Oct. 17, 2013
By Jon Cooper
– Georgia Tech plays at home for the first time in three weeks and for the only time in October, when it takes on Syracuse on Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m. It promises to be a special day, as it’s Hall of Fame Weekend, with the seven inductees of the Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame’s Class of ’13 being honored at halftime. It’s also Heroes Day, with members of the armed forces, first-responder units, and veterans and their families in attendance.
Adding to the festivities is the “Welcome To The ACC” party Tech has planned, as the Yellow Jackets meet the Orange for the first time as ACC foes. The game can be seen on the Raycom Network (WUPA, CW69 in Atlanta).
The Yellow Jackets are looking to break a three-game losing streak and get back over .500. Tech dropped a 38-20 decision last week to Brigham Young at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. While the team has allowed 83 points the last two weeks, and has hurt itself with penalties in each of the last three games, the mindset of the team is positive.
“We have to get away from the penalties, turnovers and beating ourselves,” said head coach Paul Johnson at his weekly press conference. “The guys’ attitudes have been good. They were good [Monday] so we’ll work hard this week and see if we can’t play our best game of the year on Saturday.”
The Yellow Jackets got one of the best games in the young career of defensive lineman Adam Gotsis, who recorded four tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, both career- and team-highs. Offensively, the Jackets ran for 242 yards, with 55 of them coming on B-Back Matt Connors’ career-best run. Robert Godhigh led the Jackets with 52 receiving yards, while he and DeAndre Smelter each caught three passes.
The Orange took home their first ACC win and won for the third time in their last four games, topping NC State, 24-10, at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. Prince-Tyson Gulley’s 18-yard run snapped a 10-10 tie with 6:13 to play to give `Cuse the lead for good. Gulley ran for 132 yards on nine carries and Jerome Smith rambled for 140 more, as Syracuse gained 362 of their 436 yards of total offense on the ground.
“They are kind of a one-two punch,” said Johnson. “Jerome Smith is a big guy. They list him at 220 pounds, but he looks bigger than that on tape. He’s a physical guy. He’s got pretty good speed. They’ve got a little change-up back [Prince-Tyson Gulley], who is not quite as big, but comes into the game and gives them a different dimension
“They have a big offensive line; a lot of zone scheme, split zone, zone option so a lot that we’ve seen. Then their quarterback, he’s not a blazer, but he’s a hard guy to tackle. He pulls the ball down a lot on the pass plays and doesn’t make negative plays. He’s hard to sack. They’ve done a very good job running the football the last couple of weeks.”
Sting Daily thinks it similarly has done a very good job of gathering some numerical info. to get you ready for the Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd.
The Series: Saturday will be the third meeting between the schools, the first as ACC rivals and the first in which either team has home field. The Jackets 2-0, having won 13-7 in 2001 Kickoff Classic in East Rutherford, N.J., then running away with a 51-14 decision in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl, in Orlando, Fla.
0 – The number of wins for Georgia Tech in three tries in their first game against ACC newcomers. Tech lost 29-24 to Florida State on Oct. 17, 1992, 27-3 to Miami on Oct. 2, 2004 and 24-10 to Boston College on Sept. 15, 2007. All three games were at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
.533 – The Georgia Tech’s percentage on third down this season. That ranks seventh in the nation.
.833 – The winning percentage of Georgia Tech’s opponents during their recent three-game winning streak. Virginia Tech, Miami and BYU combine for a 15-3 record, with two of the three teams, Miami and Virginia Tech ranked in the top 20.
.833 – Georgia Tech’s winning percentage against teams from New York State. In addition to the 2-0 vs. Syracuse, Tech is 3-1 all time against Army.
1 – The number of fumbles lost by Georgia Tech in each of the last four games. Syracuse has lost one fumble all season.
2 – The number of punts blocked by redshirt sophomore cornerback Chris Milton this season. The Jackets are one of only six teams in the country with two punt blocks. Interestingly, Syracuse also is one of those six teams.
4.0 – The number of tackles for loss by sophomore Adam Gotsis last week at BYU. That’s tied for second in the Paul Johnson era (Derrick Morgan did it twice, on Oct. 11, 2008 against Gardner-Webb and Sept. 10, 2009 against Clemson). Michael Johnson set the team-record with 4.5 on Oct. 11, 2008 against Gardner-Webb.
5 – The number of running plays of 20 yards or more allowed by the Georgia Tech defense.
7 – The number of inductees headed into the Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame this weekend. The list includes Shilo Ayalon (swimming), Kelly Campbell (football), Kele Eveland (volleyball), Andria King (track and field), Richard Lewis (baseball), Troy Matteson (golf) and Billy Williamson (football and baseball). They will be inducted on Friday night and honored at halftime.
18 – The number of wins by Georgia Tech in 27 games against the Atlantic Division. Saturday is Tech’s first game against an Atlantic Division team this season.
19 – The number of three-and-outs by the Georgia Tech defense this season. They had four last week at BYU, one fewer than they had in the three previous games combined.
35 – The number of points by which Georgia Tech outscores its opponents in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets have scored 42 points to opponents’ seven coming out of the locker room after intermission.
72 – The number of consecutive carries for positive yardage this season by David Sims That’s the most of an FBS runner, 12 more than Minnesota’s Rodrick Williams. Sims has gained 353 yards on those 72 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per attempt.
