Sept. 21, 2012
By Jon Cooper
Georgia Tech completes its September gauntlet of ACC Coastal Division games this afternoon when it hosts the University of Miami. Kickoff at Bobby Dodd Stadium is scheduled for 3:09 p.m.
As with last weekend’s game against Virginia, the Yellow Jackets will be seeing red when they take Grant Field against the Hurricanes, But they actually have a bigger score to settle with the ‘Canes than they did against the Cavaliers. Miami sits at 1-0 in ACC play, and brings a three-game series winning streak into the game.
Head coach Paul Johnson believes there is a pattern that the Jackets need to break in order to turn the tide this time around. It’s all in the start.
“We haven’t gotten off to good starts and have gotten behind,” Johnson said at his Tuesday press conference. “Down there a year ago, we kind of ground it out and got back 14-7 on a long drive that took forever to get down there. In the last 50 seconds they scored again to go up 21-7 at the half after they ran the kickoff back. We tried to play catch up. It’s important that we get off to a good start.”
Johnson will take a start like last weekend. The Jackets not only scored touchdowns on their first three possessions but scored on their first, third and 11th offensive plays in jumping out to a 21-7 lead after 15 minutes on the way to a 56-20 pasting of Virginia. Orwin Smith rushed for 137 yards, 77 of them on a score on the second play of Tech’s second drive, while Tevin Washington ran for 93 yards and three touchdowns, and completed six of eight passes for 125 yards, including a 70-yard scoring pass to B-Back Zach Laskey on Tech’s first offensive play of the game. With the run virtually eliminated, Virginia managed only 98 yards on the ground. Tech also was strong against the pass, holding UVA QB Michael Rocco to 199 passing yards and picking him off twice.
The Hurricanes moved into the black for the season last week handily whipping Bethune-Cookman, 38-10, at Sun Life Stadium. Freshman running back Duke Johnson scored four touchdowns and accounted for 246 all-purpose yards in the victory.
The defense will be counted on to continue to come up big against a Miami team that Coach Johnson said is doing a lot right.
“They’re scoring 30 points a game. They’re doing that well,” he said. “I think their quarterback is completing about 60 percent of his throws, so they do that pretty well. Against Boston College they turned a lot of guys loose. They had some young guys playing. Don’t underestimate the kind of players that they’ll have. They’ll have as good of players as anybody we play.”
Here is some numerical info. to measure wind conditions for Saturday’s game.
The Series: Georgia Tech leads, 10-7
Current Streak: Miami, three straight
In Atlanta: Georgia Tech leads, 8-3
Last Meeting: Miami 24, No. 20 Georgia Tech 7, @ Miami, Oct. 22, 2011
40 – The number being worn this week by long snapper Tyler Morgan. The number had been worn by linebacker Julian Burnett, who was forced to stop playing due to injury. The number will be worn by a different Yellow Jacket every week in tribute. It was worn by redshirt senior defensive end T.J. Barnes in week one and by senior corner Rod Sweeting in week two and by quarterback Tevin Washington last week.
0 – The number of times in the 17-game series between Georgia Tech and Miami that the Yellow Jackets have lost four straight games. They enter today’s game on a three-game skid. The Jackets have put together a pair of four-game win streaks, doing so in meetings in 1970, ’75, ’77 and ’78 then as ACC rivals from 2005 through 2008.
0 – The number of points allowed by Georgia Tech in the second and third quarters in three games. They’ve outscored opponents 52-0, 24-0 in the second quarter, and 28-0 in the third. The Jackets have scored in every quarter this season but the third against Virginia Tech.
0 – The number of rushing touchdowns allowed by Georgia Tech’s defense this season.
2 – Georgia Tech’s rank in the ACC in scoring offense (44.0 points per game) and total offense (531.3 yards per game). Tech ranks 15th and 17th nationally in those categories.
3 – The number of different 100-yard rushers by Georgia Tech this season. They are the only ACC team to do that. Quarterback Vad Lee (101 yards) and B-Back Zach Laskey (116 ypg) topped the century mark against Presbyterian, while Orwin Smith made it three last week against Virginia, rushing for a team-season-high 137. Oddly, Tevin Washington, the team’s leading rusher, isn’t in the club yet, although he’s come close, running for 97 yards against P.C. and 93 against UVA.
4 – The number of plays over 70 yards by Georgia Tech this season — three of the four resulting in touchdowns. The Jackets are the only FBS team with that many 70-yard plays and have split them evenly, with two each coming on the ground (Vad Lee’s 79-yard run against Presbyterian, the only non-scoring play, and Smith’s 77-yarder against Virginia) and two through the air (Lee to Jeff Greene for 82 yards vs. the Blue Hose and Tevin Washington to Zach Laskey against the Cavaliers.
