Oct. 1, 2007
Georgia Tech and Maryland, both 3-2 overall and coming off big wins over nationally-ranked teams to break two-game losing streaks, meet Saturday in College Park, Md. (Noon/Raycom-Lincoln Financial TV).
The Yellow Jackets, 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the ACC, got 145 yards rushing from senior Tashard Choice, a suffocating defensive effort and a couple of big plays on special teams to beat visiting 13th-ranked Clemson last Saturday in Atlanta. The win snapped a frustrating two-game losing streak and gave Tech its first ACC victory.
Maryland, 3-2 and 0-1, upset 10th-ranked Rutgers on the road last Saturday, 34-24. Backup quarterback Chris Turner led Maryland to 20 second-half points, Keon Lattimore rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown and the Terps bounced back from consecutive losses.
The Yellow Jackets and Terrapins have followed almost identical paths so far in 2007. Both teams began the season 2-0, both won a non-conference road game and both teams won at home against former Division I-AA teams. Tech and Maryland, prior to last Saturday’s wins, were coming off heart-breaking ACC road losses — the Yellow Jackets at Virginia (28-23) and the Terrapins at Wake Forest (31-24 in overtime).
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 13-5, and the Yellow Jackets have beaten the Terrapins three straight times.
Friedgen A Former Jacket
Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen served two different stints as Georgia Tech’s offensive coordinator before taking over as the Terrapins’ head coach seven years ago (more on page.
A Glance Inside The Numbers Of Tech And Maryland
– Saturday’s game features two of the premier running backs in the ACC, if not all of college football. Georgia Tech’s Tashard Choice (100.2 ypg) ranks third in the ACC in rushing and Maryland’s Keon Lattimore (106.6) ranks second.
– Georgia Tech kicker Travis Bell (10.2 ppg) and Lattimore (9.6 ppg) are the ACC’s top two scorers.
– Lattimore (8 touchdowns) and Tech true freshman Jonathan Dwyer (6 TDs) have more touchdowns than any other player in the ACC.
– Georgia Tech’s Philip Wheeler and Maryland’s Erin Henderson are two of the ACC’s top linebackers. Wheeler ranks among the league leaders in sacks, fumbles recovered and passes defended. Henderson ranks second in the ACC in total tackles with 11.0 per game.
– The Yellow Jackets (350.4 ypg) and Terrapins (348.0 ypg) are almost even in total offense.
– Tech (204.2 ypg) and Maryland (176.8 ypg) rank 1-2 in the ACC in rushing offense.
– An interesting match-up should be the Terrapin offense, which has rushed for 14 touchdowns this season, and the Yellow Jacket defense, which allows just 64.6 yards per game on the ground and ranks sixth nationally in rushing defense.
Georgia Tech-Maryland Series History
– Georgia Tech leads, 13-5.
– The Yellow Jackets won the last three meetings and seven of the last nine meetings. The two teams did not meet in 2005.
– Georgia Tech won last year’s meeting, 27-23, in Atlanta (Oct. 7, 2006).
– Three of the last five meetings have been decided by four points or less.
– Georgia Tech holds a 5-4 series lead when playing at Maryland. The Yellow Jackets won the last meeting in College Park, 20-7, on Oct. 9, 2004.
n The Yellow Jackets have won eight out of nine games played in Atlanta.
– The Yellow Jackets are 5-4 against teams from the ACC’s Atlantic Division since the league began divisional play three years ago. That includes a 4-2 record at home and a 1-1 mark on the road.
– Georgia Tech and Maryland did not meet on the gridiron until 1988. The two teams have met every season since, with the exception of 2005.
– Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey is 3-1 all-time vs. Maryland.
– Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen is 2-3 all-time vs. Georgia Tech.
Maryland’s Friedgen Was At Tech For Two Stints
Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen and two of his Terrapin assistant coaches worked at Georgia Tech before heading to Maryland seven years ago.
Friedgen had two stops at Tech. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 1987-91. He returned as assistant coach and offensive coordinator for the Yellow Jackets from 1997-2000.
Terrapin assistant coach Dave Sollazzo was an assistant coach at Georgia Tech in 1999 and 2000. Maryland assistant John Donovan was a graduate assistant with the Yellow Jackets from 1998-2001.
Four current members of the Georgia Tech support staff were with the Yellow Jacket program during Friedgen’s second stint at Tech: Butch Brooks (was then the director of high school relations), Tom Conner (equipment manager), Todd McCarthy (Director of video operations) and Jay Shoop (head trainer).
