Nov. 23, 2012
By Jon Cooper
– Georgia Tech looks to continue rolling as it concludes its regular season today when the the Yellow Jackets travel to Athens to take on arch-rival Georgia. Kickoff at Sanford Stadium is scheduled for noon.
The Yellow Jackets are riding a season-high three-game winning streak and have not only made themselves bowl-eligible for a 16th straight season, but, combined with Miami’s self-imposition of a bowl ban, have earned the Coastal Division championship and a berth in next week’s ACC Championship Game. But head coach Paul Johnson isn’t looking that far ahead.
“We hadn’t even talked about [the ACC Championship Game] because we know we have to get ready to go up there and play a really good team,” Johnson said at his weekly press conference. “If you’re not dialed in and focused on them you’ll get embarrassed. We’ll have to play our best game of the year to have a chance in Athens on Saturday.”
Georgia Tech made it three straight wins last Saturday, by toppling Duke, 42-24, at Bobby Dodd Stadium. On Senior Day, the Jackets got one of the best games of the season from quarterback Tevin Washington, who threw for a season-high three touchdowns and ran for another. Redshirt Junior A-Back Robert Godhigh caught two of the scoring passes and sophomore B-Back Zach Laskey grabbed the other. Washington’s rushing touchdown set school- and conference-records for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
The Bulldogs, who clinched a second straight SEC East berth two weeks ago, tuned up for Tech by rolling Georgia Southern, 45-14, at Sanford Stadium. In the win, UGA’s fifth straight, they held the Eagles, who run an offense similar to Paul Johnson’s spread option — Johnson was head coach at Southern for five years — to 318 yards, 302 on the ground. Linebacker Alec Ogletree was all over the field, making 12 tackles and recovering a fumble. Quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
Here is are some numbers to chew on that should hold you until the main course at noon.
The Series: Georgia leads, 62-39-5
Current Streak: Georgia has won three straight
In Athens: Georgia leads the series, 29-13-1
Last Meeting: No. 13/14 Georgia 31, No. 25/21 Georgia Tech 17, @ Tech, Nov. 26, 2011
40 – The number being worn this week by redshirt sophomore inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy. 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, defensive end T.J. Barnes, again, senior A-Back Jamal Paige and last week by junior outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu.
.556 – The winning percentage of Georgia Tech’s opponents this season. That includes three teams that enter this week 10-1 (Clemson, Georgia and Florida State), and five other teams that are bowl-eligible — North Carolina and Middle Tennessee State each has seven wins, while Miami, BYU and Duke have six.
3 – The national rank of Georgia Tech’s rushing game. The Yellow Jackets have averaged 324.9 yards per game on the ground this season.
3 – The rank of senior defensive end T.J. Barnes and senior corner Rod Sweeting on the school’s all-time games played list following today’s game. Their 52 games tie Roddy Jones (2008-11), Steven Sylvester (2008-11), Mario Butler (2007-10) and Darryl Richard (2004, ’06-08), one behind leaders Rashaad Reid (2008-11) and Scott Blair (2007-10).
3 – The number of touchdowns for Robert Godhigh coming into the 2012 season.
8 – The number of touchdowns Godhigh has on the year, with six of them coming in the third quarter, three of those coming in the third against North Carolina. His four touchdown catches lead the team.
8.4/16.1 – Godhigh’s yards per rush and yards per catch.
3/6/67 – The number of interceptions, pass-breakups and tackles by junior corner Jemea Thomas. Nicknamed “iPod,” Thomas leads the team in picks (he is tied for third in the ACC), and PBUs (he’s 11th in the conference) and is tied for second on the team in tackles.
5 – The number of Golden’s six interceptions that have come in the fourth quarter. That’s 83.3 percent of his picks.
7/9 – The team-leading number of sacks and tackles for loss by junior linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu. Attaochu, who is fourth in the ACC in sacks, has racked up five of them over the last three games, matching his career high with three at Maryland then getting two more last week against Duke. He is the only current Yellow Jacket with a sack against Georgia, entering the game with two.
9.4 – Senior A-Back Orwin Smith’s career yards per carry. That’s the best in the nation. He’s averaged 5.7 yards per attempt in two games against Georgia.
9.8 – Quarterback Tevin Washington’s points per game total. That ranks third in the ACC.
10 – The number of consecutive games in which Georgia Tech has made at least one interception. That’s the longest such streak in the FBS.
29.0 – The average yardage per kick return for sophomore Jamal Golden. That leads the ACC and ranks 13th in the FBS.
