Sept. 22, 2009
Jackets Try To Get Back In Rhythm Saturday vs. North Carolina
Georgia Tech faces its second straight nationally-ranked ACC Coastal Division opponent Saturday when it hosts North Carolina (12:10 p.m./Raycom).
The Yellow Jackets, 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the ACC, are coming off a 33-17 loss at nationally-ranked Miami last Thursday night in Miami Gardens, Fla. Tech did not commit a turnover and punted just three times, but Miami rolled up 454 yards of total offense and also did not turn the ball over.
Tech dropped out of the Associated Press poll and USA Today poll this week. North Carolina, 3-0, will be playing its first ACC game of the season. The Tar Heels, ranked 22nd by AP and 18th by USA Today, are coming off a 31-17 win over visiting East Carolina on Saturday.
Marietta (Ga.) native T.J. Yates completed 19-of-24 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Pirates. The Tar Heels limited ECU to 55 yards rushing on 30 attempts.
The Tar Heels handed Tech one of its worst losses of the 2008 season, 28-7 in Chapel Hill. Tech has not lost to UNC in Atlanta since 1997. Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 23-18-3 and has won nine of the last 11 meetings. More series information on page four.
Tech’s Rushing Attack To Face Test In Carolina’s Defense
Saturday’s Georgia Tech-North Carolina game will be an intriguing match-up of the Yellow Jackets’ spread option offense and the Tar Heels’ stingy defense:
Georgia Tech leads the ACC and ranks 16th nationally in rushing offense (243.7 yards per game). North Carolina leads the ACC and ranks seventh nationally in rushing defense (52.3 yards per game).
The Yellow Jackets rushed for more than 300 yards against Jacksonville State (335) and Clemson (301), before being held to 95 yards rushing by Miami. The Tar Heels have held all three opponents to 72 or less yards rushing, including just 30 yards rushing by The Citadel in the season opener.
Tech is averaging 381.0 yards of total offense per game. UNC ranks sixth nationally in total defense (198.7).
The Yellow Jackets scored 37 points against Jacksonville State and 30 points against Clemson. North Carolina is limiting foes to just 11 points per game and no team has scored more than 17 points against the Tar Heels.
In the last three meetings with North Carolina, Georgia Tech has averaged just 13.7 points per game.
Finally, Tech’s Schedule Is `Normal’
Georgia Tech played three football games — its first three games of the 2009 season — in a 13-day span from Sept. 5-17.
Tech’s whirlwind schedule came on the heels of an extremely long preseason camp. The Yellow Jackets began practice Aug. 3.
These are not excuses for last Thursday’s loss at Miami, but the two days off the Yellow Jackets received this week (Friday and Saturday) should be a benefit. Tech’s next eight games come on consecutive Saturdays. The Yellow Jackets do not have an open date week until Nov. 21.
Georgia Tech has outscored opponents 41-7 in the first quarter. In the third quarter, however, the Yellow Jackets have been outscored 30-7.
Quick Notes On The Jackets
— Tech might not pass that often — 42 attempts in three games — but the Yellow Jackets are averaging 24.2 yards per completion.
— Sophomore Jerrard Tarrant returned punts for touchdowns in each of the first two games of his college career — 68 yards vs. Jacksonville State and 85 yards against Clemson. He did not have a return against Miami.
— For the third time in his career, Demaryius Thomas recorded every Georgia Tech reception last Thursday against Miami. He caught six passes for 133 yards against the Hurricanes. Last season he had every Tech reception in wins over Georgia and Duke.
— Tech has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 14 of 16 games under head coach Paul Johnson.
— Speaking of Johnson, he’s the first Georgia Tech coach to go 2-0 in each of his first two seasons since William Alexander in 1920 and 1921.
— Tech is 9-1 under Johnson when taking a lead to the locker room at halftime.
— Over the last four seasons combined, Virginia Tech leads the ACC with 18 conference wins. Georgia Tech ranks second with 17 ACC victories (17-10).
— Tech had produced more than 300 yards of total offense in seven consecutive games before being held to 228 yards at Miami Thursday.
— So far in 2009, every Georgia Tech point scored, interception and sack have been recorded by a non-senior.
Jackets Facing Very Difficult Stretch In Schedule
Georgia Tech, a week after playing on the road at nationally-ranked Miami, hosts No. 22/18 North Carolina on Saturday.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier.
The following week Tech plays on the road at Mississippi State, which beat Vanderbilt Saturday in Nashville. Then there are back-to-back games against nationally-ranked Florida State (on the road) and Virginia Tech.
Of Tech’s remaining nine opponents, four are ranked in the top 25. Five of the Yellow Jackets’ next nine games will be on the road.
Hall Out, Melton Probable For UNC
Georgia Tech piled up injuries in last Thursday’s loss at Miami. Starting defensive end Robert Hall (knee) will not play this week. Sophomore safety Cooper Taylor (undisclosed) is doubtful, and junior B-back Jonathan Dwyer (shoulder) and junior Wolf Dominique Reese (undisclosed) are questionable for Saturday’s game against North Carolina.
Tech expects to have sophomore WR Tyler Melton (knee) back. Sophomore QB Jaybo Shaw (broken collarbone) is questionable.