8 – The number of touchdown plays covering 30-or-more yards by Georgia Tech’s offense this season.
8 – The number of games in the series that have been decided by 10-or-fewer points. Georgia Tech likes those games, as they’ve won six straight and seven of eight such meetings.
22.8 – The number of yards Orwin Smith averaged per carry last week against Virginia. The explosive senior A-Back needed only six carries to run for his season-high 137 yards, 77 of them coming on a first-quarter TD run.
41 – The number of points the Yellow Jackets scored in their Nov. 20, 2008 victory over Miami at Bobby Dodd, the last time Georgia Tech got the better of Miami.
34 – The total number of points Georgia Tech has scored in their three meetings with Miami since 2008, during which they have gone 0-3 and been outscored 92-34.
46.4 – Quarterback Tevin Washington’s completion percentage in two previous games against Miami. Washington has completed 13 of 28 attempts with one TD pass and one interception.
67.6 – Washington’s completion percentage thus far in 2012. He has completed 23 of 34 attempts this season and is sitting at 50-percent completions for the first time in his career. His 146.1 pass efficiency rating is the second-highest in school history, trailing only Joe Hamilton’s 148.2.
84.3 – Washington’s rushing yards per game. That ranks second in the conference.
76 – The number of years since the Yellow Jackets last scored 50 points in back-to-back games. That year, head coach William Alexander’s squad beat Presbyterian, 55-0, then followed up by blanking Sewanee, 58-0. The streak ended the following week, when they put up 34 points on Kentucky, putting a 34-0 hurt on the Wildcats. All three games were played at home.
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4 – The number of years that Miami head coach Al Golden served as defensive coordinator at the University of Virginia for then-UVA head coach and current Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh. Golden was Groh’s D.C. from 2001 through 2004 then moved to secondary coach in 2005.
5 – The number of true freshmen that have started for Miami this season. They include running back Duke Johnson, wide receiver Malcolm Lewis, right tackle Ereck Flowers, and safety Deon Bush, all true freshmen, and linebacker Eddie Johnson, a redshirt freshman.
6 – The number of touchdowns scored by Duke Johnson. That total ranks third among FBS players, behind only Oregon sophomore running back De’Anthony Thomas and Fresno State senior running back Robbie Rouse. Johnson scored all four touchdowns last week, one of four players to score four TDs in a game this season. The outburst made Johnson the first Miami player to score four TDs in a game since Tyrone Moss did so against North Carolina on Oct. 29 2005.
14.5/33.3/214.3 – The yards per rush, yards per kickoff return and all-purpose yards per game for Johnson thus far in 2012. He has gained 253 rushing yards on 27 attempts (9.4 ypc) and has 305 yards on nine kickoff returns. He also has 85 yards on eight receptions (10.6). Johnson has 643 all-purpose yards in the three games.
6 – The number of scoring drives out of Miami’s total of 14 that required less than two minutes. Of those 14 drives only two have lasted longer than 3:30.
15 – The number of plays on the lone Miami scoring drive of 2012 that has required more than 10 plays and lasted more than 4:00. That drive, a 15-play, 62-yarder took 4:46 seconds in the third quarter of the opener at Boston College.
10 – The number of Miami defenders with at least 10 tackles. Redshirt junior defensive end Shayon Green leads the way with 23 (14 solo), followed by sophomore middle linebacker Denzell Perryman, who has 16, 13 solo, but leads the team in tackles for loss (3.0, and has one of the team’s two interceptions. Perryman was second in tackles for Miami in last year’s game, getting 6.5, with a game-high three of those for loss. He also had one of Miami’s two sacks.
14 – The number of different receivers that have caught a pass for Miami this year. Sophomore wide receiver Phillip Dorsett leads the team with 12 receptions, two fewer than he had all of 2011, while junior wide out Allen Hurns, who made the Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List, has a team-high 113 receiving yards on 10 catches.
17/14 – The number of freshmen and true freshmen that have seen action for Miami thus far in 2012.
57 – The combined number of consecutive successful field goals and PATs made by senior kicker Jake Wieclaw. On the preseason Lou Groza Award Watch List, Wieclaw, is 16-for-19 for his career and 5-for-5 on field goals this season, with a long of 32, made at Kansas State. His career high is 49 yards, made last season against Boston College. He made his final two tries of 2011, and hasn’t missed since the 2:21 mark of the third quarter of a 6-3 UM win at South Florida, last Nov. 19. Wieclaw is 11 for 11 on points-after and hasn’t missed in 50 attempts over two seasons.