Virginia Tech Hokies (5-1, 3-0) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-1, 3-1)
Time: 6 p.m. EDT
Date: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009
Place: Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field (55,000), Atlanta, Ga.
TV: ESPN2 (DirecTV 209)
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets enter the game 5-1 overall and 3-1 in league play ... their only loss of the season came in Week 3 at Miami, 33-17 ... last week, Georgia Tech went to Tallahassee and won shootout with Florida State, 49-44 ... Josh Nesbitt threw for 131 yards and a TD and ran for 140 yards and three TDs in that game ... this season Nesbitt has carried the ball 128 times (most on the team) for 503 yards and six touchdowns ... Jonathan Dwyer leads the team in rushing yards with 511 on 79 carries and five touchdowns ... Anthony Allen is averaging an incredible 11.8 yards per carry to lead the Jackets ... Georgia Tech's defense is giving up 4.1 yards per carry and 8.6 yards per pass in four ACC games ... in three home games, the Jackets have allowed 2.8 ypc and 6.2 ypa ... in three road games they've allowed 5.4 ypc and 10.0 ypa.
Trends: The Hokies have won five consecutive games since losing their season opener to Alabama ... including last year's ACCCG, Virginia Tech has won six consecutive games against ACC opponents ... the Hokies' win at Duke two weeks ago snapped a three-game road conference losing streak ... the Hokies are 5-1 in their last six games against ranked teams ... Virginia Tech is 19-3 against Coastal Division opponents since the ACC started division play in 2005 ... Georgia Tech has won three consecutive games since losing at Miami in Week 3 ... the Yellow Jackets have won five consecutive home games and are 5-1 in conference home games under Paul Johnson.
History Lesson: The Hokies are 4-2 all-time against the Yellow Jackets, including 2-1 in Atlanta ... the teams' only non-conference meeting came in 1990 when Virginia Tech lost in Atlanta, 6-3 when the Hokies were unranked and the Yellow Jackets were No. 7 ... Georgia Tech's last win in the series came in 2006 in Blacksburg when the Yellow Jackets beat the Hokies 38-27 on the strength of Calvin Johnson's 115 receiving yards and two touchdowns ... the Hokies won the last time the two teams met in Atlanta, 27-3 on a Thursday night ... The Hokies piled up 481 total yards of offense in that game as Sean Glennon threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns in an old Georgia Tech game jersey after several Hokie uniforms came up missing prior to the game.
What to Expect:
- Yes, the Yellow Jackets' defense struggled last week against Florida State. But it's a completely different unit when it plays at home. I expect the Jacket defense to preserve some pride and be ready to play this Saturday against the Hokies.
- Expect big plays. The Jackets will get theirs. It will just be up to the Hokies to shake it off and move on to the next drive. Against such an explosive offense like the one Georgia Tech runs, it's important to keep your composure despite giving up long runs.
- Expect more passing plays from Georgia Tech this year. Nesbitt struggled early with the passing game, but it's really come together for the Jackets in the last couple weeks. Bey-Bey Thomas is a big receiver with a high top speed. When left on an island, he will present match-up problems for the Hokies' cornerbacks.
- Expect Tyrod Taylor to be pressured. The Jackets have a good pass rush, led by Derrick Morgan, who has 6.5 sacks this year, 4.5 in league play. A key for the Hokies will be getting good yardage on first down to avoid passing downs and keeping Tyrod upright against the rush. The Jackets' pass rush has been much better at home than on the road.
- Expect a helluva game. The chess match between Bud Foster and Paul Johnson is the game within the game, but it will be equally important for the Hokies to match the Jackets when the defense gives up big plays. Bryan Stinespring and Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Dave Wommack have been the berated by their fan bases this year. But if one can beat the other consistently, that could be the difference in the game.
Hokies Win If: They get a good game from Taylor and Ryan Williams on the ground and stay the course after giving up big plays to the Jacket offense.
Yellow Jackets Win If: They're offense plays like it did against Florida State and they're defense plays like it did against Clemson, coming up with big stops when it mattered.
Dot-dot-dots: The Hokies are giving up 6.0 yards per play in two games away from Lane Stadium and 4.0 ypp in four home games this year ... in the first three games of the year, the Hokies allowed a rusher to go over 100 yards ... in those games, Tech gave up 5.6 ypc with sacks taken out ... in the last three games of the year, no one has run for more than 55 yards against the Hokies ... in those games, Tech gave up 2.6 ypc with sacks taken out ... the Hokies had three sacks for 11 yards in the first three games of the year and nine sacks for 75 yards in the last three games ... Tyrod Taylor has thrown for a touchdown in each of his last five games (eight total) ... he has averaged more than 10 ypa in his last three games.
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