Sept. 10, 2010
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson preaches that teams make their biggest improvement from week one to week two.
The Yellow Jackets will try to do that in their road opener, when they visit Lawrence, Kansas, to take on the Big 12’s Kansas University Jayhawks. Today’s game is Tech’s first visit to The Sunflower State and only the second meeting between the schools, some 62 years after the only previous meeting.
That was in the 1948 Orange Bowl, a game won by Georgia Tech, 20-14. In that game, the Jackets jumped out to a 20-7 lead then held off KU, recovering a fumble on the one-yard line late in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.
The two teams are coming off very different season-openers against FCS schools. Tech recorded a resounding, albeit unspectacular, 41-10 victory over South Carolina State at Bobby Dodd Stadium, while Kansas was sloppy (three turnovers, two missed field goals (52- and 42-yarders) and eight penalties for 70 yards) in a shocking 6-3 loss to North Dakota State at Memorial Stadium, marring the coaching debut of Turner Gill.
Both teams are looking for big improvements in their second game.
Here are some facts and figures that hopefully improve your knowledge heading into today’s game.
0 – The number of kickoff returns for Georgia Tech last week against South Carolina State. That’s the first time it’s happened since Nov. 11, 2006, against North Carolina, a string of 44 games.
0 – The number of passing first downs by Georgia Tech last week, the first time in more than 25 years that’s happened.
3 – The number of road games in Georgia Tech history on Sept. 11. Tech is 1-2 in those games, losing at South Carolina, 24-7, in 1971, nearly upending No. 1 Florida State in 1999, losing 41-35, despite a career-high 387 passing yards from Joe Hamilton, then, winning a 28-24 thriller over Clemson in 2004.
3 – The number of touchdown passes by Jim Still in the 1948 Orange Bowl, setting the Georgia Tech bowl-record. The mark has since been tied four times. Jim Patton caught two of Still’s scoring aerials, tying the school-record (a mark was reached twice, thereafter).
5 – Nesbitt’s standing on the school’s career touchdowns list. He enters play today tied with Tashard Choice and Jerry Mays, with 28 scores.
5 – The number of wins for Georgia Tech in its last six road openers.
8 – The number of road wins in 11 tries in the Paul Johnson era.
6/3 – The number of D-I quarterbacks that ran for 100 yards in last week’s season openers/the number of quarterbacks to rush for three touchdowns. Nesbitt rushed for 130 yards and three scores.
6 – The number of tackles by true freshman safety Isaiah Johnson in the season opener, tying for the team high. Johnson, one of five true freshmen to see action, also had one tackle for loss and forced a fumble.
7 – The number of years since the Yellow Jackets crossed the Mississippi to play a regular-season game. That one didn’t go so well, as BYU won the game, 24-13, on Aug. 28, 2003.
7- The number of times in 11 attempts that a Paul Johnson team has entered week two at 1-0 and left 2-0. His teams have cashed in the opportunity to go 2-0 four of the last five tries.
17 – The number of years since Tech faced a Big 12 opponent. The Jackets took out Baylor, 37-27 on Nov. 6, 1993.
8 – The number of third-down conversions in 12 attempts by Georgia Tech last week. Tech also was 2-for-2 on fourth down, both resulting in touchdowns.
73 – The number of rushing yards Kansas’ defense allowed in last week’s loss to North Dakota State. Kansas held NDSU to 168 total yards and out-gained the Bison, 293-168. Tech rushed for 372 in its opener.
94 – The number of passing yards allowed by Georgia Tech in last week’s victory. Kansas put up 197 in its opener. Eight different receivers caught passes, led by senior WR Johnathan Wilson, who had six receptions.
84 – The amount of yardage gained by Kansas’ sophomore D.J. Beshears on two kickoff returns last week, including a long of 49 yards.
13.0 – The Georgia Tech kickoff return team’s average on kickoffs in the opener.
18.5 – The difference in net yardage for Georgia Tech’s punt unit (41.5 ypk) and Kansas’ (23.0).
42 – The number of points scored by Georgia Tech when last facing a Carl Torbush-coordinated defense. That was a 42-31 win against Mississippi State last Oct. 3, in Starkville, Miss.
266 – The number of passing yards by Joshua Nesbitt in the MSU game. It’s his career-high. His 261.74 passer rating in that game (he was 11-for-14) is fifth-best in school history.
10 Quick Facts about Kansas
11 – The number of Kansas head coaches, including current head man Turner Gill, of the last 13, who lost their coaching debut.
7 – The number of years since KU has started 0-2. The last time that happened was in 2002, when they lost successive road games at Iowa State and UNLV.
0 – The number of times in his four years that Turner Gill-coached teams started 0-2. That includes his debut season of 2006 at Buffalo, when the Bulls only won two games. Gill’s teams are 1-3 in week two, with two of the losses coming against Pittsburgh and the other a three-overtime loss at Bowling Green.
1 – The number of ranked non-conference teams Kansas has hosted since 2001, prior to today’s game. The last opponent was No. 14 UCLA on Sept. 8, 2001. The Bruins won, 41-17.
2- The number of consecutive wins for KU against the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Jayhawks knocked off Duke, 44-16, last Sept. 19, at Memorial Stadium, and topped Virginia Tech, 24-21, in the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl. They are 4-16 all-time against the ACC.
3 – The number of wins Kansas posted last season in four games with morning kickoffs. Today’s kickoff is at 11:00 a.m. local time.
3 – The number of losses by KU in its last 23 non-conference games.
3 – The number of consecutive home losses by the Jayhawks. Even with the current skein they are 18-4 in their last 22 home games.
3.1 – The number of yards per play gained by North Dakota State in last week’s opener.
39 – The number of years since a Kansas game totaled nine points. The last was Nov. 20, 1971, a 7-2 win over Missouri, in that season’s Border War.