Oct. 8, 2010
By Jon Cooper
– It’s homecoming weekend and Georgia Tech would like nothing better than to give returning alumni a second straight ACC win, and gain its first home conference win with a victory over the University of Virginia. Kickoff at Bobby Dodd Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
The Jackets are coming off a gritty 24-20 victory over Wake Forest in Winston Salem last Saturday night, outscoring the Demon Deacons 18-3 in the final 15 minutes and rallying to win the game on a Joshua Nesbitt-to-Correy Earls nine-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining in the game.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, suffered an embarrassing 34-14 loss at home to Florida State in their ACC Opener.
Today’s game will be of sentimental value to Tech’s defensive coordinator Al Groh, who is a UVA grad (Class of ’67) and was the school’s head coach for nine seasons (2001 through 2009). Tech’s co-offensive line coach Mike Sewak also is a Virginia alumnus (Class of ’81).
Groh, who proclaimed himself “a Georgia Tech man” this week, would love to help Tech turn the tables in a series that has been rather one-sided in UVA’s favor in recent years. The Cavaliers have won five of the last seven meetings in the series and two of the last three. A win today would make it two straight for Tech, even up the all-time series at 16-16-1, and gain a measure of revenge for 2008, the last time the two teams met at Grant Field, when the Cavs spoiled Homecoming, winning 24-17. It’s the Jackets’ lone Homecoming loss in the last 14 years.
Here are a few more statistical bits to get you ready for today’s game.
0 – The number of rushing touchdowns Georgia Tech scored last week against Wake Forest. It’s only the third time that’s occurred in the Paul Johnson era. The other two games came in 2008, Johnson’s first season on The Flats — a 10-7 win over Gardner-Webb on Oct. 11, and the 38-3 loss to LSU in the that year’s Chick-fil-a Bowl.
3 – The number of fourth-down conversions by the Yellow Jackets last Saturday against Wake Forest. That’s the most by a Tech team since Oct. 6, 2005.
5 – The number of consecutive wins by Georgia Tech against Coastal Division teams.
7 – Georgia Tech’s series-high winning streak from 1965 through 1984. The last three games of that stretch, from 1982-84, saw Tech win two and ended with the only tie of the series, a 20-20 deadlock on Oct. 13, 1984 at Scott Stadium.
9 – The number of wins in 10 October games for Georgia Tech in the Paul Johnson era.
9 – The number of consecutive successful kicks by Scott Blair in two career games against Virginia. Blair, this week’s ACC Specialist of the Week for the second time this season, is 6-for-6 on PATs and 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, with a long of 39 in 2008. Blair enters today’s game seven points shy of the 200-points plateau for his career.
.717 – Blair’s career field goal percentage. That ranks second all-time in school history, behind only Travis Bell’s .726 from 2004-07.
7.0/2.5 – Sylvester’s team-leading totals in tackles for loss and sacks. He had 3.0 TFLs against Wake.
8 – The number of different receivers who caught a pass from Joshua Nesbitt in last week’s victory over Wake Forest.
11 – The career-high number of tackles made by safety Cooper Taylor in the 2008 game against Virginia. He also had the first of two career punt blocks in the game.
14 – The number of Georgia Tech wins in 16 previous games played on Oct. 9. The most dramatic may have come in 1999, when Heisman Trophy candidate Joe Hamilton sent the Homecoming crowd home happy by scoring from six yards away in overtime to give the Jackets a 31-24 victory over North Carolina.
16.7 – The yards per return allowed by Georgia Tech’s kickoff return defense. That’s sixth in the nation.
30.0 – The number of yards per attempt by Virginia’s Raynard Home, which ranks second in the ACC.
19 – The school-record number of tackles by a defensive back set by Danny Rhino in the 1974 game against Virginia. That mark has been tied three times since, the last time by Ken Swilling in the 1989 game against the Cavaliers.
34 – The school-record number of first downs, set by the Jackets against the Wahoos in 2000.
41-38 – The score of the 1990 renewal on Nov. 3, 1990, when the No. 16/14 Yellow Jackets upset the top-ranked Cavaliers in Charlottesville.
71 – The season-high number of rushing attempts by Georgia Tech in last year’s win at Virginia. That set the school record for most rushing attempts in an ACC game. The Cavs rushed 12 times, an opponent-low last season.
86 – The school-record for most rushing attempts in a game, set in the 1976 Tech-UVA renewal.
39/486/22 – Georgia Tech’s school records for completions, passing yards and passing first downs, set in 2001 by George Godsey. Godsey also set the school record for total offense with 477 yards.
197 – The combined length in yards of three different Georgia Tech scoring drives in last year’s 34-9 domination of Virginia. Tech’s first drive was 60 yards in 10 plays in the second quarter. They had an 11-play, 66-yard drive in the third and a 10-play 71-yard march late in the fourth.
228 – The combined rushing yardage total by Jonathan Dwyer (125) and Nesbitt (103) in last year’s game at Virginia.
243 – The school-single-game receiving yardage record set against Virginia in 1998 by Dez White.
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4 – The number of plays over 50 yards by the Virginia offense this season. They had three in all of 2009.
.500 – The Cavaliers’ record in their last 10 ACC road openers.
2-9 – The record of Cavalier first-year coaches in their initial ACC road game. Only George Blackburn in 1965 (21-17 at North Carolina) and Al Groh in 2001 (26-24 at Clemson) were able to get W’s.
57.3/908/6 – Cavalier quarterback Marc Verica’s completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns in 2010.
3,101 – Verica’s career passing yardage heading into Saturday. He ranks 13th all-time among Virginia quarterbacks. Verica had a nice — although not a career- –day the last time in Atlanta, completing 29 of 39 passes, while throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions.
133/144 – The number of Virginia’s rushing plays and passing plays thus far in 2010. Georgia Tech has run the ball 267 times while attempting 26 passes.
17.8 – The number of points per game Virginia’s defense has allowed, even with last week’s 34-point game against Florida State.
76 – The length of the scoring pass play from Verica to Kris Burd in the third quarter last Saturday. The play was a career-long for both players and made Burd the first Virginia player to catch a TD pass in each of UVA’s first four games since Heath Miller did so in the first five games of the 2002 season. Burd also was the first Virginia receiver to record back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since Miller in 2003.
3/21 – Burd’s receptions and yardage total in two career games against Georgia Tech.
50 – The age first-year Virginia head coach Mike London turns on Saturday.