More Tech-Terp Connections
– Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta worked with Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen in 1983. Friedgen, in 1983, was Maryland’s offensive coordinator and Tenuta was a graduate assistant coach for the Terrapins.
– Yellow Jacket assistant coach Brian Jean-Mary was a graduate assistant coach at South Carolina in 2001 and 2002. At that time, current Maryland defensive coordinator Chris Cosh was serving as an assistant coach for the Gamecocks.
– Georgia Tech has one player on its roster from Maryland — reserve safety Tyler Barrett (Hagerstown).
– Maryland has four players on its roster from Georgia — kicker Obi Egekeze (Augusta), offensive lineman Lamar Young (Jonesboro), offensive lineman Tyler Bowen (Helena), and defensive lineman Dion Armstrong (Fort Valley).
– Georgia Tech senior running back Rashaun Grant and Maryland senior linebacker Jermaine Lemons both graduated from Jefferson High School in Tampa, Fla.
– Former Yellow Jackets Dawan Landry and P.J. Daniels are both playing professionally in Maryland with the Baltimore Ravens.
Defense Continues To Rank Among The Nation’s Best
Georgia Tech’s aggressive, blitzing defense under coordinator Jon Tenuta is perennially one of the nation’s best units:
– Twice this season the Yellow Jackets have held opponents to less than 35 yards rushing. Last Saturday vs. Clemson, the defense held the Tigers to 34 yards on the ground.
– Tech ranks sixth nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 64.6 yards per game — the fourth consecutive year the Jackets have been ranked in the top 20 nationally in rushing defense.
– Tech opponents are averaging just 1.8 yards per rush.
– The Jackets are allowing just 14.4 points per game, which ranks seventh nationally and first in the ACC in scoring defense. Tech kept both Notre Dame and Clemson out of the end zone.
– Tech ranks second in the ACC and 20th nationally in total defense (294.2 ypg).
– The Jackets rank third nationally in sacks (21) and tackles-for-loss (52).
– Only once in 20 quarters has an opponent scored more than seven points against the Yellow Jackets in a quarter.
– The Jackets have forced opponents to fumble 18 times and have recovered nine of them. Tech is tied for first nationally in fumbles recovered.
– Georgia Tech’s defense has been on the field for 345 plays, of which 136 have gone for negative yardage or no gain.
– Against Notre Dame Sept. 1, the Irish had 19 offensive plays that went for negative yardage. Notre Dame was held to minus-8 yards rushing.
– Sixteen different Yellow Jacket players have been in on a tackle-for-loss and 11 different players have recorded a sack.
– Individually, senior defensive end Darrell Robertson ranks 13th nationally in tackles-for-loss and senior linebacker Philip Wheeler ranks 18th in sacks.
Tech Special Teams Have Been Outstanding
Armed with one of the nation’s best punters and kickers, Georgia Tech is excelling in every facet of special teams. The Yellow Jackets rank first nationally in two special teams categories:
n Georgia Tech leads the nation in net punting (42.2 ypa). That’s the result of senior Ray Guy Award Candidate Durant Brooks averaging 47.1 yards per punt (ranking No. 2 nationally) and the Yellow Jackets allowing just 5.2 yards per return.
– The Yellow Jackets rank 16th nationally in punt return defense (5.2 ypr).
– Only nine of Tech’s 30 punts have been returned. Of those nine returns, four have gone for negative yardage.
– Tech’s kickoff coverage team has been a good story. Last year the Yellow Jackets ranked 119th nationally in kickoff return defense. This year, they lead the nation. Opponents are averaging just 15.9 yards per kickoff return. Scott Blair, a freshman walk-on, handles Tech’s kickoff duties.
– Georgia Tech leads the ACC and ranks seventh nationally in kickoff returns, averaging 28.1 yards per return. Three freshmen have combined for 10 of Tech’s 14 kickoff returns including true freshman Jonathan Dwyer, who ranks second in the ACC and 34th nationally at 27.17 yards per return.
– The Jackets are solid in punt returns as well. Andrew Smith ranks fifth in the ACC and 39th nationally with an average of 12.0 yards per return. Tyler Evans ranks sixth in the ACC and 43rd nationally at 11.2 yards per return.
– Senior kicker Travis Bell has been remarkably consistent. He is 116-of-116 in career PATs. Bell has made 12-of-13 field goal attempts, including 10 consecutive and at least one in every game this season.
Donley, Special Teams Play Huge Role In Clemson Win
True freshman D.J. Donley, a receiver by trade, made two huge special teams plays in last Saturday’s win over Clemson. He blocked a Clemson punt in the first quarter and recovered a Tiger fumble on a punt return in the fourth quarter.