterson (487 yards)… linebacker Steven Johnson (95 tackles) returns.
The Bulldogs finished 6-7 overall and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference… Georgia fell to George O’Leary and UCF in the Liberty Bowl… CBS Sports ranks Georgia No. 21 in its early pre-season top 25… the Bulldogs return nine starters on defense… this will be the 106th all-time meeting between the Jackets and Bulldogs… Georgia leads the all-time series, 61-39-5… Tech is looking for its first win at home against UGA since 1999… the Bulldogs return talented quarterback Aaron Murray (3,049 yards, 24 touchdowns).
The Terrapins were one of the ACC’s biggest surprises in 2010, going 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the league… Maryland finished second behind Florida State in the Atlantic Division… defeated East Carolina in the Military Bowl in Washington, DC, the final game for coach Ralph Friedgen… the Terps will be under the direction of former Georgia Tech assistant coach Randy Edsall, who came to College Park after building the program at UConn… the Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series, 13-6… Tech hasn’t played the Terps since 2007, in Atlanta for the first time since 2006… Maryland returns ACC Rookie of the Year quarterback Danny O’Brien (2,438 yards passing, 22 touchdowns) and running back Davin Meggett (720 yards)… the Terps averaged 32.2 points per game in ’10.
The Tigers finished with an identical record as Georgia Tech, 6-7 overall and 4-4 in the ACC… Clemson lost to South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, 31-26… Tech has won last three Atlanta meetings… the Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series, 49-25-2… Coach Dabo Swinney has a new offensive coordinator in Chad Morris, who comes over from Tulsa, which averaged 41.4 points and 505.2 yards per game last season.
North Carolina overcame a season full of off-the-field obstacles to go 8-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC… the Tar Heels edged Tennessee in the Music City Bowl, one of the most exciting games of the bowl season… Tech has won five of last six meetings… the Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series, 25-18-3… Bryn Renner is expected to take over at quarterback for Marietta’s T.J. Yates… wide receiver Dwight Jones (946 yards receiving) returns.
The two teams will meet in an ESPN nationally-televised Thursday night game for the second straight year… the Hokies won the ACC championship in 2010, going 8-0 in conference play and 11-3 overall… Tech defeated Florida State in the ACC title game in Charlotte, then lost to Stanford in the Orange Bowl… the Hokies lose quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but are ranked 10th in Sporting News’ 2011 preseason poll and 18th in CBS Sports’ pre-season top 25… Taylor is expected to be replaced by 6-6 Logan Thomas… Virginia Tech leads the all-time series, 5-3… the Jackets won the last meeting in Atlanta, 28-23 in 2009 when the Hokies were ranked fourth nationally… the Hokies return defensive standouts Bruce Taylor and Eddie Whitley… VT averaged 33.9 points per game last season and overcame an 0-2 start.
at NC State
The Wolfpack finished 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC… State finished tied for second in the Atlantic Division behind Florida State… defeated West Virginia, 23-7, in the Champs Sports Bowl… quarterback Russell Wilson (3,563 yards passing, 28 touchdowns), one of the nation’s top QBs, did not enter the NFL draft and could be back in 2011… this will be the first meeting in Raleigh between the two teams since 2006… the Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series, 17-10… Tech has won five of the last seven meetings… State returns leading rusher Mustafa Greene (597 yards)… the `Pack averaged 31.8 points per game in 2010.
Virginia was 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the ACC in 2010 under first-year coach Mike London… this will be the first time Al Groh – Tech’s defensive coordinator and the former UVA head coach – has returned to Charlottesville… Tech’s 2009 win in Charlottesville, 34-9, was its first at Scott Stadium since 1990… the all-time series is tied, 16-16-1… Virginia has an open date before hosting the Yellow Jackets… the Cavaliers return receiver Kris Burd (799 receiving yards) and running back Perry Jones (646 yards), along with talented cornerback Chase Minnifeld.
The Blue Devils finished 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the ACC… despite the record, Duke was solid under coach David Cutcliffe… Tech has won last seven meetings and has not lost in Durham since 2003… the Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series, 47-30-1.. the Blue Devils return quarterback Sean Renfree (3,131 yards), running back Desmond Scott (530 yards) and receivers Conner Vernon (973 yards) and Donavan Varner (736 yards).
The Hurricanes finished 7-6 overall and 5-3 in the ACC before firing head coach Randy Shannon… the `Canes lost to Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl… Miami is under the direction of new coach Al Golden, who comes to Coral Gables after a successful stint at Temple… Tech will return to the site of the Orange Bowl, Sun Life Stadium… Miami has won the last two meetings but Tech has won four of the last six… the Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series, 10-6… both quarterbacks, Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris, return in 2011.
at Middle Tennessee State
The Blue Raiders finished 6-7 overall and 5-3 in the Sun Belt Conference… MTSU fell to Miami (Ohio) in the GoDaddy.com Bowl… Tech makes first trip to Murfreesboro… Tech’s win over the Blue Raiders last season was the only previous meeting between the two teams… dual-threat quarterback Dwight Dasher is gone, but the Blue Raiders return Logan Kilgore (540 passing yards) and Jeff Murphy (395)… MTSU averaged 26.5 points per game in 2010.