125 – The number of consecutive carries for positive yardage by Sims. He hasn’t been stopped behind the line since Nov. 17, 2012 against Duke.
35.2 – The team-leading receiving yards per game by junior DeAndre Smelter. Smelter has caught 14 passes for 211 yards, both also team-highs.
44.8 – The average length of a Harrison Butker’s four made field goals this season. The freshman has nailed field goals from 49 yards (twice), 45 and 44.
193 – The number of receiving yards in by Class of 2013 Hall of Famer Kelly Campbell in the 2001 Kickoff Classic against Syracuse. It’s the 11th-highest total ever by a Yellow Jacket, yet only the third-best day he ever had.
195/2,907 – The career-high number of receptions and receiving yards by Campbell. He also is in the top five in receiving yards (2,907, second), receiving touchdowns (24, second), 100-yard receiving games (10, tied with Harvey Middleton), consecutive games with a reception (32), and receiving touchdowns in a season (10, in 1999 and 2000). He’s third in receiving yards in a season (1,105 in 1999) and 100-yard receiving games in a season (four, in 1999). Campbell also is in the top five in career all-purpose yards (4,472, third), kickoff return yardage (24.0, fourth), kickoff returns (59, fifth), kickoff return yards (1,415, fifth), and games with both a rushing and receiving TD (four, second).
514 – The amount of yardage of total offense Georgia Tech put up in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl.
1,036 – The number of career rushing yards by former Georgia Tech running back and Syracuse native Dorsey Levens. That ranks 38th all-time in school history.
10 Things To Know About Syracuse (plus a Little honor for the school’s biggest number)
5 – The number of consecutive years that Syracuse has turned out at least one 1,000-yard rusher. That’s tied for fifth-best among FBS schools. The Orange are poised to extend the streak, and may actually have two backs go over 1,000, as Smith enters the day with 482 yards, while Gulley has 316.
7.5/3.0 – Senior linebacker Marquis Spruill’s tackles for loss and sacks totals thus far this season. Spruill, who is sixth in school history with 34.0 TFLs, has accounted for 63 total yards in losses. He is third on the team with 36 tackles. The durable LB is tied for the national lead with 42 consecutive starts and is one of three Orange in his class to have played in all 44 games.
9 – The number of touchdowns and points per game scored by junior running back Jerome Smith. Smith has hit pay dirt eight times on the ground, tied for 10th in the FBS, and once through the air. His 9.0 ppg is second in the ACC (only Maryland’s Dallas Crawford has more, at 9.6). He has at least one touchdown in every game this season and has three two-touchdown games this season.
16 – The number of years prior to this season that Syracuse last recorded back-to-back wins by at least 35 points. The Orange did that this year, routing Wagner, 54-0, on Sept. 14, then taking it to the Green Wave of Tulane, 52-17, the following weekend. The last time Syracuse put together that kind of dominating stretch was in ’97, starting when it took care of East Carolina, 56-0, on Oct. 4, a 50-3 win over Rutgers followed on Oct. 9, then came a third wipe out, 60-7 win over Temple on Oct. 19. This year’s win over Wagner was the fourth-largest in school history.
41 – The team-leading number of tackles by sophomore strong safety Durell Eskridge. Eskridge made 13 stops (seven of them solo) last week at NC State. He also made a crucial red zone interception in the game. For his efforts he was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week.
58.6 – Sophomore quarterback Terrell Hunt’s completion percentage on the season. Hunt has been accurate on 51 of 87, gaining 118.8 yards per game, with seven TDs vs. five picks. He has an efficiency rating of 131.03. Hunt also has hurt teams on the ground, rushing for 240 yards on 36 attempts (6.7 per carry).
120.3 – The Syracuse defense’s per game rushing yards allowed. That’s second in the ACC and 22nd in the nation. That includes holding NC State to 129 yards on 45 carries, 2.9 yards per attempt.
220.7/5.3 – Syracuse’s per game rushing yards and yards per rush. The Orange rank third in the ACC the both categories, behind Georgia Tech (290.3) and Florida State (228.2) in the former and trailing Florida State (6.0) and Miami (5.9) in the latter.
342.5/7.8 – Syracuse’s per game rushing yards and yards per rush in its two ACC games. SU has run for 685 yards on 88 plays in the two games, including gashing No. 3 Clemson for 323 yards and a season-best 362 at NC State.
417 – The number of consecutive snaps since Syracuse last turned the ball over via fumble. That’s more than five games and goes back to the second quarter of its season opener against Penn State, when Tyler Ferguson lost the ball after being sacked. It’s the only fumble Syracuse has lost this season.
44 – The number worn by running back Floyd Little, who will represent Syracuse the weekend of Dec. 6 and 7 at the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte. Little was a three-time All-American who still ranks as Syracuse’s all-time leader in touchdowns (46) and punt returns for touchdowns (6). He’s a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame — Class of ’83 in college, Class of `2010 for pro. He also is one of the proud wearers of the school’s legendary No. 44, also worn by 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the award, and Jim Brown, who preceded Davis.
Get Sting Daily in your e-mail box — it’s free! Just register here to get the latest features on Georgia Tech Athletics.