Nov. 2, 2012
By Jon Cooper
– Georgia Tech begins a crucial three-game intraconference stretch this afternoon, when it travels north to College Park, Maryland to play the Terrapins. Kickoff at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets will be gunning for their first conference winning streak of the season while keeping alive their goal of getting to six wins and reaching bowl eligibility. That quest makes this game a must-win for both clubs.
“Our guys understand the importance of the game, and they also understand the importance of the game for Maryland,” said head coach Paul Johnson at his weekly press conference. “Maryland’s trying to get to six wins, too. I’m sure we’re going to get their best shot and they are going to come out and play as hard as they can play, so we have to do that too.”
The Jackets will try to get their offense back on track following a disappointing 41-17 loss last week to Brigham Young last Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Tech did not have an offensive touchdown against BYU, as Jamal Golden’s 97-yard kickoff return and safety Isaiah Johnson’s 22-yard interception return accounted for their only touchdowns on the day.
Getting it going offensively won’t be easy against Maryland, as even though Tech has won eight of the last 11 meetings and four of the last, five of the meetings between the schools have been decided by less than a touchdown.
The Terrapins have lost two straight games by a total of five points, including a heartbreaking 20-17 decision at Boston College last Saturday. They will be starting their fourth quarterback of the season — the first three were lost to injury — yet, thanks to one of the nation’s best defenses, has stuck around in all of their games, not losing a game by more than 10 points all season.
Here are some numbers to get you ready for today’s kickoff.
The Series: Georgia Tech leads, 14-6
Current Streak: Georgia Tech has won one straight
In Maryland: Georgia Tech and Maryland are even, 5-5
Last Meeting: No. 13 Georgia Tech 21, Maryland 16, @ Georgia Tech, Oct. 8, 2011
40 – The number being worn this week by senior defensive end T.J. Barnes. The number had been worn by linebacker Julian Burnett, who was forced to stop playing due to a neck injury suffered in last year’s Hyundai Sun Bowl. The number will be worn by a different Yellow Jacket every week in tribute. It has been worn by Barnes, cornerback Rod Sweeting, quarterback Tevin Washington, long snapper Tyler Morgan and, defensive end Izaan Cross, linebacker Chris Crenshaw, and last week by safety Isaiah Johnson.
1/15 – The ACC and national rank of sophomore kick-returner Jamal Golden, who averages 28.1 yards per return. Last week he had 174 yards in kickoff returns, including a 97-yarder for a touchdown in the second quarter. It was the Georgia Tech’s first touchdown off a kickoff return since Oct. 31, 1998, when Dez White went 100 yards against Maryland.
38.3 – Georgia Tech’s average yards per kickoff return last year against Maryland. That was a season-best and came via Tony Zenon,who returned three kickoffs 115 yards, including a career-long 79-yarder. The 115 return yards and 79-yard return were Tech season-highs.
2 – The number of coaches on the 1998 Georgia Tech coaching staff that became Maryland head coaches. One is Randy Edsall, who was the Yellow Jackets’ defensive coordinator then and will be on the opposing sideline today. The other was Edsall’s predecessor at Maryland, Ralph Friedgen, then George O’Leary’s offensive coordinator. The ’98 Jackets went 10-2, were co-ACC Champs and won their final five games, including wins at Georgia, 21-19, then in the Toyota Gator Bowl, knocking off Notre Dame, 35-28.
2 – The number of fumble recoveries by Malcom Munroe. He is the only Yellow Jacket to have multiple fumble recoveries. Tech has five on the year.
4/6/87 – The number of passing first downs, completions and net passing yards by Maryland in last season’s game. All were Georgia Tech opponent season-lows.
4.5/21/81 – Georgia Tech’s yards per rush, pass attempts and number of offensive plays in last year’s game against the Terps. The yards per rush were a team-low, while the pass attempts and number of plays both ranked as team-highs.
5 – The number of tackles by linebacker Quayshawn Nealy in last year’s game against Maryland. That was the second-most tackles by a Yellow Jacket in the game (Julian Burnett had a team-high six). They were all solo, the most solo stops of any Jacket.
7 – The number of consecutive games in which Georgia Tech has picked off at least one pass. Last week junior safety Isaiah Johnson turned a first-quarter interception into a game-tying touchdown.
7.5 – The team-high number of tackles for loss by outside linebacker Brandon Watts. Watts is second on the team with 50 stops (Johnson has 55) and he is one of three Jackets who have two sacks. Defensive end Euclid Cummings and OLB Jeremiah Attaochu are the others.
11 – The most sacks ever recorded by Georgia Tech in a game and an ACC game. Both came against Maryland, on Oct. 6, 1990, a 31-3 win at Byrd Stadium, and on Oct. 9, 1993, a 38-0 win at Bobby Dodd. The ’93 game is the second-largest margin of victory in an ACC game.
11 – The number of tackles made by Jemea Thomas in last week’s game against BYU. That matched his career high, a mark set only three weeks earlier at Clemson. In October, the redshirt-junior, who has moved from corner to safety, totaled 24 tackles, 17 of them solos.
11 – Senior A-Back Orwin Smith’s rank in the ACC in all-purpose yardage. Smith has gained 865 yards this season (434 rushing yards, 176 receiving yards and 255 yards on kick-off returns) and averages 108.1 yards per game.
