Oct. 24, 2011
Georgia Tech, coming off back-to-back ACC road losses, hosts undefeated and sixth-ranked Clemson Saturday night under the lights of Bobby Dodd Stadium (8:12 p.m./ABC).
The Yellow Jackets, 6-2 overall, 3-2 in the ACC and out of the Top 25 for the first time since mid-September, lost at Miami last Saturday, 24-7. Tech had two costly special teams errors and its spread option offense was held to season lows for rushing (134 yards) and total offense (211).
Tech, still in the hunt for the ACC’s Coastal Division title, leads the nation in third-down percentage, ranks fifth in rushing and sixth in pass efficiency.
Clemson, 8-0 and 5-0, has a stranglehold on the Atlantic Division after whipping visiting North Carolina, 59-38, last Saturday. The Tigers scored 35 points in the third quarter and produced 450 yards of total offense, 375 by quarterback Tajh Boyd. Boyd leads the ACC in passing and total offense. Freshman phenom Sammy Watkins has scored 10 touchdowns and leads the ACC in receptions. Running back Andre Ellington rushes for 93.1 yards per game.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 49-25-2 and has won four of the last five meetings. Clemson won last season in Death Valley, 27-13.
Yellow Jacket Notebook
— A Tech victory Saturday would assure it of a winning season, and it would also secure at least a .500 finish in ACC play for a conference-record 17th straight season.
— The Yellow Jackets, 4-0 at home, are attempting to stay unbeaten in Bobby Dodd Stadium for the first time since 1999.
— Georgia Tech leads the nation in third-down percentage (.586), ranks fifth nationally in rushing (321.1), sixth in pass efficiency (175.2), seventh in fewest sacks allowed (0.63) and eighth in pass defense (170.5).
— The Yellow Jackets dropped out of the national polls this week for the first time since Sept. 11, but are receiving votes for both polls..
— Georgia Tech’s four remaining regular season games include home games against 6th-ranked Clemson, 15th-ranked Virginia Tech and 22nd-ranked Georgia, and a road game at Duke.
— The Yellow Jackets have produced eight one-play touchdown drives. Last season Tech had zero.
— Tech is 2-0 in night games this season, including a 1-0 record at home.
— Smith averages 12.3 yards per carry and has rushed for a touchdown once every 5.3 carries (8 TDs, 42 attempts).
— Junior linebacker Julian Burnett ranks seventh in the ACC in tackles (73). He has 32 more tackles than any other Tech player.
— Coach Paul Johnson is 12-3 at Tech in games decided by five points or less.
— Georgia Tech is 8-3 in its last 11 games vs. Atlantic Division opponents. The Jackets have won 15 of their last 22 ACC games.
— Tech has thrown at least two touchdown passes in a game four times this season. Last season it had one game with two TD passes (at Wake Forest).
— Tech has had a 100-yard receiver four times and a 100-yard rusher four times this season.
— Tech is the only school in the nation to produce a 1,300-yard rusher in each of the previous five seasons.
— The Yellow Jackets have played 10 true freshmen – DB/PR Zach Laskey, LB Kyle Travis, LB Tremayne McNair, LB Nick Menocal, CB Jamal Golden, OL Shaq Mason, WR Jeff Greene, WR Darren Waller, DB Corey Dennis and LS Sean Tobin.
— Tech has used two players to kick-off (Justin Moore, David Scully), two placekickers (Moore and Scully), two punters (Sean Poole, Chandler Anderson) and two kick returners (Orwin Smith, Tony Zenon).
— The Jackets are outscoring opponents 81-14 in the third quarter, but Tech is being outscored 72-59 in the fourth quarter.
— Tech has had 97 offensive possessions this season and has scored 42 touchdowns.
— Georgia Tech is bowl-eligible for the 15th consecutive year — the fourth-longest current streak nationally.
— Tech began the season 6-0 for the first time since 1966 and 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since 2006.
— The Clemson game is sold out — Tech’s first sell-out since Nov. 28, 2009, vs. Georgia.
— Clemson (4th nationally) and Tech (9th) are two of the least-penalized teams in college football.
— Saturday’s game is a re-match of the 2009 ACC Championship game, won by Georgia Tech, 39-34.
— The last time Tech and Clemson met in Bobby Dodd Stadium — Sept. 10, 2009 — the Yellow Jackets escaped with a 30-27 victory in a wild game. The Jackets jumped out to a 24-0 lead in part to a faked field goal that went for a touchdown, fell behind 27-24 in the fourth quarter, then kicked two field goals in the final 5:40 for the win.
— Dabo Swinney’s first game as Clemson’s head coach came vs. Georgia Tech midway through the 2008 season.
Tech vs. Nationally-Ranked Opponents
— Georgia Tech will play its second nationally-ranked opponent of the season. The Yellow Jackets defeated North Carolina, then-ranked 25th in the Coaches Poll (unranked in the AP poll), 35-28, on Sept. 24.
— Clemson is the highest-ranked opponent to visit Bobby Dodd Stadium since Georgia Tech beat 4th-ranked Virginia Tech, 28-23, on Oct. 17, 2009.
— Tech is 86-154-6 all-time against teams ranked in the AP top 25, including a 25-37 mark against ranked ACC opponents, and a 46-70-4 record in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
— Paul Johnson is 7-4 against AP-ranked teams in his four seasons with the Yellow Jackets.
— Clemson brings its highest ranking into a game vs. Georgia Tech since being ranked No. 5 in 2000 when the unranked Yellow Jackets upset the Tigers, 31-28, in Death Valley.
— Clemson brings its highest ranking into Bobby Dodd Stadium since 1959 when the Tigers were ranked No. 6 and beat the host Yellow Jackets, 16-6.