Nov. 18, 2011
By Jon Cooper
While Georgia Tech’s run of top-10 teams takes a week off as they head to Duraham, N.C., to take on Duke (kickoff is at 12:29 p.m.), the Jackets certainly will not.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, they still have a lot to prove.
Head coach Paul Johnson believes the team said as much in his Tuesday press conference and warned against any kind of complacency against the Blue Devils.
“We talked about trying to win eight games. That’s what we need to do. We need to beat Duke,” he said. “[Winning 10 games) is out there in front of them, but that’s not the focus. The focus needs to be beat Duke because otherwise it won’t be pretty.”
The Jackets believe they have shaken off the tough 37-26 loss last Thursday night against Virginia Tech, which knocked them out of the race for the Coastal Division. It was a tough night, as they were out-rushed for the first time since the 2010 Orange Bowl, and surrendered 172 yards to tailback David Wilson, the most by an opposing running back since C.J. Spiller of Clemson ran for 233 in the ’09 ACC Championship Game. There were bright spots, as quarterback Tevin Washington ran for three touchdowns and Tech overcame a 13-point late-second quarter lead and took the lead before falling.
The Blue Devils are not the Hokies. but have been tough at home. Don’t let their 1-5 record fool you, as they have lost home decisions to the likes of Stanford, Florida State and Virginia Tech, the latter by only four points. Duke is glad to be coming home, following back-to-back road losses at Miami and at Virginia — that should sound familiar to Tech fans. It also will be an emotional day at Wallace Wade Stadium, as it is Senior Day.
The Yellow Jackets have dominated this series, holding a 47-30-1 all-time advantage, although the edge is a lot tighter in Durham, where Tech leads 20-18. Recent history has been heavily in the Jackets’ favor, as they’ve won 15 of the last 16 in the series and have lost only once at Wade Stadium in the last 10 tries.
Today’s game will be televised on the ACC Network, with Tim Brant and Dave Archer calling the action and Mike Hogewood reporting from the sideline. Of course, Jackets fans can listen on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, with Wes Durham and former Tech QB Rick Strom calling the action. The game also can be heard on satellite radio via Sirus (Ch. 24) and XM (193) but will be the Duke broadcast. Fans can log onto RamblinWreck.com to get live stats.
Here is some info. to bedevil any Duke fans you might know.
0 – The number of head football coaches in Georgia Tech history who have won eight games in three of their first four seasons. Paul Johnson can become the first with a win today.
0 – The number of losses in 2011 against teams from the state of North Carolina. The Jackets have topped Western Carolina, North Carolina and North Carolina State.
3 – The number rushing touchdowns Tevin Washington needs to tie for No. 10 on the Georgia Tech CAREER rushing touchdowns list. Were he to match his output against Virginia Tech, Washington would tie running back C.J. Williams (1994-96) with 20.
3.88 – The number of yards Georgia Tech’s punt return unit has allowed opponents per attempt this season. That’s 12th in the nation.
4.2 – The number of penalties Georgia Tech averages per game. That’s eighth in the nation, coincidentally, tied with Duke.
7 – The number of times a quarterback has rushed for three touchdowns in a game under Paul Johnson. Washington became No. 7 last Thursday night against Virginia Tech.
7.5/5.0 – The team-leading number of tackles for loss and sacks recorded by linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu.
11 – The ACC-leading number of touchdowns scored by Washington. He leads Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas, who is next with eight rushing scores. Nine of Washington’s TDs have come in his last five games.
21 – The number of wins by Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets in 22 games scoring at least 30 points.
35.3 – The number of points Georgia Tech has averaged in three games against Duke under Johnson. Tech is 3-0, winning 27-0 in 2008, 49-10 in 2009 and 30-20 last season.
46.3 – The number of yards of rushing offense per game in 2011 vs. Paul Johnson’s first season at Tech in 2008. The Jackets are rushing for 319.5 ypg in 2011. The ’11 squad is four yards per game off last year’s total of 323.3, the high for a Johnson-coached team.
58- The number of plays of at least 20 yards produced by the Georgia Tech offense.
12 – The number of different Yellow Jackets to make a play of at least 20 yards.
90.0 – Tech’s efficiency in the red zone over the last two games. They have scored on nine of their last 10 possessions, seven of those touchdowns. Opponents have scored on seven of their last 10 trips over the last two games, with five of those resulting in TDs.
1.000 – Georgia Tech’s record against the Atlantic Division. They’re 3-0, with home wins over Clemson and Maryland and a road win at N.C. State. Tech is 16-7 all-time vs. the Atlantic.
Five Things to Know About Duke (and one about the myth of Time of Possession)
5/2.40 – The number of one-possession games Duke has played in 2011 and the margin of victory in those games. That’s tied for sixth in the nation. They are 2-3 in those games. The 2.40 points (12 total points) is sixth-lowest in the nation of any team that has played at least three one-possession games. Georgia Tech is 12-3 under Paul Johnson in games decided by five points or less.
0 – The combined number of touchdown passes caught by senior wide receiver Donovan Varner and junior Conner Vernon. Varner became Duke’s all-time leader in receiving (194) and receiving yards (2,576) last week, while Vernon is seven catches behind Varner and holds the school recored with 22 five-plus-reception games (a school-record nine of them this season). In five previous games against the Yellow Jackets, each has 10 catches, with Varner totaling 95 yards and Vernon 85. To show how prolific the duo has been, they have 360 catches in ACC play and are only five away from becoming the all-time leading receiving duo in ACC history. Varner’s 194 career receptions is one behind former Yellow Jacket Kelly Campbell (1998-2001).
8 – The number of 300-yard passing games by redshirt junior quarterback Sean Renfree. In only his second season as starting QB, Renfree is tied for fourth all-time in school history in 300-yard games. Thaddeus Lewis holds the record with 11.
14/16/10.2 – The number of pass break-ups, passes defended and tackles per game by senior safety Matt Daniels. The Fayette, Ga., native ranks second in the nation in pass break-ups and passes defended and is third in tackles per game by a defensive back.
31:59 – Duke’s average time of possession this season. That’s second in the ACC and 20th in the nation. It’s only 11 seconds more per game than Georgia Tech’s average T.O.P.