18 – The number of consecutive seasons in which Georgia Tech has played at least .500 ball within its conference. The streak, which began in 1995, is the longest by any team in the nation. Boise State (WAC/Big West) and ACC rival Clemson are next with 14-year streaks.
30 – The minimum number of points scored by the winning team in the series in each of the last five meetings. The first of those games, the 2007 renewal won by UGA, 31-17 in Atlanta, snapped a three-year run during which neither team managed as many as 20 points.
40 – The average points per game by the Yellow Jackets in ACC play this season. The Jackets scored 320 points in their eight conference games. That was 13 more than their previous high, set in 1999, when they averaged 38.4 point per game. That season the Jackets outscored Georgia, winning 51-48 in overtime at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Luke Manget’s game-winning field goal. That game is the highest-scoring game in the series and saw the teams combine for 1,102 yards.
46.7 – The number of yards less the Yellow Jackets defense has allowed over its last five games, during which it’s gone 4-1, than in its first six, during which they were 2-4.
52/38 – The Jackets’ and their opponents’ conversion rates on third down over the last five games. Over the first six games, through Oct. 7, when the Jackets were 2-4, Tech was converting at 45 percent, opponents at 48.
56/110 – The number of first downs and points scored by Georgia Tech over its last two games.
86 – The number of consecutive seasons that Georgia Tech and Georgia have met heading into today’s game. In fact, the schools didn’t play at all from 1917 through 1924.
96 – The number of points by which the 2012 Yellow Jackets outscored the 2011 team.
214 – The number of rushing yards by freshman Roddy Jones in the dramatic 45-42 win in Athens on Nov. 29, 2008. Tech had trailed 26-12 at halftime in the game. It gave Paul Johnson a win in his first taste of the series as Georgia Tech’s head coach.
10 Things To Know About Georgia
.855 – Georgia’s winning percentage against non-SEC opponents in the Mark Richt era. Under Richt, the Bulldogs are 47-8. They are 3-0 this season and have scored at least 45 points in all three games — beating Buffalo in their season opener, 45-23, blasting Florida Atlantic, 56-20, two weeks later, then taking care of Georgia Southern, 45-14, last week. Richt also is 10-1 all-time against Georgia Tech, losing only the 45-42 classic in 2008.
1.0/1.6 – Junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones’ career sacks and tackles for loss per game averages. That leads the NCAA in sacks and is tied in TFLs among active players. This season, he has 62 tackles, with 10.5 sacks and 17.0 for loss.
10.3 – The number of tackles per game by junior inside linebacker Alec Ogletree. Ogletree has 72 stops in seven games and, against Tennessee, recorded a career-high 14 tackles and tipped a pass that led to an interception. The Tennessee game was his first of the season.
4 – The number of different Georgia receivers that have had 100-yard receiving games this season, as Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett, Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell all have done it. Brown and Bennett, UGA’s top two receivers coming in, were lost for the season to ACL injuries.
5.4 – The average number of three-and-outs forced by the Georgia defense this season. Only Florida (6.8), TCU (6.0) and Wisconsin (5.6) have forced more among FBS teams. The UGA’s defense has held opposing offenses to three plays in 59 series.
11 – With a win today, the 2012 Bulldogs would become only the eighth in school history to record 11 wins. The 2007 team was the last to do it, while the ’02 squad was the last to accomplish the feat during the regular season.
14 – The number of yards junior quarterback Aaron Murray needs to become only the first quarterback in SEC history to record three straight 3,000-yard passing seasons. Murray graduated during the spring with a degree in Psychology.
11/5 – Murray’s all-time rank in SEC history in total offense yards (he enters today with 9,047) and touchdown responsibility (97) and touchdown passes (87). He is the SEC’s active leader in those categories as well as in passing yards (9,184).
15/266 – Senior safety Bacarri Rambo’s career interception and interception return yards. Rambo is one INT away from tying Jake Scott for UGA’s all-time high, set from 1967 through 1968, while his return yards are third, 49 yards away from Scott’s all-time record and 37 away from tying Scott Woerner (1977-80) for second place.
1,041 – The rushing yardage for freshman tailback Todd Gurley. It’s the third-best single-season rushing total for a Georgia freshman behind only Herschel Walker (1,616 in 1980), and Knowshon Moreno (1,334 in 2007, as a redshirt freshman) and made him only the 11th rusher in Georgia history to run for 1,000 yards. Gurley’s 12 TDs are two behind Moreno and three behind Walker. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return in the season opener against Buffalo. Fellow freshman tailback Keith Marshall (654) yards, is 12th all-time among freshmen with 654 yards and six TDs.