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Thursday Night Showdown on The Flats

Nov. 9, 2015

GameDay Central • 2015 Info Guide • Season Statistics • Game Notes • Depth Chart
TV: ESPN | Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM / GT Radio Network | Satellite: Sirius / XM 84 (GT broadcast)

THE FLATS – Two teams that have combined for nine of the 10 ACC Coastal Division titles meet in prime time when Georgia Tech welcomes Virginia Tech Thursday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Georgia Tech will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its 1990 National Championship on Thursday night. The game is live on ESPN, and can be heard on the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Network, locally on 680 The Fan and 93.7 FM.

• The 2015 season marks the 25th anniversary of Georgia Tech’s 1990 National Championship and that team will be honored at halftime of Thursday’s game. More than 110 players, coaches and staff from the 1990 team will be in attendance including head coach Bobby Ross, assistant coaches Ralph Friedgen and George O’Leary, quarterback Shawn Jones and kicker Scott Sisson.
• Georgia Tech (four times) and Virginia Tech (five times) join Duke (once) as the only teams to win the Coastal Division since divisional play began in 2005. The Jackets have won it two of the last three years.
• The game marks Georgia Tech’s 31st all-time appearance on ESPN’s Thursday Night package and its 23rd home game — both lead the NCAA. The Jackets and Hokies are the two most-frequent teams to appear overall on ESPN’s Thursday Night Football since the package began in 1991 with Thursday being GT’s 31st game and VT’s 30th.
• Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech own two of the nation’s longest active bowl streaks with the Hokies at 22 consecutive years (longest) and the Jackets at 18 straight years (second-longest).
• Georgia Tech has scored 20+ points in 19 consecutive ACC games dating back to 2013 — the longest active streak in the ACC and the second-longest in the Power-5 behind Ohio State’s 37-game streak.
• The Jackets rank third nationally in Red Zone TD percentage, converting 78.9% of their Red Zone possessions into touchdowns. Defensively, Georgia Tech is allowing a Red Zone touchdown just 56% of the time.
• Through nine games, Georgia Tech remains among the least penalized teams in the nation. The Yellow Jackets are averaging just 3.6 penalties (tied for first in the FBS) and 31.7 penalty yards per game (second).
• Georgia Tech is top-10 nationally in rushing plays of 10+ yards (72, 9th), 20+ yards (22, 9th), 30+ yards (13, 5th) and 40+ yards (11, 2nd) and 50+ yards (6, 3rd).
• The Yellow Jackets are 8-3 in their 11 games against teams that have more than a week to prepare.
• Senior DB Chris Milton is the FBS’s active career leader with seven blocked kicks. Georgia Tech has blocked 14 kicks since 2013 — the most in the FBS. Two of Milton’s seven career blocked kicks have come this season.

• Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will meet for the 13th time overall and the seventh time in Atlanta.
• It is the sixth time that the Yellow Jackets and Hokies clash on a Thursday night. The teams played on Thursday nights in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
• Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 8-4 and holds a 4-2 lead in Atlanta.

• In addition to five previous Thursday Night games, the teams opened the 2012 season on Labor Day night in Blacksburg, and were scheduled to play on Labor Day night in 2000 — but that game was cancelled by weather (the infamous game in which Lee Corso’s car was struck by lightning).
• The Yellow Jackets snapped a four-game skid against the Hokies with a 27-24 win in 2014 in Blacksburg after Harrison Butker nailed a 24-yard field goal as time expired on Sept. 20.
• Head coach Paul Johnson is 2-5 all-time vs. the Hokies.
Paul Johnson and Frank Beamer are two of the winningest active Power-5 head coaches. Beamer is first with 277 wins while Johnson is seventh with 168 wins.
• When Beamer retires at the end of the season, Johnson and Duke’s David Cutcliffe will become the ACC’s longest tenured head coaches.
• The two teams first met during 1990 and Georgia Tech registered a 6-3 victory on its way to its National Championship.

• Virginia Tech’s associate head coach and running backs coach Shane Beamer was a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech for the 2000 season. Beamer was the cornerbacks coach at South Carolina in 2008, the same season Ray Rychleski was the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach for the Gamecocks.
• Georgia Tech’s defensive line coach Mike Pelton was the defensive line coach at Auburn from 2011-12 while Virginia Tech’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler held the same position at Auburn in 2012.
• Georgia Tech has one on its roster from Virginia – redshirt senior offensive lineman Tim Seager, who is a native of Blacksburg, Va., and attended Blacksburg HS.
• Virginia Tech has three on its roster from Georgia – redshirt sophomore cornerback Brandon Facyson (Newnan/Northgate), redshirt freshman placekicker Michael Santamaria (Athens/Athens Academy) and freshman offensive lineman D’Andre Plantin (Norcross/Norcross).
• Georgia Tech’s Tim Seager and Virginia Tech’s Zack Treser both attended Blacksburg High School.
• The Yellow Jackets’ Clinton Lynch and Hokies’ D’Andre Plantin are graduates from Norcross High School in Norcross, Ga.
• Georgia Tech’s Lynn Griffin and Victor Alexander attended Trinity Christian in Jacksonville, Fla., with Virginia Tech’s Isaiah Ford.
• The Yellow Jackets’ Step Durham and the Hokies’ Chris Cunningham are both graduates of Atlantic Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla.
Rod Rook-Chungong of Georgia Tech attended our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney, Md., along with Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller, Darius Fullwood and C.J. Carroll.

