Sept. 23, 2010
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech faces its sternest test of the 2010 season when the NC State Wolfpack visits Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:01 p.m. The game marks the first meeting between the schools since 2006.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off a dramatic 30-24 victory at North Carolina in their ACC opener, led by the two-pronged rushing attack of Anthony Allen (115 yards) and Joshua Nesbitt (104). They look to continue their success against State, having beaten them five of the last six meetings and 10 out of 12. Tech is 10-3 all-time against State on Grant Field and is 12-5 against the Atlantic Division (including last season’s ACC Championship Game), 7-3 at home.
State, which has been off since last Thursday when it beat up on Cincinnati, 30-19, is looking to stay perfect and open its ACC season on a high note. The Wolfpack features senior quarterback Russell Wilson. A two-sport star (he also plays baseball, having played over the summer with the Colorado Rockies Short-Season-A team), Wilson is among the most accurate passers in the nation and is the ACC’s active leader in touchdown responsibility, accounting for 64 touchdowns. He will try to help State improve its 8-7 all-time record against Coastal Division competition (the `Pack is 5-3 in road games).
An interesting sidebar to Saturday’s game is on the sideline, where Georgia Tech features first-year defensive line coach Andy McCollum, the former linebackers coach at N.C. State. State replaced McCollum by hiring former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta.
Here is some more numerical fodder to get you into the showdown.
:07 – The number of seconds separating Georgia Tech (32:24) and N.C. State (32:17) in per-game time of possession. They rank second and third, respectively, in the ACC (Duke leads at 32:27).
0.3 – The number of sacks per game allowed by Georgia Tech. That’s tied for second in the nation.
.500 – Georgia Tech’s third-down conversion rate (19-for-38) leads the ACC and is tied for 19th in the nation.
0 – The number of combined stops in the red zone by Georgia Tech and N.C. State. Tech opponents have converted all eight trips to the red zone (six touchdowns, two field goals), while State’s foes have scored touchdowns on all four visits.
23.7 – The conference-low third-down conversion rate of N.C. State opponents (9-for-38).
3.3 – The difference in scoring offense between State (35.3, fourth in the ACC) and Tech (32.0, tied for seventh).
9.7 – The difference in total offense per game between the Yellow Jackets (413.0 ypg, sixth) and the Wolfpack (403.3 ypg, seventh).
30.4 – The difference in per-game penalty yardage between N.C. State’s conference-low 32.7 and Tech’s 62.3. The Wolfpack has committed 16 transgressions for 98 yards, while the Jackets have committed 22 for 187.
.765 – Georgia Tech’s winning percentage within the ACC over the last three seasons. It ranks fifth in conference history. The Jackets are a league-best 13-4 in that span. North Carolina State is 9-15 (.375) in that period.
.900 – Tech’s winning percentage in its last 10 ACC home games. The Jackets are riding a six-game winning streak, with the last home loss coming Oct. 25, 2008 to Virginia, then coached by Al Groh.
3 – The number of touchdowns Georgia Tech has scored on three opening drives this season. They’ve held opponents to two field goals in game-opening drives. State has yet to score on an opening drive, while having allowed one touchdown .
14-3 – Georgia Tech’s record under Paul Johnson when scoring first (they’re 1-1 in 2010).
6 – The number of receptions for Stephen Hill over the team’s first three games. It matches the number of catches he had all last season. Hill has caught a pass in all three games thus far.
3.5 – The team-leading tackles-for-loss total of sophomore DE Izaan Cross, who was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week last week.
12 – The number of points scored by senior kicker Scott Blair, last week’s ACC Specialist of the Week. Blair was 3-for-3 on field goals, nailing two in the fourth quarter that provided Tech’s margin of victory over North Carolina. He’s also converted 51 straight PATs.
21 – Senior ILB Brad Jefferson’s team-leading tackles total.
5 – The number of quarterbacks in all of FBS that are rushing from more yards per game than Georgia Tech’s Nesbitt.
7 – The current Georgia Tech win streak inside the ACC. It’s eight if you include last year’s Championship Game against Clemson.
8 – The number of consecutive wins in the series for Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The only losses to the Wolfpack on Grant Field came in 1984 and ’88.
8 – The number of meetings in the 10 decided by 10 points or fewer.
10 – The number of completed passes by Georgia Tech quarterbacks this season.
20.4 – The amount of yardage per completion.
61 – The number of yards of total offense needed by Nesbitt, who enters Saturday with 5,138 yards, to pass Mike Kelly (1978-81) and move into the school’s career top five.
345.0/85.3 – The number of rushing yards Georgia Tech averages per game (third in the nation) vs. the number of rushing yards allowed by the N.C. State defense (20th).
115 – Anthony Allen’s season-high rushing yards last week against North Carolina. It’s 12 yards off his Georgia Tech career-high, set last Sept. 10 against Clemson, and two fewer than he’d rushed for in Tech’s first two games combined.
128 – The largest margin of victory in a game in the series. John Heisman’s Yellow Jackets wiped out N.C. State, 128-0, in the series debut in 1918. That year, Tech went 6-1, with every game being won by shutout.
38 – The next-largest margin of victory in the series. That came on Oct. 11, 1986, a 59-21 victory by Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd.
17 – N.C. State’s largest margin of victory in the series. That came on Oct. 3, 1977, a 17-0 victory at Carter-Finley Stadium.
10 Things About North Carolina State
133 – The number consecutive passes without an interception thrown by quarterback Russell Wilson. The ACC Offensive Back of the Week last week, Wilson already holds the NCAA record for most passes without a pick (379) and hasn’t been picked off since the fourth quarter of the Nov. 21, 2009 game at Virginia Tech.
+5 – The Wolfpack’s turnover margin through three games, tied with Clemson for tops in the ACC. State has recovered four fumbles and made three interceptions, while losing two fumbles.
15.7 – The number of points per game allowed by the Wolfpack defense, second in the ACC.
138 – The amount of all-purpose yards gained by true freshman Mustafa “Moose” Greene against Cincinnati. Greene led the team in rushing (84 yards), and receptions (5, for 54 yards) and was named ACC Rookie of the Week. He also became the first Wolfpack running back to rush for a touchdown in his first three games since Joe McIntosh in 1981.
11 – The number of receivers who caught a pass against the Bearcats.
62-7 – The combined margin by which the Wolfpack has outscored opponents in the first (35-7) and third quarters (27-0). Georgia Tech is outscoring opponents 49-41 (28-20 in the first, 21-21 in the third) in those quarters.
93 – The length of consecutive first-quarter touchdown drives in State’s victory over Cincinnati.
5:37 – The total amount of time the two drives used.
18 – The number of times N.C. State has started a season 3-0. It’s the fourth time in head coach Tom O’Brien’s coaching career and first with the Wolfpack.
8 – The number of years since N.C. State has started a season 3-0. They haven’t been 4-0 since 2002, when they started the year 9-0. Their first lost that year came in Week 10, 24-17, to Georgia Tech.