2013 Virginia Tech Football: Georgia Tech Game Guide

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-0)

Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT
Date: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013
Place: Atlanta, Ga.
Stadium: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field
(Cap: 55,ooo, Open: 1913, Field: Grass)
TV: ESPN
Radio: VT IMG, XM 91, Sirius 91
Spread: Virginia Tech +7.5
Weather: High of 79, 10% Chance of Rain

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets won a pivotal conference game last time out against North Carolina in come-from-behind fashion, 28-20. Despite an early two-score hole, the Yellow Jackets railed off three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to win on the road. North Carolina scored on their first possession less than three minutes into the game on a Romar Morris run from 4 yards out, but a Tommy Hibbard failed two-point conversion limited the damage to six points. The Tarheels struck again with a half a minute left in the first on an Eric Ebron 19-yarder courtesy of Bryn Renner, lifting them to a 13-point lead. The Yellow Jackets finally got on the board four minutes into the second quarter on a 1-yard David Sims plunge to make it 13-7, but the Tar Heels answered on a 24-yard Byrn Renner pass to Sean Tapley to put the home team up 13 again. Undaunted, the Yellow Jackets pulled back within six by half on a 21-yard Vad Lee pass to Darren Waller with half a minute left in the first half. Midway through the third, the Jackets struck again, this time on a 1-yard Vad Lee plunge to take their first lead at 21-20. David Sims provided the insurance a minute into the fourth with a 6-yard run to make the final 28-20 in favor of the Yellow Jackets. Lee completed 7-12 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. Robert Godhigh led the Jackets on the ground with 100 yards on 9 carries. Georgia Tech racked up 428 yards, 324 of which on the ground, to North Carolina's 319.

Trends: Virginia Tech has won their last three games against Georgia Tech, including their last match up in last year's season-opener in Blacksburg. In that game, Tech dominated early, going up 7-0 and stuffing the Yellow Jackets offense. But after a mishandled punt snap by AJ Hughes, the Jackets got the ball on the Hokies' doorstep and tied it up early in the second quarter. That score would remain until early in the fourth when the Yellow Jackets connected on a field goal from 34 yards out. The Hokies answered midway through the fourth on a 42-yard bomb to Demitri Knowles, who made the catch despite being interfered with, to put the home Tech up 14-10. But the Jackets would use all but 44 seconds of the remaining clock, taking the lead on a 10-yard pass from Tevin Washington to Deon Hill. After some questionable play-calling, Corey Fuller saved the day, picking up 45 yards on two clutch receptions, and breaking tackles to get Cody Journell into field goal range. Journell hit the 41-yarder to atone for a prior miss as time expired to take it into overtime. Georgia Tech stalled on their first overtime possession, and on third down and under pressure, Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington just threw the ball up into the air instead of taking a sack, landing easily in the arms of Kyle Fuller. The Hokies took it to the 1-yard line to set up a game-winner for Cody Journell as the Hokies took it 20-17. Logan Thomas was 21-38 for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michael Holmes led the Hokies with 54 yards on the ground on 13 carries. Both Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller racked up 82 receiving yards.

History Lesson: The following information is all provided via Hokiesports.com. The Hokies lead the all-time series 7-3, are 3-2 against the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta and 7-3 against Georgia Tech under Frank Beamer (All 10 of the Hokies games against Georgia Tech have come under Beamer). The Hokies have won three games in a row against the Yellow Jackets, losing last in Atlanta in 2009. Beamer is 4-1 against Yellow Jackets' Head Coach Paul Johnson. The Hokies are 1-0 in the series when both teams are unranked. Virginia Tech lost the first game of the series in 1990 by the score of 6-3. The average score of the series is a 27-18 Virginia Tech advantage. Tech is 65-34-5 all-time in Thursday games. The Hokies are 19-7 all-time on ESPN's Thursday night football, including an 8-3 mark on the road and 4-0 vs. Georgia Tech. The winner of four of the last five games in the series won them time of possession battle, with the exception coming in 2012, when the Hokies lost time of possession but won the game (rankings data dates back to 1950, the earliest year of Hokiesports' poll of choice, the Coaches' Poll).

What to Expect

  • Georgia Tech runs the triple-option offense, primarily out of the Flexbone formation, and is almost exclusively a running team.
  • Defensively, the Yellow Jackets play out of the 3-4 4-3.
  • The Yellow Jackets rank No. 29 nationally in total offense with 484.7 yards per game. They are also scoring 45.3 points per game, which ranks No. 10 nationally.
  • Georgia Tech ranks No. 115 in passing offense with 139.3 yards per game through the air.
  • The Yellow Jackets rank No. 4 nationally with 345.3 yards per game on the ground.
  • Defensively, the Jackets are giving up 275.3 yards per game, good for No. 11 nationally. They also are ranked No. 12 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 11.3 points per game.
  • In rushing defense, Georgia Tech is No. 22 nationally, allowing only 107.3 yards per game. Through the air, they've allowed 168 yards per game, good for a No. 21 ranking in the nation.
  • Vad Lee has passed for 418 yards on 22-39 passing with 7 touchdowns and 1 interception so far this season. Lee also has 180 yards and 3 touchdowns on 52 carries.
  • Running back David Sims leads the team with 211 yards on the ground with 3 touchdowns.
  • The Yellow Jackets' passing game is too spread out and sporadic to analyze, but their leading receiver, DeAndre Smelter has 6 catches through 3 games for 100 yards.

Hokies Win If: They play assignment football, limiting the Yellow Jackets' big plays and have a pulse on offense.

Yellow Jackets Win If: They ground the Hokies offense and are able to keep big chunks of ball possession throughout the game.

Dot-dot-dots: The triple-overtime win over Marshall was win No. 700 for the program. The Hokies are one of only 15 teams in the FBS to have that many wins. Frank Beamer is in sixth place all-time in wins among FBS coaches with 261. He needs 38 more to pass Joe Paterno, who now stands at 298 wins after 111 wins were vacated from his record. Individually, Logan Thomas is now the all-time leading-passer in Virginia Tech history in both passing attempts (980) and completions (531). With the win over Marshall, Thomas moved into a tie with Michael Vick for third place all-time at Virginia Tech in wins for a quarterback with 21. He needs five more wins to move into a tie for second place all-time with Bryan Randall with 26 wins. Thomas also passed Bryan Randall for second all-time in passing yards in Virginia Tech history against ECU, now standing at 6,754 yards, just 263 yards behind Tyrod Taylor for first all-time (7,017 yards). Thomas now is only 155 yards behind (7,879) Bryan Randall (8,034) for second all-time in total yardage. In the win over Marshall, Thomas also moved into second all-time in rushing touchdowns among Virginia Tech quarterbacks, with 22, one behind Tyrod Taylor for first all-time. Thomas also has 41 passing touchdowns, good for fifth all time at Tech, just 7 behind Bryan Randall for the all-time record and 2 behind Will Furrer for fourth place. The Hokies are 8-6-1 all-time on September 26.

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