• Georgia Tech has scored 20+ points in 19 straight ACC games, which is the conference’s longest active streak by a wide margin.
• The Yellow Jackets’ streak began in 2013, following a 17-10 setback versus Virginia Tech.
• No other league team owns a current streak that extends beyond this season. Only Ohio State’s streak of scoring 20+ points in 27 straight Big Ten games is longer among Power 5 programs.
• Tech has scored less than 20 points just 10 times in the 62 conference games (16%) under Paul Johnson — seven of those came during Johnson’s first three seasons on The Flats.

• Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech have been regular guests on ESPN’s Thursday Night Football, since the network began the package in 1991.
• Thursday’s game marks the 31st all-time appearance for the Yellow Jackets and the 30th for the Hokies — which rank first and second nationally.
• Thursday also marks the Yellow Jackets’ 23rd Thursday Night home game to air on ESPN, which also leads the nation.
• Georgia Tech has played in at least one weeknight, prime time game on ESPN in every year but one since 1994 — did not play one last season.

• One myth of Paul Johnson’s spread option offense is that it can be neutralized when teams have more than one week to prep for it.
• The Jackets have helped bust that myth recently and are 8-3 over the last 11 games against played against teams that have had more than seven days of preparation.
• Tech has won three of its last four versus those teams.
• The Hokies, like the Jackets, are coming off a bye.
• Two of those three wins have come in bowl games versus teams ranked No. 1 at some point during that season — USC in the 2012 Sun Bowl and Mississippi State in last year’s Orange Bowl.

• Redshirt freshman A-back Clinton Lynch enjoyed a career game at Virginia, which highlighted the emergence of Lynch within Tech’s spread option offense.
• Lynch scored all three of Tech’s touchdowns — all on big plays: a 49-yard rush, a 30-yard catch and a 22-yard catch.
• The Norcoss, Ga., native is tied for second on the team with six total touchdowns this year, and has also rushed for a two-point conversion (at Notre Dame).
• His 304 all-purpose yards over the last four games (185 rush, 119 receive) are second only to Marcus Marshall’s 316 yards. His four touchdowns over the last four games leads the team.

• With 31 career TD passes, Justin Thomas ranks sixth on the Yellow Jackets’ all-time list. He needs two more to overtake Eddie McAshan (1970-72) in fifth (32).
• In the Virginia game, Thomas became just the 11th quarterback in school history to pass for 3,000 career yards. With 3,016 yards passing, he stands 11th on Tech’s all-time list.
• His 3,016 career passing yards puts him 13th on Tech’s all-time list. He’ll need 5 yards to pass Kim King (1965-67) in 12th and 503 yards to crack Tech’s top 10.

• Senior safety and kick return specialist Jamal Golden earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Walter Camp Foundation this week, and was also the ACC Defensive Back of the Week.
• Golden becomes the first Tech player to earn the honor after his nine-tackle, one-interception effort versus Florida State. Golden led all tacklers and his INT in the end zone was a crucial play late in the fourth quarter that kept FSU within striking distance.
• That interception was the first turnover by Florida State this season.
• Golden is tied for the ACC’s active career lead with eight interceptions.

• The Jackets tied for the FBS lead last season by blocking six kicks — two punts, two field goals and two extra-point attempts — and since 2013, no team in the FBS has more blocked kicks than Tech’s 14.
• Senior Chris Milton has seven of Tech’s 13 since 2013, including his fifth career blocked punt against UNC. He led the FBS with three blocked punts in 2013.
• Milton is the active career leader in the FBS in blocks with seven, while senior teammate Adam Gotsis has swatted four kicks in his career, which also ranks among the NCAA’s active career leaders.
• Tech’s 14 blocked kicks since 2013 are the most by any team in the FBS over that span.

• The Yellow Jacket defense was equal opportunity when it came to interceptions last season as 10 different players shared the team’s 18 interceptions.
• Five different players each returned an interception for a touchdown.
• Returning seniors — safety Jamal Golden and cornerback D.J. White — each collected four picks and each had a pick-6. White’s came in a win at NC State and Golden’s in a win over Clemson.


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