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Georgia Tech (2-0) at Virginia Tech (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 13th, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field (66,233) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ABC. Home Record: Georgia Tech 1-0, Virginia Tech 1-1. Away Record: Georgia Tech 1-0, Virginia Tech 0-0. 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, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: ACC foes will collide in Blacksburg on Saturday, as the Virginia Tech Hokies welcome the undefeated Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to town. Georgia Tech opened the season with a 41-14 decision over Jacksonville State on August 28th. The Yellow Jackets experienced a major leap in competition level last weekend, facing Boston College on the road. Despite entering the contest as an underdog, Tech showed a great deal of toughness in earning a 19-16 victory over the Eagles. As for Virginia Tech, it got knocked off by a surprising East Carolina squad in the opener. Fortunately, a strong defensive effort enabled the Hokies to even their record, as they handled Furman last week by a 24-7 final. Still, this team does not look like an ACC title contender at this point, so a convincing performance is needed this weekend. Virginia Tech owns a 3-2 series edge over Georgia Tech, including a 27-3 victory over the Yellow Jackets last season.
Georgia Tech was far from explosive on offense in the victory over Boston College last Saturday, as the squad finished with only 12 first downs and 235 total yards. The passing game was nearly nonexistent, as Josh Nesbitt completed only 6-of-13 throws for 73 yards. Nesbitt was sacked twice, but he managed to avoid throwing an interception and rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts. The ground attack was spearheaded by Jonathan Dwyer, who finished with 108 yards and a score on 18 productive carries. Considering that Georgia Tech lost three fumbles in the contest, the team has to feel good about scoring a victory. Nesbitt has only completed 11-of-25 passes through two games and has yet to throw a touchdown pass. He does, however, have three scores on the ground to tie Dwyer for the team lead. Dwyer has rushed for 220 yards and is averaging 7.6 ypc. The club has rushed for 511 yards in two games and will likely rely on the run heavily this weekend.
Give a great deal of credit for Georgia Tech's victory last Saturday to the defense. The Yellow Jackets yielded only one touchdown and 262 total yards. They were tough against the run, as it took the Eagles 41 carries to reach 120 yards. As for the pass defense, Tech permitted only 18-of-36 throws to be completed and came up with a pair of interceptions. The Yellow Jackets also posted a fumble recovery in the clash and also came through with three sacks. Darryl Richard was a force, as he had three tackles for loss. Through two outings, Tech is surrendering only 15.0 ppg and 260.0 total ypg. The play against both the run and the pass has been outstanding, and with seven takeaways in eight quarters, the team has been opportunistic to say the least. Morgan Burnett has two interceptions to his credit, and Richard has four TFLs.
Virginia Tech was held scoreless in the first quarter by Furman and managed only a field goal in the second quarter. Fortunately, the Hokies produced three touchdowns in the third quarter, enough to secure the victory. First, Sean Glennon hit Kenny Lewis with a 10-yard touchdown pass. Then, on the next series, Lewis scampered 23 yards for another score. The third touchdown came on a three-yard plunge by Darren Evans. Still, it should be pointed out that two of the three touchdown drives accounted for 31 and nine yards, so it is hard to give the offense too much credit. Tyrod Taylor was expected to redshirt after Sean Glennon was named the starter. But after an ineffective opener by Glennon, Taylor and the team changed their mind about the redshirt option. Taylor played against Furman and did some damage with his legs, rushing for 112 yards on 14 carries. Lewis and Evans both have scored two rushing touchdowns this season.
Virginia Tech nearly posted a shutout against Furman, as the Paladins managed their only score of the game late in the fourth quarter. The Hokies surrendered only 34 rushing yards on 20 attempts, and they came up with a pair of takeaways in the clash. Virginia Tech did a great job of getting off the field after third down, as Furman was just 4-of-13 on conversion attempts. Stephan Virgil had a pair of TFLs and an interception to lead the defensive effort, and Orion Martin posted three TFLs. Tech allowed 27 points to East Carolina in the opener, and the defense allowed three touchdowns. The Pirates posted 369 yards against the Hokies.
Expect a close game from start to finish, and give a narrow edge to the Hokies. Neither team can pass, so expect this contest to come down to a battle of the lines. Homefield advantage will certainly help.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Tech 20, Georgia Tech 17
09/10 10:36:14 ET