Sept. 19, 2011
Georgia Tech, which has put up record-breaking statistics on offense en route to a 3-0 record, faces its most difficult challenge of the young season when it hosts undefeated North Carolina Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in the Yellow Jackets’ ACC opener (Noon/ESPN).
The Yellow Jackets, ranked 25th (AP)/24th (coaches), broke an NCAA record for rushing yards per attempt (12.1), broke an ACC record for net rushing yards (604) and broke a school for total offense (768) in Saturday’s 66-24 win over visiting Kansas. Tech scored on nine straight possessions during one stretch and the Jacket defense closed the door by forcing three straight 3-and-outs in the second half.
Georgia Tech, 3-0 for the first time since 2005, leads the nation in scoring offense (59.3), total offense (675.3) and rushing offense (427.7).
North Carolina (3-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC), receiving votes (AP)/25th (coaches), is coming off a 28-17 win over visiting Virginia on Saturday – its first ACC-opening win since 2000. Quarterback Bryn Renner threw for two touchdowns, Ryan Houston ran for two touchdowns and Giovani Bernard rushed for 102 yards to lead the Tar Heels.
UNC had just one turnover in the win over Virginia after suffering five turnovers in the win over Rutgers the previous week. The Tar Heels are paced by a strong rushing defense, which is allowing less than 77 yards rushing per game.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 25-18-3. The Yellow Jackets have won five of the last six and 11 of the last 13 meetings. Tech won last year’s meeting in Chapel Hill, 30-24, a highlight in Tech’s 2010 season.
Noting The Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech, 3-0, is looking for its first 4-0 start since the 1990 season when it won a share of the national championship.
One storyline for Saturday’s match-up will be the Georgia Tech rushing attack, which averages a nation’s best 427.7 yards per game, against North Carolina’s rush defense, which ranks 16th nationally, allowing less than 77 yards rushing per contest.
The Yellow Jackets are ranked in the Associated Press poll for the first time this season and for the first time since Sept. 7, 2010. Tech has been ranked in the AP poll at least one week every year for the last seven years – its longest such streak since a 16-year run in the polls from 1951-66.
Tech has thrown at least two touchdown passes in every game. Last season the Jackets had one game with two TD passes (at Wake Forest).
The Jackets have scored at least five rushing touchdowns in every game. Tech has had a 100-yard receiver in every game.
Junior Tevin Washington leads the ACC in passing efficiency (334.3). He would lead the nation in that category, but does not have enough attempts to qualify.
Junior receiver Stephen Hill averages 38.9 yards per reception. Three of his eight receptions this season have been for touchdowns.
Junior Orwin Smith averages 22.5 yards per carry. He has scored touchdowns on four of his 12 rushing attempts.
Tech has scored on its first offensive play in each of the first three games of the season. The Jackets also scored a TD on their first offensive play of the second half against 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 to the B-back position to ground up close to that mark as a collective group. Tech’s four B-backs have combined for 364 yards in the first three weeks of the season.
The Yellow Jackets have played nine true freshmen – DB/PR Zach Laskey, LB Kyle Travis, LB Tremayne McNair, LB Nick Menocal, LB Tyler Marcodes, OL Shaq Mason, WR Jeff Greene, WR Darren Waller and DB Corey Dennis.
Tech’s offensive line will got a shot in the arm last week when junior tackle Phil Smith returned from suspension. The line may get another boost this week if sophomore OG J.C. Lanier comes off the injured list.
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 1,122 career kick return yards, which ranks sixth in Tech history.