Oct. 21, 2011
By Jon Cooper
No. 20/19 Georgia Tech has a chance to kill two birds with one stone with a victory this afternoon, when they take on Miami at Sun Life Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m.
The Jackets have a chance to get back in the win column and also end the current two-game series losing streak against the Hurricanes — the longest current losing streak for the Jackets against an ACC team.
Head coach Paul Johnson believes the team will be up to the challenge and will bounce back from its first loss of the season, even if some skeptics may not.
“I feel like our guys are going to have a positive attitude,” he said at his Tuesday press conference. “We’re disappointed that we lost (in Virginia last week), but the sky isn’t falling. The team is 6-1. It seems like everyone wants to end the season and bury the team. Maybe they’re right, but let’s at least go play and see what happens.”
The Jackets fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last weekend, falling 24-21 at Virginia. Quarterback Tevin Washington led Tech in rushing for the second straight game, with 115 yards, and punched in his two short touchdown runs. Washington’s first score and cornerback Rod Sweeting’s 32-yard interception return for his first career touchdown, helped the Jackets overcame an early 14-0 deficit, its largest of the season. But the Cavs regained a 10-point lead by the half, then shut down Tech offensively. Virginia sealed the game by controlling the ball the final 5:58 of the game. Penalties also hurt the Jackets, as two block-in-the-back penalties nullified a pair of big plays.
The Hurricanes look to carry some momentum into their ACC home opener. They continued their up-and-down season by holding off North Carolina, 30-24, last weekend in Chapel Hill. Quarterback Jacory Harris threw for three touchdown passes in the first half, as Miami built up a 27-3 lead, then hung on as the Tar Heels rallied late.
The Yellow Jackets are 10-6 all-time in the series and, although they have dropped two straight to the ‘Canes, by a total of 68-27, have never lost three straight games in the series.
Today’s game will be televised on ESPN, with Bob Wischusen and Bob Davie calling the action and Samantha Steele reporting from the sideline. Of course, Tech fans can listen on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, with Wes Durham and former Tech QB Rick Strom calling the action. Fans can log onto Ramblinwreck.com to get live stats.
Here is some info. to take into Saturday afternoon’s Coastal Division showdown.
0 – The number of times that ranked Georgia Tech has met unranked Miami in Miami. The teams have met three times in such circumstances, with Tech winning all three games, all of them played at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The last of those came Oct. 26, 2006, a 30-23 win.
.656 – Georgia Tech’s winning percentage in Coastal Division play since the ACC started divisional play in 2006. The Jackets are 21-11 in those games and have a winning record on the road (9-8).
.727 – Including today’s game, the combined winning percentage of the teams remaining on Georgia Tech’s schedule.
2 – The number of Georgia Tech field goal attempts blocked this season. Tech didn’t have a blocked FGA in Paul Johnson’s first three seasons.
4 – The ranking of Georgia Tech’s third-quarter, scoring drive last week against Virginia in the Paul Johnson era. Tech’s 19-play, 85-yard drive ate up 9:31. Washington capped the drive with a one-yard plunge. Ironically, the drive was almost a one-play drive, but for a block-in-the-back penalty. It’s the third drive this year that ranks in the top-five for Tech under Johnson, Coincidentally, all of them have come on the road.
6.3 – The average margin of victory in Tech’s last four games. That’s down from 37.3 over their first three games.
8 – The number of rushing touchdowns scored by Washington this season. He’s scored two each at Middle Tennessee State, vs. North Carolina, vs. Maryland and at Virginia.
10-1 – Georgia Tech’s touchdowns vs. interceptions the first five games
0-3 – Georgia Tech’s touchdowns vs. interceptions over the last two games
16 – The number of consecutive seasons Georgia Tech has been .500 or better in ACC play. A win today would make it 17 straight.
67 – The number of points Georgia Tech is outscoring opponents in the third quarter this season (81-14)
82.9/80.0 – Georgia Tech’s winning percentages under Johnson when scoring at least 20 points and in games decided by five points or less. That shows just how unusual Georgia Tech’s 24-21 loss last weekend was.
190.1 – Tech’s pass efficiency in 2011. That’s third nationally and 88 points higher than 2010, when Tech finished 113th in the nation.
235/4 – The number of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns for Washington in the last two games.
Five Things to Know About Miami (and one about its head coach)
0 – The number of games Miami has left outside of the state of Florida. They’re 1-2 outside of the Sunshine State, having lost its season opener at Maryland, and at Virginia Tech, before squeaking by at North Carolina last weekend.
1 – Miami quarterback Jacory Harris’ rank in career total offense and passing yards among active ACC players. The senior’s 7,364 yards is more than 2,400 yards ahead of the next nearest player, Duke junior QB Sean Renfree (4,938). His 7,444 passing yards are nearly 2,400 yards ahead of Renfree (5,048).
70.1 – Harris’ career completion percentage against Georgia Tech. In three games, the senior QB is 43-of-61, for 662 yards with five touchdown passes and only one interception.
27 – The number of tackles the last two weeks by linebacker Sean Spence. Spence has been ACC Linebacker of the Week both weeks. His 40.5 career tackles for loss lead all active ACC players and rank third nationally.
59.3 – The percentage of yards gained in second halves this season by redshirt sophomore running back Lamar Miller. Miller has gained 59.5 percent of his career yardage (805 of 1,352 yards) in the final 30 minutes. The explosive back has nine plays of 25 yards or more this season.
5 – The number of seasons Miami Head Coach Al Golden served as defensive coordinator at Virginia under Al Groh, when Groh — Tech’s current defensive coordinator — was head coach. In those years, 2001-2005, the Cavaliers were 0-2 against Miami.