Sept. 8, 2008
Yellow Jackets Take 2-0 Record To Blacksburg For Battle Of Techs
After rallying in the fourth quarter to beat 2007 Atlantic Division champion Boston College 19-16 in the ACC opener last Saturday, unbeaten Georgia Tech now faces its biggest test of the young season when it plays at 2007 Coastal Division champion Virginia Tech Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. (3:30 p.m./ABC).
Georgia Tech, 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the ACC, erased a 16-10 fourth-quarter deficit last week at Boston College when Vance Walker tackled BC quarterback Chris Crane in the endzone for a safety and Jonathan Dwyer broke loose for a 43-yard touchdown run. The Yellow Jacket defense, meanwhile, limited the Eagles to 60 yards of total offense in the second half.
Virginia Tech, 1-1, rebounded from a season-opening loss to East Carolina by beating visiting Furman, 24-7, last Saturday. The Hokies overcame a slow start to score three touchdowns in a two-and-a-half minute span midway through the third quarter to put the Paladins away. Sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who split playing time with Sean Glennon, ran for 112 yards on 14 carries.
Saturday’s game is the ACC opener for the Hokies — the second straight week Georgia Tech will play on the road against a team playing its ACC opener.
Virginia Tech leads the all-time series, 3-2, including a 27-3 victory over the Yellow Jackets last season in Atlanta. More on that game on page four.
– Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson is the first Yellow Jacket head coach to win in his first ACC game.
– The Yellow Jackets are attempting to open ACC play 2-0 for just the second time in the last 10 seasons.
– Of the 44 players listed on Georgia Tech’s two-deep, 26 are freshmen or sophomores.
– Neither Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech is ranked in the top 25, but both teams are receiving votes for both major national polls.
Balanced Defense Impressive In Early-Going
Georgia Tech’s defense, anchored by three senior linemen, not only kept the Yellow Jackets in the game last Saturday at Boston College, but also scored its first points of the season. Tech held the Eagles to just 60 total yards in the second half and kept BC off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, allowing the Jackets to overcome a 16-10 fourth-quarter deficit for a 19-16 victory. More on the Tech defense:
– The Yellow Jacket defense recorded a fourth-quarter safety when senior tackle Vance Walker tackled BC quarterback Chris Crane in the end zone. It was Tech’s first safety since Dec. 21, 2004 when Darryl Richard recorded a safety against Syracuse in the Champs Sports Bowl.
– Three Georgia Tech fumbles in the first half gave Boston College terrific field position, but the Eagles settled for three first-half field goals.
– Tech’s defensive effort against BC was even more impressive considering two starting linebackers — sophomores Anthony Barnes and Brad Jefferson — did not play because of injury. In their place, redshirt freshman Kyle Jackson moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker and senior Tony Clark and junior Sedric Griffin made their first career start.
– Two true freshmen — safety Cooper Taylor and cornerback Rashaad Reid — are emerging as key components. Taylor had six tackles against Boston College and Reid hauled in his first career interception.
– Georgia Tech ranks in the top 30 nationally in pass defense (25th), scoring defense (27th) and total defense (29th).
– The Yellow Jackets have done a good job in the early going of forcing turnovers. They rank in the top 10 nationally in turnovers gained (6th), passes intercepted (7th) and fumbles recovered (10th).
– Sophomore Derrick Morgan leads the ACC in sacks (2.5), senior Darryl Richard leads in tackles-for-loss (4) and sophomore Morgan Burnett is tied for first in passes broken-up (3).
A Quick Look At Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech, the preseason favorite to win the ACC’s Coastal Division, rebounded from a surprising 27-22 loss to East Carolina to open the season by whipping visiting Furman, 24-7, Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.
The Hokies used the quarterback tandem of veteran Sean Glennon, the player of the game in last year’s 27-3 win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and sophomore Tyrod Taylor, who rushed for 112 yards on 14 carries last week against Furman.
Virginia Tech’s defense had a solid performance last week against Furman, holding the Paladins to just 31 total yards in the first half.
Hokie tailback Kenny Lewis already has three touchdowns this season and is averaging 106 yards of all-purpose yards per game. Redshirt freshman Darren Evans had 72 yards on 11 carries against Furman.
Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech Series History
– Virginia Tech leads the all-time series, 3-2.
– The Hokies won last year’s meeting, 27-3, in Atlanta on Thursday night, November 1st.
– The last meeting in Blacksburg — Sept. 30, 2006 — resulted in a 38-27 Georgia Tech victory.
– The Yellow Jackets are 1-1 all-time in Blacksburg.
– Saturday’s game should be the fourth all-time meeting in Blacksburg, but the 2000 game — the season-opener for both schools on Aug. 27 — was cancelled because of bad weather.
– The previous two meetings have resulted in a combined 123 points. The Hokies routed Georgia Tech, 51-7, in Blacksburg in 2005, and Tech won at Lane Stadium in 2006, 38-27.
– Only the very first meeting between the two teams — a 6-3 Yellow Jacket victory in Atlanta in 1990 — was decided by less than 10 points.
– At least one of the two teams have been nationally-ranked entering the game in all five previous meetings. In 2006, both teams were ranked in the AP top 25.
– First-year Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has never coached against Virginia Tech.
– Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is 3-2 all-time against Georgia Tech.
Mario Edwards Returning To Blacksburg
Georgia Tech defensive back Mario Edwards is in a unique situation this week. He’ll be playing against the team he played for last season. Edwards, who played in four games for the Hokies in 2007, transferred to Georgia Tech this summer. Because of a health-related situation involving a family member, it was necessary for him to be close to his home of College Park, Ga. He received a special exemption from the NCAA and ACC to play this season.