Middle Tennessee (2-1) at Georgia Tech (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 12:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Atlanta, Georgia.
Television: RSN. Home Record: MT 1-1, GT 2-1. Away Record: MT 1-0, GT 0-1.
Neutral Record: MT 0-0, GT 0-0. Conference Record: MT 1-0, GT 1-2. Series
Record: Georgia Tech leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets take a break from their league
schedule on Saturday afternoon to host the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at
Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia Tech is coming off a 42-36 overtime loss to Miami last Saturday. The
Yellow Jackets have already played three ACC games, although they are just 1-2
in those contests. This weekend's tilt marks their fourth straight home game
in a stretch that will see the team play six of seven in Atlanta.
Middle Tennessee will have had two weeks to prepare for this game ever since a
48-30 triumph at Memphis on Sept. 15. The Blue Raiders have won two in a row
after opening the season with a home loss to McNeese State. They'll resume Sun
Belt Conference play next weekend at home against ULM.
Georgia Tech owns a 2-0 series advantage, which includes a 49-21 win at Middle
Tennessee last September.
Middle Tennessee's offense has picked up over the last two games, averaging
nearly 40 points in that span. One thing the Blue Raiders do particularly well
is protect the quarterback, as they are one of just three teams nationally to
have not allowed a sack so far this season (Air Force and Oklahoma State).
After ranking second nationally in fewest sacks allowed a year ago, MT has
picked up right where it left off despite four new starters up front. Logan
Kilgore took advantage of that ample time in the pocket against Memphis,
completing 22-of-30 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Wideout Anthony
Amos notched his second straight 100-yard receiving game, finishing with nine
catches and 128 yards -- both career-highs. Benny Cunningham paced the ground
attack with a team-high 57 yards and two TDs on 11 carries. The 48 points were
the most for MT since racking up 56 against Austin Peay in 2010.
MT's defense also got in on the fun against Memphis, forcing four turnovers.
The four takeaways were the most for the Blue Raiders since forcing six
against FAU last season. For the second consecutive week, they limited their
opponent to less than 100 rushing yards, which has not happened since 2009.
Memphis was held to just 74 yards on 33 rushing attempts. The Tigers found
some success against MT's secondary, as 325 of their 399 total yards came
through the air. MT must also do a better job of getting off the field, as the
Tigers were able to keep drives alive by converting 8-of-16 third downs and 3-
of-4 on fourth down. Khari Burke and Roderic Blunt shared team-high honors
with seven tackles. Each player recovered a fumble, while two of Blunt's stops
came behind the line of scrimmage.
Despite having lost in overtime for the second time already this season,
Georgia Tech's offense has been operating in high gear. The Yellow Jackets
enter the weekend ranked third nationally in rushing offense (352.3 ypg) and
13th in scoring (42.0 ppg). As a team, they are averaging a staggering 6.4
yards per rush. Quarterback Tevin Washington has operated the option game to
near perfection, averaging a team-best 75.0 rushing yards per tilt to go along
with a team-best seven rushing TDs. Nine different Yellow Jackets have already
scored at least once on the ground this season. Against Miami, Washington
threw for 132 yards and scored three times on the ground, but he was stopped
on fourth-and-inches on the first possession of overtime.
Just moments after that turnover on downs, Miami's Mike James scored untouched
on a 25-yard run to give the Hurricanes a wild win in overtime. By that point,
the Yellow Jackets defenders seemed to have the wind taken out of their sales.
Trailing 36-19, Miami quarterback Stephen Morris rallied his team all the way
back to force overtime, tossing a touchdown pass to James with 27 seconds to
play in regulation. All told, Morris torched the Tech secondary for 436 yards
through the air as Miami scored the game's final 23 points. GT allowed the
'Canes to convert an efficient 11-of-16 third downs to keep the chains moving.
This matchup will favor whichever defense is able to get stops and get off the
field. Both offenses can certainly move the ball, but Georgia Tech has a
distinct advantage playing at home with its clock-eating option game. In
addition, Middle Tennessee is just 2-9 in games played against ACC foes in its
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 38, Middle Tennessee 27
09/26 10:38:31 ET
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