Sept. 14, 2012
By Jon Cooper
– Georgia Tech faces its second interdivisional game of the young season this afternoon when the Cavaliers of University of Virginia come to town. Kickoff at Bobby Dodd Stadium is scheduled for 3:32 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets will have revenge on their minds, as the Cavs knocked 12th-ranked Tech from the ranks of the unbeaten last season, winning, 24-21. Head coach Paul Johnson expects to see a similar approach to last year from the Wahoos but hopes that this time around his responds differently.
The Series: Virginia leads, 17-16-1
In Atlanta: Georgia Tech leads, 13-7
Last Meeting: Virginia 24, No. 12 Georgia Tech 21, @ Virginia, Oct. 15, 2011
“Last year they ran flat over us. They rushed for 270 yards and kept the ball for most of the time,” said Johnson in his weekly press conference. “We’re used to winning the time of possession pretty handily. They did a good job of holding onto the ball last year, and staying on the field. So that will be a challenge. It’s a lot of the same guys up front, same running backs, so we’ll need to see if we can’t stop the run.”
The Jackets did pretty much whatever they wanted last week in a 59-3 victory over Presbyterian, which evened their season record at 1-1. Georgia Tech rolled up 712 yards of total offense, and saw eight different players score touchdowns. Redshirt freshman quarterback Vad Lee had a huge day, rushing for 101 yards, 79 of them on a third-quarter run, and passed for 82, all of them coming on a touchdown completion to wide receiver Jeff Greene. B-Back Zach Laskey rushed for a career-best 116 yards, 56 coming on a first-quarter touchdown run and quarterback Tevin Washington completed 7-of-11 passes for 161 yards, and rushed for a 58-yard score.
The Cavaliers are unbeaten in 2012, but are far from perfect. They come off a 17-16 home win over Penn State, in which they were not only had to beat the game Nittany Lions but their error-prone selves. UVA committed four turnovers but survived, thanks to its red zone defense and four missed field goals by Penn State kicker Sam Ficken.
Johnson knows that Virginia presents a much bigger challenge that Presbyterian with a lot more at stake, especially with one conference loss and Miami coming in next week.
“It’s a big game,” Johnson said. “I tell our guys all the time, from a conference standpoint, if you want to be in the conference race, you can’t lose conference games at home. We’ve got [Virginia] coming in, they’re 2-0 and flying high so it will be a challenge for us.”
The day also promises to be special, as Georgia Tech salutes the 1951 and ’52 teams. Both were coached by legendary coach Bobby Dodd, with the latter commemorating the 60th anniversary of its undefeated season and National Championship. A statue of Dodd was dedicated Friday afternoon.
Here are some numerical nuggets to serve as an hors d’oeuvre in preparation for this afternoon’s main course.
40 – The number being worn this week by quarterback Tevin Washington. 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 last week.
.700 – Georgia Tech’s winning percentage in 649 games at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Yellow Jackets are 444-184-21 all-time in the stadium, which hosts its 650th game today.
1 – Virginia’s national rank in 1990 when the Yellow Jackets went to Scott Stadium on Nov. 3, 1990 and came out with a, 41-38, victory. Georgia Tech went on to grab a share of the national championship.
1 – The difference in career rushing yardage among active ACC players between Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington (1,637 yards) and Virginia’s senior tailback Perry Jones (1,636). Both have their work cut out to catch the active leader, Clemson’s Andre Ellington, who begins play today with a 990-yard cushion.
2 – The number of stadiums that have been in existence longer than Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech’s home field since 1913. Those stadiums are Penn’s Franklin Field, which opened in 1895, and Harvard Stadium, which opened in 1903.
3 – The number of years Georgia Tech Offensive Line Coach Mike Sewak lettered on the offensive line for the University of Virginia. Sewak graduated in 1981.
5 – The number of times in the last seven meetings between the schools that the home team has come out victorious. The home losses came back to back, in 2008, a 24-17 home loss, then 2009, a 34-9 win at Scott Stadium. That win snapped an eight-game road losing streak following the 1990 upset.
7 – The number of tackles per game made by redshirt junior linebacker Brandon Watts in Tech’s first two games. Watts’ 14 tackles lead the team and put him one stop away from matching his total in 11 games last season. He is seven away from matching his career high set in 12 games in 2010.
8 – The career-high number of tackles made by Watts in the season-opener at Virginia Tech.
9 – The number of years Georgia Tech Defensive Coordinator Al Groh served as head coach of the Cavaliers. Groh compiled a 59-54 record for his alma mater, from 2001 and 2009, going 36-36 in ACC play. The Yellow Jackets were 3-6 against Groh-coached teams.
10 – The number of plays over 45 yards by Georgia Tech in the Paul Johnson era. All 10 have come in the last two years, with four of them coming last week.
10 – The career-high number of tackles by redshirt sophomore linebacker Quayshawn Nealy in last year’s game against Virginia. Nealy recorded four solo tackles and 1/2 a tackle-for-loss in the game.
