Nov. 2, 2012
HOW TO WATCH IT
For just the third time this season, Georgia Tech is on the road with a Saturday date versus Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. and the game can be seen live on the ACC Network (check your local listing for channel in your area). Mike Hogewood will call the action with former Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner providing anaylsis and Steve Byrnes handling the sidelines. ESPN3 will also carry the game live, but will black it out inside the ACC footprint.
HOW TO HEAR IT
As always, you can hear Wes Durham and Rick Strom on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network – in Atlanta on 790AM and 106.7FM, on Sirius Channel 132, XM 193, or check the radio affiliate list.
Be sure to follow @gtathletics for in-game updates on Twitter and use the hashtag #GTMD12 for in-game discussion. Like Georgia Tech Athletics on Facebook for photos and more from Saturday’s game.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Playing QB for Maryland may be hazardous to one’s health. An unprecedented rash of injuries has struck the Terrapin program at the quarterback position, forcing Maryland to put the ball in the hands of a true freshman linebacker for Saturday’s game. Four quarterbacks have already been lost to season-ending injuries, so true freshman Shawn Petty will be tasked with both staying healthy, and trying to beat the Yellow Jackets. A hometown product of Greenbelt, Md., Petty played both sides of the ball in high school and threw for 1,300 yards and 15 TDs, while rushing for 550 yards and 10 scores out of an option offense. Fellow true freshman Brian McMahon will back him up.
2. It makes sense that turtles don’t let you run. For the second time in as many weeks, Georgia Tech faces a team that is stingy on defense. The Terps bring the nation’s fourth-best rushing defense (77.6 ypg) into the contest, are seventh nationally in total defense (289.3 ypg) and have held their last two opponents to less than 50 yards on the ground. Defensive lineman Joe Vellano, who recorded 20 tackles (yes, 20 tackles), in last year’s 21-16 loss at Tech, leads the ACC and is tied for ninth nationally with 1.75 tackles per game.
3. The Golden boy. Sophomore return specialist Jamal Golden continues to make his mark on Tech’s special teams. Golden, who took over as the Wetumka (Ala.) High School quarterback following the graduation of current Tech QB Tevin Washington, is leading the ACC and ranked 15th nationally in kick return average (28.1 ypr). Last week, the speedster rolled up 174 yards in kickoff returns including a dazzling 97-yarder for touchdown. He would rank fourth in the ACC in punt return yards (16.0 ypr), but does not have enough returns to qualify.
4. Take your pick. Georgia Tech has recorded at least one interception in seven consecutive games, and the team’s nine interceptions this season rank fourth in the ACC and 33rd nationally. Eight Jackets share the team’s nine picks, with only junior Jemea Thomas having two. Last week, junior Isaiah Johnson recorded his second career Pick-6 when he intercepted BYU QB Riley Nelson and brought it back 22 yards for the score. Tech is +39 this season in points-off-turnover scoring.
5. Number change. Senior T.J. Barnes will not be wearing his traditional No. 90 jersey this week. Instead, look for Barnes to wear No. 40 as the Yellow Jacket continue to rotate the No. 40 jersey in honor of Julian Burnett, whose promising football career was cut short because of an injury last season.
THEY SAID IT
“Well you try to make your educated guess. They’re not going to be able to get too far away from what they do in three days. So you try and figure what you would do if you were them. To me, if you’re as good as they are defensively; you’re going to be real conservative to make sure you don’t lose the game on offense trying to do something the guy can’t do. I fully expect that we’ll get a real dose of them trying to run the ball.”
–Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson on what Maryland may do offensively
“So he’s telling me to slow it down. Look, it’s not your responsibility to be on the front line, trying to stop them. He’s just saying, `You’re a safety. You’re the last line of defense. Just make sure nothing gets behind you.'”
–Georgia Tech junior S Isaiah Johnson on instructions he’s received from interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly
“I just think sometimes when you have young guys out there playing who don’t have a ton of experience, what happens is they get put into some situations where they may not have seen it. It might be the first time.”
–Maryland coach Randy Edsall
STAT(S) OF THE WEEK
**Georgia Tech has allowed just one sack over the last three games, but on Saturday it will face two Terrapins who rank in the top five in the ACC in sacks – Darin Drakeford (0.75 sacks per game) and Joe Vellano (0.62).
**Both the Terrapins (31:42) and the Yellow Jackets (31:24) rank among the ACC leaders in time of possession.
**Tech is just 2-3 in ACC play, but has held a fourth-quarter lead in all five conference games this season.