Nov. 15, 2011
Georgia Tech, out of contention for the ACC’s Coastal Division title, but with much to play for, plays at Duke Saturday in the Yellow Jackets’ final conference game of the season (12:29 p.m./ACC Network).
The Yellow Jackets, 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the ACC, are coming off a 37-26 home loss to 10th-ranked Virginia Tech last Thursday night. Despite three rushing touchdowns by junior quarterback Tevin Washington, the Jackets were eliminated from the ACC race.
Georgia Tech ranks in the top 20 nationally in almost every offensive category, including rushing offense (3rd) and pass efficiency (8th). Over the last five games, Washington has rushed for 524 yards and nine touchdowns. Tech dropped out of the AP poll and is ranked 23rd in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Duke, 3-7 and 1-5, fell at Virginia, 31-21, on Saturday. The Blue Devils and Cavaliers were tied, 21-21, with just over 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter before UVA pulled away to hand Duke its fifth straight loss.
The Blue Devils are led on offense by quarterback Sean Renfree, who ranks second in the ACC in passing (248.8) and fourth in total offense. Receivers Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner, Duke’s all-time leading receiver, both rank in the top six in the ACC in receiving yards.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 47-30-1, including a 30-20 victory in Atlanta last season. The Yellow Jackets have won the last seven meetings.
Tech Still Has Much To Play For
Despite being eliminated from the ACC title race, Georgia Tech has much to play for down the stretch:
— The Yellow Jackets, at 7-3, have a chance for a 10-win season for the second time in three years (Tech went 11-3 in 2009). Prior to 2009, the Jackets’ last 10-win season came in 1998. To reach double-digit victories, Tech would need to win out (at Duke, vs. Georgia, bowl game).
— With a win Saturday, Tech would finish above .500 in ACC play and give the Jackets at least eight overall wins for the third time in four seasons under Paul Johnson.
— A victory Saturday, coupled with a Virginia loss, would assure the Jackets of at least a tie for second place in the Coastal Division.
— Also on Saturday, the Yellow Jackets will be trying to avoid losing their third straight road game as well as their first loss to Duke since 2003.
Yellow Jacket Notebook
— Georgia Tech ranks in the top 20 nationally in nine different categories: rushing — 3rd), third-down percentage (3rd), pass efficiency (8th), fewest penalties (8th), fewest penalty yards (9th), punt return defense (12th), passing defense (16th), scoring offense (19th) and total offense (20th).
— The Yellow Jackets, coming off back-to-back games against top-10 teams (No. 6 Clemson, No. 10 Virginia Tech), close the regular season next week against 13th-ranked Georgia.
— There are just 10 scholarship seniors on the Tech roster.
— The Yellow Jackets have produced eight one-play touchdown drives. Last season Tech had zero.
— Smith averages 10.8 yards per carry and has rushed for a touchdown once every 5.3 carries (10 TDs, 53 attempts).
— Eight of junior Stephen Hill’s 22 receptions have been of 40 yards or longer, including three 70 yards or longer.
— Junior linebacker Julian Burnett is fourth in the ACC in tackles (94). He has 40 more tackles than any other Tech player.
— Coach Paul Johnson is 12-3 at Tech in games decided by five points or less.
— Tech has thrown at least two touchdown passes in a game four times this season (but no TD passes since Oct. 1). 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 five 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, although that streak will likely end this season.
— 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 kickoff (Justin Moore, David Scully), two placekickers (Moore and Scully), two punters (Sean Poole, Chandler Anderson), three kick returners (Orwin Smith, Tony Zenon, Roddy Jones) and two punt returners (Zach Laskey and Jemea Thomas).
— The Jackets are out-scoring opponents 10-41 in the first quarter and 101-27 in the third quarter, but are being out-scored 78-59 in the fourth quarter.
— Tech has had 119 offensive possessions this season and has scored 49 touchdowns. — Georgia Tech is bowl-eligible for the 15th consecutive year — tied for 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.