Sept. 12, 2013
By Jon Cooper
David Sims, who turns 23 Saturday, has three career touchdowns against Duke.
Coming off a bye week, Georgia Tech promise to be hungry and ready for action when it takes the field against Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is at 3:32 p.m.
They’d better be both because there is a lot at stake, even if it is only Week Three.
“I hope that our guys would be excited to play. We’ve got a lot to play for,” said Head Coach Paul Johnson at his weekly press conference. “It’s the first conference game, it’s a division game and a road game. Anytime you can win a division game on the road it’s a bigger plus. They understand that it’s a big game.”
The Yellow Jackets are coming off a record-setting 70-0 win over Elon in its season-opener two weeks ago, and while it was a satisfying way to start the season, that game is ancient history. The Jackets expect a truer gauge of themselves Saturday, when they start ACC play.
Duke should provide that gauge. The Blue Devils are 2-0 following a resounding 45-0 win over N.C. Central in its opener then a 28-14 win at Memphis last week. Johnson is keeping his past success against Duke in the past, focusing on what he’s seen in the first two weeks. He’s found plenty that impresses him.
“Defensively the stats jump off the page at you,” he said. “They’re giving up a little over 200 yards a game. Third-down conversions are in the low-20s against them (25 percent, on 8-for-32). They’ve given up seven points in two games defensively.”
Even with a new quarterback — redshirt junior Brandon Connette will start in place of redshirt junior Anthony Boone, who is out indefinitely with a broken collarbone suffered last week — Johnson is wary of Duke’s Spread Option.
“Connette has been splitting time at quarterback anyway. He played against us at quarterback in 2010 so he’s been in the program for a long time,” he said. “Our big challenge this week is to go up there and play like Georgia Tech can play and we’ve got to take care of the ball. We’ll find a little bit more about where we are this week.”
Sting Daily picks up the gauntlet and offer some numbers leading into Saturday’s initial road and conference game.
The Series: This is the 81st meeting between the schools. The Jackets hold a 49-30-1 overall edge and is 21-18 at Wallace Wade. The series is Georgia Tech’s longest continuous series against an ACC school and is its third-longest in program history. Tech has played only Georgia (107 games), and Auburn (92) more.
.500 – Georgia Tech’s all-time winning percentage in ACC-opening games. The Jackets are 15-15 in such games.
.800 – Georgia Tech’s winning percentage in ACC openers in the Paul Johnson Era, going 4-1.
1.000 – Georgia Tech’s record against Duke in the Paul Johnson Era. The Jackets boast a perfect 5-0 mark against the Blue Devils and are riding a nine-game series winning streak.
6 – The number of head coaching wins in the series that will be standing on the Yellow Jackets sideline Saturday. Johnson is 5-0, while current Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof also has a ‘W.’ He was interim head coach at Duke the last time the Blue Devils defeated the Yellow Jackets, 41-17 in 2007. That game ended an eight-game series winning streak for Tech, which has won 17 of 18.
.857 – The Yellow Jackets’ winning percentage under Paul Johnson, a Newland, N.C., native, in games played inside his home state. Tech is 6-1 against Carolina teams and is riding a six-game winning streak.
.625 – The Yellow Jackets winning percentage against the Coastal Division since divisional play began in 2005. The Jackets are 25-15 in those games.
.524 – The Yellow Jackets record in Coastal Division road games (11-10).
106.7 – The FM radio station upon which all Yellow Jackets games can be heard. Brandon Gaudin and Rick Strom will be on the call in the booth and Randy Waters patrols the sidelines. Live stats can be found on RamblinWreck.com and there will be Twitter updates on @GTAthletics.
3 – The approximate number of minutes Vad Lee grew up from the Duke campus, according to the Tech QB.
40 – The approximate number of ticket requests Lee said he’d received as of Tuesday — he expected that number to go up.
2 – The number of players on the current Tech roster with career touchdowns against Duke. B-Back David Sims has three, two in 2011, one last year, and Lee has the other.
3 – The number of sacks DE Jeremiah Attaochu trailed BYU’s Kyle Van Noy for the most among active players heading into the weekend. Attaochu enters play Saturday with 19.0 sacks, fourth among active players.
4 – The number of Tech players with a career tackle-for-loss against Duke heading into Saturday’s game. They’ve accounted for six TFLs for 30 yards in losses. Attaochu leads the push backward, with three TFLs, including two last year, for minus-24 yards. Nose tackle Adam Gotsis (minus-four yards), cornerback Jemea Thomas (minus-one), and LB Quayshawn Nealy (minus-one) have one each. Gotsis and Attaochu’s TFLs all came via sack — accounting for all the Jackets’ career sacks against Duke coming into the game.
15 – The team-leading number of career tackles by Thomas heading into today’s game. He had nine, seven solo, last season.
23 – The age B-Back David Sims turns on Saturday. The Jackets’ leader in all-purpose yardage coming into the Duke game (106 yards — 47 rushing, 59 receiving), has not previously played on his birthday as a Yellow Jacket but has played twice against Duke, rushing for 136 yards on 24 carries (5.7 yards per carry), with three touchdowns and a long run of 19 yards, coming last year.
25 – The number of Yellow Jackets that made their collegiate debut against Elon.
27 – The number of completions thrown by Reggie Ball in the Nov. 8, 2003 game against Duke at Bobby Dodd. It’s the last time a Yellow Jacket QB has completed at least 25 passes in a game. That may have been all then-Blue Devils interim coach Ted Roof had to be upset about that day, as Duke came away with a 41-17 win.
