Oct. 13, 2009
Jackets, Hokies Meet Saturday In Battle Of Coastal Division Leaders
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, battling for the early lead in the ACC Coastal Division race, meet Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in a clash of nationally-ranked teams (6 p.m./ ESPN2).
The Yellow Jackets, 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the ACC, own a three-game winning streak after winning at Florida State, 49-44, last Saturday. Tech held on for the win in a lightning-delayed offensive explosion that saw touchowns scored on each of the first nine possessions and the two teams combine for 1,071 yards.
Georgia Tech, ranked 19th by Associated Press and 20th by USA Today, has scored 91 points and produced 1,011 total offense yards over the last two games.
Virginia Tech, 5-1 and 3-0, has won five straight games after a season-opening loss to Alabama in the Georgia Dome. The Hokies whipped visiting Boston College, 48-14, last Saturday in a re-match of the last two ACC championship games.
The Hokies, ranked fourth in both national polls, led BC 34-0 before the Eagles scored 14 fourth-quarter points. Ryan Williams, the ACC’s leading rusher, erupted for 159 yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for a pair of scores.
The winner of Saturday’s game takes over the Coastal Division lead. No team other than Virginia Tech (2005, 2007, 2008) and Georgia Tech (2006) have represented the Coastal Division in the ACC championship game.
Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 4-2 including two straight wins over the Jackets. The series history can be found on page four.
Hi-Tech: Hokies, Jackets ACC’s Winningest Teams Of Late
Over the last four seasons combined, Virginia Tech leads the ACC with 21 conference wins. Georgia Tech ranks second with 19 victories.
Key Statistical Match-Ups For Saturday’s Game
Saturday’s game features two of the ACC’s most athletic and talented dual-threat quarterbacks in Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt and Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor. Nesbitt ranks second in the ACC in pass efficiency, third in rushing and seventh in total offense. Taylor ranks third in pass efficiency and is completing 55.8 percent of his passes.
Yellow Jacket junior Jonathan Dwyer, the 2008 ACC rushing champion, and Hokie freshman running back Ryan Williams, the 2009 ACC rushing leader, meet on Saturday.
Virginia Tech (1st) and Georgia Tech (3rd) are two of the most prolific scoring teams in the ACC. The Hokies (34.2 ppg) and the Yellow Jackets (33.2) combine to average more than 67 points per contest.
Georgia Tech (1st) and Virginia Tech (2nd) are the ACC’s top two rushing teams. The Yellow Jackets (277.0 ypg) and the Hokies (208.5) are the only teams in the league averaging more than 140 yards per game.
The Yellow Jackets (169.2) and Hokies (162.4) rank one-two, respectively, in the ACC in pass efficiency.
Quick Notes On The Jackets
Over the last three games, Tech has averaged 472.3 yards of total offense.
Tech has produced more than 300 yards of total offense in 10 of the last 11 games.
Georgia Tech has rushed for 400 yards in a game five times over the last 20 seasons. Four have come under Paul Johnson including the 401-yard effort at Florida State last Saturday.
Over the last three games combined, Georgia Tech’s time of possession has been 110:12, compared to 69:48 for its opponents.
Tech has scored eight first-half touchdowns over the last two games combined.
Apparently, the word is out on Tech’s Jerrard Tarrant, who returned punts for touchdowns in his first two collegiate games and was ranked second nationally in punt return average (26.7 ypa). In three of the last four games he has had no punt return attempts.
The Yellow Jackets are 5-of-5 on fourth-down conversions over the last three games.
Junior wide receiver Demaryius Thomas leads the ACC and ranks 15th nationally in receiving yards per game (103.3), and he’s the only ACC receiver averaging more than 100 yards per game.
Tech might not pass that often — 75 attempts in six games — but the Jackets average a remarkable 23.0 yards per completion and have completed five passes of 50 yards or longer.
Tech has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 17 of 19 games under Paul Johnson.
Tech is 11-1 under Johnson when taking a lead to the locker room at halftime.
Two players — true freshman defensive end Izaan Cross and sophomore linebacker Steven Sylvester — made their first career starts last week at Florida State.
Seven true freshmen have seen action in 2009 and three — Cross, linebacker Julian Burnett and wide receiver Stephen Hill — have started one game.
Every Georgia Tech point scored, interception and sack has been recorded by a non-senior.
Only three seniors are starters and only five seniors are listed on the Tech two-deep.
Nesbitt’s Numbers Soar As Season Progresses
Junior Josh Nesbitt may not put up gaudy passing numbers — that’s not his role — but he is the engine that drives Georgia Tech’s offense.
Among quarterbacks, he ranks second nationally in rushing (83.8 ypg).
At Florida State last week Nesbitt rushed for 140 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He also passed for 131 yards and a touchdown — the second time in his career he has passed and rushed for 100 yards.
Nesbitt’s three rushing touchdowns were the most allowed by Florida State since 1997.
He has rushed for 90 yards or more four times this season.
Nesbitt has been responsible for 20 plays of at least 20 yards, including 16 passes and four rushing attempts.
At Mississippi State (Oct. 3), Nesbitt completed 11-of-14 passes for a career-high 266 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 19.0 yards per attempt — easily Tech’s highest average per attempt in at least 20 years. Nesbitt’s 319 yards of total offense at Mississippi State were the most by a Yellow Jacket since 2005.
Against North Carolina (Sept. 26), Nesbitt rushed a career-high 32 times — the most by a Jacket since 2007 — for 97 yards and two TDs.
Sept. 10 against Clemson, Nesbitt threw a 39-yard strike to Demaryius Thomas, setting up a game-winning field goal.
Nesbitt ranks second in the ACC in pass efficiency (160.3), third in rushing (83.8 ypg) and seventh in total offense (224.3 ypg).
As a team, Tech ranks fourth nationally in rushing and fourth in pass efficiency.