Nov. 9, 2012
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech hits the road for the second straight week, traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on with North Carolina. Kickoff at Kenan Stadium is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets can pull into a flat-footed tie at 3-3 with the Tar Heels in the very crowded Coastal Division and can keep their hopes for a division title alive. Head coach Paul Johnson believes the team can build on last week’s methodical 33-13 victory at Maryland, but, once again, will have to do it against one of the top defenses in the ACC.
“I was pleased with the effort and intensity we played with, especially early on. Certainly we’ll have to carry that over this week,” said Johnson. “We’re playing a team that’s really hot; has won five of their last six and is undefeated at home. They’ve had a week off to rest up and get healed up. We’ve got to continue to build on last week and gain some momentum, and show up and see what happens.”
The Jackets ran for 370 yards against a very good Maryland defense, scoring five rushing touchdowns in beating the Terrapins last week. A-Back Orwin Smith led the way with 89 yards and a score. Tech stormed out to a 20-0 halftime lead, led 27-0 late in the third quarter and was never challenged. The defense gave Terps QB Shawn Petty, a converted linebacker, fits. They limited Maryland to 259 yards, but 198 of those yards came in the second half after the game was decided.
The Tar Heels were off last week but are coming off an emotional 43-35 victory over NC State at Kenan. Sophomore RB Giovani Bernard was the hero, collecting 304 all-purpose yards, with the final 74 coming on a punt return he took to the house with 13 seconds remaining in the game that broke a 35-35 tie. Carolina squandered a 25-7 first-quarter lead and trailed 28-25 at the half, but outscored State, 18-0 in the final quarter to take the victory.
Here are some statistical tidbits to get you ready for today’s Tobacco Road tussle.
The Series: Georgia Tech leads, 26-18-3
Current Streak: Georgia Tech has won three straight
In North Carolina: North Carolina leads the series, 11-9-3
Last Meeting: No. 25/24 Georgia Tech 35, No. RV/25 North Carolina 28, @ Georgia Tech, Sept. 24, 2011
40 – The number being worn this week by senior A-Back Jamal Paige. 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, safety Isaiah Johnson, and last week again by senior defensive end T.J. Barnes.
1 – The number of rushing touchdowns needed by Georgia Tech QB Tevin Washington to tie Joshua Nesbitt for the school- and ACC-record for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. Washington has run for 34 career TDs, 16 this season. The latter is one QB rushing score behind FBS leader Collin Klein of Kansas State.
3 – The number of sacks recorded by junior linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu in last week’s victory over Maryland. The three sacks are a single-game high for the Jackets and helped Attaochu earn ACC Linebacker of the Week. It’s the second time in the Paul Johnson era that Attaochu has recorded three sacks in a game — his other came last year against North Carolina last year. Derrick Morgan has the other two three-sack games under Johnson, both in 2009.
3- The number of seasons current Georgia Tech assistant coach Andy McCollum and current North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora worked together at Middle Tennessee State. From 1999 through 2001, McCollum was MTSU”s head coach and Fedora the team’s offensive coordinator. The Blue Raiders improved from 3-8 to 6-5 to 8-3 in those seasons.
4 – The number of pass attempts by Georgia Tech in last week’s game at Maryland. It’s the fewest passes since Tech’s 34-24 win over Carolina on Sept. 18, 2010 at Kenan Stadium.
5 – The length of the longest of Georgia Tech’s five touchdown runs against Maryland. Orwin Smith and A-Back Robert Godhigh each went five yards, quarterback Vad Lee had a pair of two-yard scores and QB Tevin Washington went one yard for a touchdown.
5 – The number of games in the last seven in the series to be decided by a touchdown or less. Georgia Tech has won all five of those games.
6 – The number of games in the last seven in the series won by Georgia Tech.
7 – The number of running plays by Georgia Tech opponents that have gained more than 20 yards.
10 – The number of tackles made by Attaochu and junior safety Isaiah Johnson. That’s the most among active Jackets players against the Tar Heels. Attaochu had nine last season, Johnson seven. Brandon Watts is right on the tails of Attaochu and Johnson, as he has nine career stops vs. UNC, including his career-high six two years ago.
