Sept. 5, 2011
Georgia Tech, 1-0 following a 63-21 win over Western Carolina last Thursday, faces its first road test of the young season Saturday night when it travels to Middle Tennessee State (7 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Central/ESPN3).
The Yellow Jackets put up impressive offensive numbers in the win over the Catamounts. Tech’s 662 yards of total offense were the second-most in school history (the most since 1948) and the Jackets passed for 365 yards, the most in Paul Johnson’s four seasons as head coach.
Seven different Yellow Jackets scored touchdowns, including junior wide receiver Stephen Hill, who had four receptions for 181 yards and a pair of TDs. Junior quarterback Tevin Washington completed 8-of-13 passes for 271 yards and three TDs.
Middle Tennessee State, 0-1, opened the season with a heart-breaking 27-24 loss on the road against Purdue of the Big Ten Conference. The Blue Raiders led the Boilermakers all afternoon, but a last-minute touchdown and a blocked field goal cost MTSU a chance at sending the game into overtime.
Quarterback Logan Kilgore led the MTSU offense with 330 yards on 27-of-45 with two touchdowns and just one interception. He found nine different receivers, a pack paced by Tavarres Jefferson with a career-best seven catches for 61 yards.
In last year’s meeting in Atlanta, Georgia Tech broke open a close game by scoring on three straight possessions in the third quarter en route to a 42-14 victory.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 1-0.
NOTING THE YELLOW JACKETS
Georgia Tech defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum was the head coach at Middle Tennessee State from 1999-2005.
It’s early and the competition gets tougher this week, but Georgia Tech currently ranks in the top 10 nationally in all four major offensive categories: 3rd in total offense, 4th in scoring offense, 7th in passing offense and 8th in rushing offense. Last season Georgia Tech led the nation in rushing offense.
The Yellow Jackets lead the nation in passing efficiency (322.3).
Georgia Tech is trying to avoid repeating history. Last season in Week 2, the Yellow Jackets lost on the road to non-conference opponent Kansas.
Tech is the only school in the nation to produce a 1,300-yard rusher in each of the last five seasons. While Tech may or may not produce a 1,300-yard rusher this season, Johnson expects the B-back position to ground up close to that mark as a collective group. Tech’s four B-backs combined for 108 rushing yards last week.
The Yellow Jackets played eight true freshmen in the season opener – DB/PR Zach Laskey, LB Kyle Travis, LB Tremayne McNair, LB Nick Menocal, OL Shaq Mason, WR Jeff Greene, WR Darren Waller and DB Corey Dennis.
Tech will play Saturday without junior tackle Phil Smith, who is suspended for the first two games of the season; and three injured players – sophomore safety Fred Holton, sophomore A-back B.J. Bostic, sophomore guard J.C. Lanier.
Tech hasn’t returned a kickoff for a touchdown since Oct. 31, 1998 (vs. Maryland), but junior Orwin Smith gives the Jackets a legitimate shot at it. Smith has 1,056 career kick return yards, which ranks sixth in Tech history.