11 – The number of yards Smith needs to pass Jimy Lincoln (1991-94) and move into Georgia Tech’s all-time top-20 in rushing. Smith enters today’s game with 1,591 yards, one more yard than 21st-place Cory Collier (1983-86). Quarterback Tevin Washington moved into the top 20 earlier this season after gaining 63 yards in the season opener at Virginia Tech.
11 – Washington’s rank all-time among Tech rushers once he gains his fifth rushing yard today. He enters the game with 2,022 yards. William Bell (1989-93) currently holds the 11th spot. Tech’s QB needs 53 yards to push David Sims (2,274 yards from 1974-76) out of the top 10 in Tech history.
19/32 – The number of pass attempts and rushes by Washington against Maryland in last season’s game. Both were Tech season-highs. He ran for 120 yards and passed for 114 more in the 21-16 victory, one of four career games in which Washington’s run and passed for 100 yards in the same game.
43 – The number of years since Senior Associate Athletic Director/Interim AD Paul Griffin graduated from the University of Maryland.
4 – The number of years since A-Backs Coach Lamar Owens graduated from Maryland.
306.4 – Georgia Tech’s rushing yards per game in the Paul Johnson era. That’s the best of any team in the FBS.
741 – The amount of passing yardage recorded by Georgia Tech quarterbacks Joe Hamilton and George Godsey in back-to-back years against Maryland. Hamilton threw for 387 yards (19-for-31, with two touchdown passes), the fourth-most in a game by a Yellow Jackets QB, on Sept. 30, 1999 in a 49-31 shootout at Bobby Dodd. It was Hamilton’s second 387-yard passing game in three games (they came 19 days apart). The following season, Godsey, a recent Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, threw for 354 yards (19-for-26, with two touchdowns), the seventh-best passing day by a Tech QB, on Nov. 18, 2000, a 35-22 victory, at Byrd Stadium.
10 Things To Know About Maryland
4 – The number of times freshman Stefon Diggs has earned ACC weekly honors this season. He’s been named Rookie of the Week three times, following games against West Virginia (Sept. 22), when he had three receptions for 113 yards, two scores and 201 all-purpose yards, Wake Forest (Oct. 6), when he pulled in five passes for 105 yards, and Boston College (Oct. 27), when he caught a career-best 11 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. He was Specialist of the Week after the game against Virginia (Oct. 13), when he took the game’s opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. Diggs ranks second in the ACC and ninth in the nation with 169.3 all-purpose yards.
4/7 – The Terrapins national rank in rushing defense and total defense. Maryland allows opponents 77.6 yards per game on the ground and 289.3 yards per game total. Only three of their opponents, William and Mary (104), Connecticut (153) and Virginia (168) have rushed for 100 yards, with the last two opponents, NC State and Boston College rushing for a combined 48.
5.5/4.5 – The average margin of victory and average margin of defeat by Maryland this season. The Terps’ four wins have come by a total of 22 points, with the largest victory a 36-27 win at Temple on September 8. Their four losses have come by 18 points, with the largest a 10-point defeat at No. 23 West Virginia on Sept. 22.
7 – The number of players Maryland has lost to season-ending injuries this season. Of that seven, four of them are quarterbacks — C.J. Brown, Perry Hill and Caleb Rowe all felled by knee injuries, while Devin Burns was lost to a foot injury. Place-kicker/punter Nick Ferrara was lost to a hip injury, while wide receiver Marcus Leak suffered a toe injury. Defensive lineman Andre Monroe also was lost to a knee injury.
32/52: The number of seconds remaining in the game over the last two weeks when North Carolina State and Boston College hit game-winning plays. Niklas Sade’s 43-yard field goal gave the Wolfpack a 20-18 win on Oct. 20 at Byrd Stadium, then last week in Chestnut Hill, Johnathan Coleman caught a 14-yard pass from Chase Rettig with 52 seconds left to lift the Eagles to a 20-17 win.
20 – The number of quarters since the Maryland defense has surrendered a rushing touchdown. The Terps, who have surrendered three rushing touchdowns all season, last saw an opponent score on the ground at the 8:04 mark of the fourth quarter on Sept. 15 against Connecticut. They have yet to allow a rushing touchdown in an ACC game, as UConn (2) and Temple (1) have the three rushing scores.
14/8/7.5/7 – The number tackles for loss by senior defensive end Joe Vellano, outside linebacker Darin Drakeford, defensive end A.J. Francis and inside linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield. All four are ranked in the top 15 in the ACC. Vellano, who recorded Tech opponent highs of 20 tackles, 14 of them solo, in last season’s meeting between the schools, leads the conference and is ranked ninth in the nation with 1.75 tackles for loss, while Drakeford is tied for seventh, Hartsfield is tied for 13th and Francis is tied for 15th.
24 – Maryland’s ACC-leading number of sacks (tied with NC State). Drakeford (6.0, third), Vellano (5.0, fifth), Hartsfield (3.5, 13th) and Francis (3.0, T-14th) all rank among the top 15 in the ACC in that category.
31:42 – The average time of possession per game by Maryland’s offense. That ranks second in the ACC, 21 seconds fewer than league-leading Virginia’s 32:03. Their total is 18 seconds longer per game than Georgia Tech (31:24), which ranks fourth in the conference.
69.1 – The percentage of carries by Maryland opponents that resulted in gains of three-or-fewer yards. In the last two games, NC State had 18 of its 26 rushes stacked up, and last week Boston College had 21 of 27 runs held below three yards.