FACTS & STATS: Site: Lane Stadium (66,632) — Blacksburg, Virginia.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: Georgia Tech 2-0, Virginia Tech 1-1. Away
Record: Georgia Tech 1-0, Virginia Tech 1-0. Neutral Record: Georgia Tech 0-0,
Virginia Tech 0-0. Conference Record: Georgia Tech 0-0, Virginia Tech 0-0.
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 8-3.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Virginia Tech Hokies will open
up their ACC schedules against one another on Saturday afternoon at Lane
Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets have begun the 2014 campaign with three straight
victories, topping Wofford (38-19), Tulane (38-21) and most recently, Georgia
Southern (42-38). With the win over the Eagles last week, Georgia Tech is now
the only FBS program in the state of Georgia still sporting a flawless record
after three weeks.
Frank Beamer’s Hokies had a shot at moving to 3-0 on the season as well last
week. One week after recording a huge road win at nationally-ranked Ohio State
(35-21), Virginia Tech inexplicably fell to the East Carolina Pirates in
The Hokies hold an 8-3 series advantage with the Yellow Jackets, thanks to
last year’s 17-10 decision in Atlanta. Virginia Tech has won four of the five
previous meetings at home.
It certainly didn’t come easy, but Georgia Tech earned a four-point win thanks
to a touchdown pass from Justin Thomas to Deon Hill with just 23 seconds
remaining in the game. Offense wasn’t hard to come by against the Eagles, as
Tech churned out 536 total yards, including a hefty 348 on the ground.
Thomas was masterful in the win, rushing for 137 yards and one TD, while
throwing four 188 yards and four TDs.
Thomas’ success throwing the football was a little surprising as Georgia Tech
still employs a run-heavy offense. The team is netting 306.0 yards per game on
the ground, averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
Thomas doesn’t throw often, but has completed over 53 percent of his passes,
with six TDs against just one INT thus far. His top target has been DeAndre
Smelter, who has just nine catches, but they have resulted in 238 yards and
Live by the run and die by the run has been the motto for Georgia Tech in the
early stages, as foes are also finding great success running the football. The
Yellow Jackets are allowing 216.7 yards per game, a number inflated by the 283
yards relinquished to Georgia Southern last week.
Senior linebacker Quayshawn Nealy leads the team with 18 stops, with one TFL
and one interception. Sophomore linebacker Paul Davis is a close second with
17 total tackles.
The Hokies trailed 21-0 after one quarter against East Carolina, but battled
back to tie things at 21-21 late, before giving up a touchdown run by ECU
quarterback Shane Carder with just 16 seconds left on the clock to lose the
Virginia Tech signal caller Michael Brewer held his own in the showdown with
ECU’s veteran gun slinger, throwing for 298 yards and three TDs in the loss.
The Hokies have utilized a balanced attack this season, averaging just over
400 yards per game, with 146.0 coming via the run and 254.3 through the air.
Brewer has completed 62.3 percent of his passes, for 748 yards and seven TDs,
but he has been guilty of five interceptions in the first three games. Four
players already have do less
than 1,000 yards of total offense. Tcenter of the rushing attack, piling up a le
leading 399 yards and four scores on 58 carries.
USF’s 1-2 start has come as a result of weak defensive play as well. The Bulls
have surrendered twice as many first downs (74) as they have gained, while
letting up an average of 453.3 yards per game. Applying pressure in the
backfield has not been the problem, as the team has registered eight sacks and
15 tackles for loss, as well as having forced 10 turnovers.
Nigel Harris, Reshard Cliett and Demetrius Hall are tied for the team lead
with two sacks apiece, while Jamie Byrd (25 tackles) leads the club in total
tackles. Harris has also eclipsed the 20-stop mark (21).
With such offensive deficiency on both sides, it’s easy to envision another
low-scoring duel on Friday night. The Bulls have just a few more bright spots
with Mack, and a defense that has at least played opportunistically. That
gives them a narrow edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 14, Connecticut 13