Sept. 9, 2011
By Jon Cooper
– For a team that scored 63 points in its opener and led for almost 59 minutes, Georgia Tech has quite a chip on its shoulder heading into today’s Week Two matchup with Middle Tennessee State.
It should be a good week to make some big improvements. Head Coach Paul Johnson certainly expects to.
“I think that there were a lot of positives and still a lot of things that we can keep the team grounded on, a lot of things to work on,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how much improvement we can make from Week One to Week Two. Certainly the competition level is going to ratchet up a little bit. So we’ll see if we can make some improvement in a ton of areas from last week to this week.”
The Yellow Jackets are looking to avoid a Week Two, road stumble, as they had last season against Kansas, when they invade Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Blue Raiders gave Tech all it could handle last year at Bobby Dodd despite the 42-14 final. The game was only 14-7 at the half before Tech finally broke things open in the second half.
MTSU remembers that game — the only previous match-up between the schools — as well as the disappointment of their season-opening 27-24 loss last week in Lafayette, Ind., against Purdue. They led most of the game before yielding the go-ahead touchdown with 57 seconds remaining, then had their game-tying field goal attempt blocked on the final play.
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3 – Junior wide receiver Stephen Hill’s national rank in receiving yards heading into this week. Hill had 181 yards on four receptions, two of them for touchdowns. All career highs.
3 – The number of passing touchdowns against WCU. That’s the most by a Tech team under Paul Johnson. The last time the Yellow Jackets had three TD passes in a game was Nov. 17, 2007 against North Carolina.
4 – The number of consecutive victories for Georgia Tech on Sept. 10. All four wins have come at Bobby Dodd Stadium. They are 0-2 all-time in Sept. 10 road games.
8 – The number of true freshmen Georgia Tech played in its season opener. They were: LBs Kyle Travis, Tremayne McNair, and Nick Menocal, OL Shaq Mason, and WR Jeff Greene and Darren Waller and DBs Zach Laskey and Corey Dennis. Laskey doubled as a punt returner.
10.3/22.8 – Tech’s yardage per play and per pass play last week. It’s the most in a game in 30 years.
12 – The number of one-play touchdown drives by the Yellow Jackets under Paul Johnson.
33.2 – Tech’s yardage per completion last week. It’s the eighth time Tech has averaged at least 30 yards per completion under Johnson.
79.3 – The average ground covered in the three touchdown connections between Tevin Washington and Stephen Hill. They’ve totaled 238 yards, teaming up for 82-, 79- and 77-yard strikes. The 82- and 77-yard plays came last week.
116 – The number of points Johnson’s teams have scored the last two times they’ve faced teams from the Sun Belt Conference. In addition to Tech’s 42-14 win over MTSU last year, his 2007 Navy team rolled up 74 points in a wild 74-62 shootout over North Texas.
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.707 – MTSU’s all-time record at Floyd Stadium, including a 26-11 mark under current head coach Rick Stockstill.
9/330 – The number of different receivers MTSU sophomore QB Logan Kilgore threw to and his passing yards in the Blue Raiders’ season-opener. It was the most passing yards in an opener in school history and his fourth-most under Stockstill.
13 – The number of tackles by senior safety Eric Russell in his first collegiate start. That included 11 solo stops. He also had his first collegiate sack and interception.
33 – Stockstill’s victory total at MTSU. He is one behind current Georgia Tech Defensive Line Coach Andy McCollum, who had 34 as head coach from 1999 through 2005. McCollum currently ranks fourth all-time in school history.
109 – The number of combined career starts by the MTSU offensive line. Senior Mike Williams leads the way with 37. Georgia Tech’s starting O-Line combines for 43 starts, 31 if you subtract Phil Smith, who is ineligible for this game.