12 – The number of different Yellow Jacket players who have taken an offensive play at least 20 yards.
8 – The number of yards needed by senior Orwin Smith to reach the 1,000-yard mark in all-purpose yardage this season. Smith’s 110.2 yards per game ranks ninth in the ACC.
30 – The number of quarters out of 36 that Georgia Tech has scored this season.
61 – The number of yards Georgia Tech allowed to Maryland in the first half last week. It was the lowest total for a half by a Yellow Jackets defense since holding Carolina to 52 in the first half of their 24-7 win at Bobby Dodd on Sept. 26, 2009.
240 – The yardage rushed for by P.J. Daniels on Nov. 15, 2003 game against North Carolina at Bobby Dodd. It’s the third-best rushing day in Georgia Tech history. It was actually Daniel’s second-best day that year, as he ran for 307 in the Humanitarian Bowl in the finale against Tulsa.
10 Things To Know About North Carolina
0 – The number of home losses for the Tar Heels this season. Should they win today and their Nov. 24 finale vs. Maryland, they can match the best home slate in school history, the 7-0 season in 1980, and will be the first Carolina team to go unbeaten at home in a season since 1996.
3 – Quarterback Bryn Renner’s rank on UNC’s all-time lists for completions (435), passing yards (5, 486), and touchdowns (44). Earlier this season he set a school-record for passing yards in consecutive games, throwing for 363 Sept. 15 at Louisville then following that up with 321 Sept. 22 against East Carolina. The record had been shared by Darian Durant (2002) and T.J. Yates (2007).
7.89 – The number of tackles for loss by the Tar Heels defense. That’s good for fourth in the country. Junior defensive end Kareem Martin leads the rush with 12.5 TFLs, tied for second in the conference. Senior linebacker Kevin Reddick is right behind him with 12.0 (fourth in the conference) and senior defensive end Sylvester Williams has 9.5 (tied for sixth). UNC’s 23 sacks (2.56 per game) rank third in the conference. Reddick’s 5.5 is good for fourth and Williams’ 5.0 put him in a five-way tie for fifth, with, among others, Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu.
4 – The number of consecutive games in which sophomore tailback Giovani Bernard has run for at least 100 yards. Bernard hasn’t been held below 135 in any of the games and has gained a total of 729 yards (262 vs. Virginia Tech, 189 at Miami, 143 at Duke and 135 vs. NC State) in those games. That’s an average 182.25 per game and, having made 97 carries, averages out to 7.5 yards per carry. He’s also gained 1,105 all-purpose yards in those games (276.25), with eight touchdowns (he has 15 for the season, one behind Tevin Washington for the ACC lead — despite missing two games). He had 202 all-purpose yards last year against the Yellow Jackets (155 rushing, 47 receiving).
5/3/1 – Bernard’s national rank in rushing yards per game, all-purpose yards and punt return yards. Bernard averages 132.9 yards per game on the ground (7.4 per rush), 214.0 all-purpose yards and 20.8 yards per punt return.
39.4 – The number of points North Carolina has averaged this season. That’s third in the ACC and 16th in the country. The Tar Heels have scored at least 30 points six times and have hit 40 or more four times, including 48 against Virginia Tech, the most scored by either team in the history of the series.
40 – The number of consecutive PATs converted by kicker Casey Barth. Barth is three shy of the school-record for consecutive converted PATs, currently held by Tripp Pignetti (1993). The senior, who redshirted in 2011, has missed one extra point out of 157 attempts over his entire career. That came in the second quarter against the Citadel on Sept. 5, 2009.
175 – The number of points by which North Carolina has won its six games this season, an average victory margin of 29.2 points. That includes a 62-0 win over Elon and a 66-0 win over Idaho.
9 – The number of points by which North Carolina has lost its three games. The Heels dropped a 28-27 decision at Wake Forest, a 39-34 game at Louisville and a 33-30 verdict at Duke.
75.7 – The number of plays North Carolina averages per game. That’s almost 13 more than they ran last season (62.5). Included were 80-plus-play games against NC State (a season-high 86 plays), Miami (84), and Wake Forest (82). The 86 plays are the most in a regulation game since 2000 (88 vs. Virginia) and the most since a triple-overtime game against Syracuse in 2003.