28 – Georgia Tech’s margin in points off turnovers against Elon. The Jackets scored following the fumble recovery and each of the three interceptions forced. The plus-28 matches 2012’s season total.
20.2 – The average margin of victory in the five games Georgia Tech has played against Duke in the Paul Johnson Era. The Yellow Jackets have outscored the Blue Devils 106-85 in the five games, with only one game, Tech’s 38-31 win in Durham in 2011, decided by as little as one score.
37.2 – The number of points Georgia Tech has averaged in its five games against Duke under Paul Johnson.
29 – The number of wins in 32 career games that Johnson-coached teams have won when scoring at least 30 points.
42 – The amount by which Georgia Tech interception yardage in the 2013 opener surpassed return yardage for the entire 2012 season. Tech amassed 173 yards in interception returns vs. Elon on three picks. They had 131 yards on 16 picks in 14 games in 2012.
61 – The length of Chandler Anderson’s longest punt in the Nov. 14, 2009 game against Duke. It’s the last time a Tech punter hit at least 60 yards on a kick.
85 – The length of Mario Butler’s interception return for a touchdown off a Brandon Connette pass in the 2010 game. The return gave Georgia Tech the lead for good in a 30-20 win.
99 – The number of yards linebacker Ken Swilling returned an interception of a Steve Prince pass off a PAT in the 1989 renewal at Wallace Wade. That was the last time the Jackets recorded a defensive extra point.
230 – The number of receiving yards by Demaryius Thomas in the Oct.4, 2008 game against Duke. It’s the most recent 200-yard receiving game by a Yellow Jacket receiver.
321 – The number of yards quarterback Tevin Washington accumulated against Duke on Nov. 19, 2011. It’s the last time a Tech quarterback accounted for 300 yards of total offense.
10 Things To Know About Duke (plus a potential good omen for the 2-0 Blue Devils)
0 – The number of career completions against Georgia Tech for starting quarterback Brandon Connette. Of course, he’s thrown only one pass in the two games he’s appeared. That pass was intercepted in the 2010 game. The pick resulted in an 85-yard interception return by Tech’s Mario Butler that gave the Yellow Jackets the lead for good, 16-13. Connette has five career carries against Tech for 34 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of the ’10 game, that gave Duke a 10-6 lead.
.904 – Duke’s winning percentage in the David Cutcliffe when leading after three quarters. Cutcliffe’s teams close quite well, as his teams win 85.5 percent of the time (53-9) when leading heading into the final 15 minutes. The Blue Devils have won seven games in the fourth quarter under Cutcliffe.
2.5 – The number of tackles for loss by defensive end Kenny Anunike in last week’s game against Memphis. The redshirt senior has a total of 16.0 TFLs for his career and has really come on over the last 17 games, putting up 14 1/2 of those. Anunike, the last holdover from Cutcliffe’s first recruiting class, also is Duke’s active leader with 10 sacks.
4 – The number of rushing touchdowns Connette needs to tie the school record for career rushing touchdowns. He has 18 in 28 games (one start). The record of 22 was set by Mike Dunn, who played from 1975-78. Connette is two TDs out of second, which is held by Elmore Hackney, who ran for 20 from 1935-37. Last season, Connette became the first Blue Devil in 12 years to throw, catch and run for a touchdown in the same season since quarterback D. Bryant and wide receiver Ben Erdeljac did it in 2000.
15 – The number of years prior to 2013 that Duke began a season 2-0. The Blue Devils would lose the next three games that year, the last of those coming at Georgia Tech, 41-14, on Oct. 3. The last time Duke started a season 3-0 was 1994. That year the Blue Devils would beat Georgia Tech, 27-12, at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Week Four, to go to 4-0 on their way to a 7-0 start and an 8-4 season.
17.5 – The difference in points scored by Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium vs. on the road since 2012. In that span, the Blue Devils have averaged 40.4 points per game at home vs. 22.9 on the road. They have struck for at least 30 points in seven of the last eight home games and scored in 21 of the last 23 quarters at Wallace Wade.
18 – The number of big plays (plays of at least 20 yards) made by Jamison Crowder. The junior WR set a career-high with 11 catches last week against Memphis, including a 43-yard score, the longest play from scrimmage by Duke this season. Last season, he converted a 99-yard pass play against Miami that tied an NCAA record, set a new ACC mark and was one of his school-record five touchdowns of at least 50 yards. His next score of at least 50 yards will set a school record. Crowder, who in 2012 became the seventh Duke receiver to gain 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He leads a Blue Devils’ attack that has nine plays over 20 yards in two games this season. They had 52 all last year.
7 – The number yards running back Juwan Thompson needs to become the 40th Duke running back to rush for 1,000 career yards. Thompson, who ls second on the team with 97 net rushing yards on 20 carries (4.8 yards per attempt), has 46 career rushing yards on 10 attempts in three games against Georgia Tech, last year rushing for 16 yards on five attempts.
29 – The number of pass attempts made by Duke quarterbacks made in 2012 before the offensive line allowed a sack. The 1.46 sacks per game ranked 20th in the nation.
20/2.5/1.0/1.0/1.0/1.0 – The combined number of tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, pass breakups, quarterback hurries, and forced fumbles by linebacking brothers Kelby (MLB) and Kyler Brown (WLB). Kelby, a reshirt junior who missed the 2012 season with a knee injury, is second on the team in tackles with 14 (seven solo) and has 1/2 a tackle for loss. Kyler, a redshirt sophomore, has six tackles (four solo), 2.0 TFLs a sack, a PBU and a forced fumble.
35 – The number of times Duke has had a winning season in the 39 years they’ve started 2-0.
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