11 – The number of career tackles by Rod Sweeting against Virginia. That’s the most against UVA among current Tech players.
21 – The number of wins for Paul Johnson in 32 ACC games. That’s a .636 winning percentage, 10th in the history of the league.
42.1 – The yards per punt by junior Sean Poole through two games. That’s 2.4 yards per punt more than he averaged last season, 2.2 yards more than his career average and would have ranked third in the ACC last season. Poole averaged 46.0 yards in the 2010 game against Virginia, with a long of 51 yards.
303.01 – Georgia Tech’s average rushing yards per game since 2008. The Jackets have run for 16,666 yards. in 55 games under Johnson.
272 – The number of rushing yards by both teams in last year’s game. Virginia out-gained Georgia Tech 407-296 in total yards.
358 – The number of seconds Virginia held the ball on the final drive of the game during which they ran out the clock. The Cavs ran 14 plays in the drive, gaining four of its five first downs on the ground.
1,759 – The number of rushing yards quarterback Tevin Washington will have once he gains his 58th rushing yard. That total move Washington past 1999 Heisman Trophy runner-up Joe Hamilton and into second place for the most career-rushing yards by a quarterback. Washington’s predecessor Joshua Nesbitt holds the record with 2,806 rushing yards.
10 Things To Know About the University of Virginia
– 4 – Virginia’s final turnover margin in last week’s game against Penn State.
-14/3 – The amount of yardage and number of points surrendered by the Cavaliers defense to the Nittany Lions following the miscues.
.371 – Virginia’s all-time winning percentage in road-opening games. The Cavaliers are 43-74-3 in their debut on the road although they snapped a five-game losing streak last season, topping Indiana, 34-31. UVA’s last season- and ACC-road opener was in 2002, a 40-19 loss to Florida State in Tallahassee. Their last win in an ACC road opener came in 2009, a 16-3 win at North Carolina.
2 – The number of BCS players last season that ran for at least 900 yards and caught at least 500 yards worth of passes. Senior tailback Perry Jones was one of them. Jones ran for 915 yards on 184 carries (5.0 yards per carry), while catching 48 passes for 506 yards (10.5 yards per catch). So far in 2012, Jones has 66 rushing yards on 22 carries and 38 yards on five catches. By the way, junior wide receiver Kenny Turner of New Mexico State (1,074 yards rushing, 514 yards receiving) was the other.
5/0 – The number of current Virginia defensive backs on NFL rosters and the number of upperclassmen currently starting in the defensive backfield for the Cavaliers. Junior free safety Rijo Walker is the only upperclassman among secondary listed on the roster. Sophomore corner Demetrious Nicholson leads the Cavaliers with four pass break-ups. They do not have an interception this season.
24.75 – The receiving average for Jake McGee last Saturday against Penn State. The sophomore tight end caught four passes for 99 yards, including the game-winning six-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 to play. McGee’s other three receptions went for 26, 23 and 44 yards. While it shouldn’t be surprising to find out that all three catches resulted in first downs, the plays on which he made those catches were second and 15, third and 20 and third and 16. The touchdown came on third and goal.
52.0 – The average yardage per touchdown for sophomore wide receiver Darius Jennings. Jennings scored his second career touchdown in UVA’s opener against Richmond, connecting on a 51-yard play with quarterback Michael Rocco. Jennings and Rocco previously hooked up on a 53-yard play last Oct. 27th against Miami at Sun Life Stadium in the Cavs’ 28-21 victory. Both plays came in the first quarter. So far, Jennings leads the team with 10 catches for 152 yards, catching five passes in each game.
65.7 – Junior quarterback Michael Rocco’s completion percentage thus far in 2012. Rocco was at his best in the fourth quarter against Penn State, completing all six pass attempts for 97 yards on the game-winning drive, including going 4-for-4 on third down. He capped capping with a six-yard TD pass to Jake McGee. Rocco enters the game 12th all-time in school history in passing yards, with 3,383 yards. He’s six yards away from moving past Scott Secules into 11th place.
99 – Virginia’s current rank nationally in rushing. They’re ninth in the ACC. The Cavaliers have run for 108 yards per game and gained only 32 rushing yards on 25 carries against Penn State, a 1.28 yards per carry average. Sophomore tailback Kevin Parks had 26 yards on nine carries, while Perry Jones managed 14 in eight attempts vs. PSU.
273 – The number of tackles for senior middle linebacker Steve Greer. That’s 20th all-time on the school career tackles list and second among active ACC players. Greer, who averages 7.2 tackles per game, is only two behind Bryan Holomon (1978-81) for 19th in Virginia history and is four behind Maryland senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield for the lead among active ACC players. He chalked up his eighth 10-plus-tackles game last week, with 15 stops, has both of the team’s sacks on the season and 3.5 of the eight TFLs.