(12) Georgia Tech (6-0) at Virginia (3-2)|
Saturday, October 15th, 3:30 p.m. (et)
From The Sports Network
By Roman Stubbs, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The 12th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will test their
perfect record in Charlottesville this weekend, meeting the Virginia
Cavaliers in an ACC clash.
Georgia Tech had to hold off a late Maryland rally last weekend in order to
stay perfect, winning 21-16. The 6-0 start is the school's best since the 1966
season, and ensures that the Yellow Jackets play in a bowl for the 15th
consecutive year. Georgia Tech has also won 10 of its last 12 against ACC
Atlantic Division opponents.
"To accomplish something that hasn't been done since 1966 (starting 6-0)
certainly speaks volumes to those guys," said Georgia Tech head coach Paul
Johnson at his weekly press conference this week. "Going up to Charlottesville
is always a challenge, (it's a) tough place to play. They're 3-2 this season,
but I think their two losses have come to two teams that are a combined 10 and
Virginia meanwhile, is coming off a bye after beating Idaho in overtime on
October 1st. It was a quality outing for the Cavaliers, who overcame three
turnovers and outgained the Vandals by 200 yards. Virginia will host NC State
on October 22nd, then travel to Miami for a Thursday night matchup with the
Hurricanes on October 27th.
The series between Georgia Tech and Virginia is tied at 16-16-1.
Tevin Washington made his 10th consecutive start last weekend against
Maryland, and rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Washington
continues to direct one of the nation's most efficient offenses. Georgia Tech
is fourth nationally in total offense (553.5), fourth in rushing offense
(360.5), sixth in scoring offense (46.5) and second in passing efficiency
(209.1). Washington has thrown for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns against two
interceptions, and has run for another 309 yards and six scores. Orwin Smith
leads the team with 77.3 yards rushing per game, while David Sims gets 72
yards per contest. The two have combined for 13 total touchdowns, with Smith
scoring eight on the ground.
The Georgia Tech defense had given up at least 21 points in its first five
games heading into the Maryland matchup, and are 31st nationally in total
defense (342.8). The Yellow Jackets allow 161.3 yards rushing per game, and
181.5 passing (15th nationally). And while the unit is 107th in tackles for
loss per game (4.5), it has 11 takeaways and 15 sacks in six games, with
Jeremiah Attachou accounting for four sacks and Brandon Watts posting three.
Julian Burnett leads the team with 58 tackles, and Isaiah Johnson is tied for
third in the ACC with three interceptions, one of which he returned for a
Virginia's offense isn't as dazzling as Georgia Tech's, but it has been a
productive unit that ranks in the top 50 in most offensive categories. The
Cavaliers are 39th in total offense (438.8), 41st in rushing (177.2) and 38th
in passing (261.6). Virginia has featured a two quarterback system this
season, with Michael Rocco seeing a majority of the snaps. Rocco has completed
94-of-149 passes for 1,032 yards, but has thrown just two touchdowns against
seven interceptions. He had one of his more productive outings of the season
against Idaho, connecting on 20-of-30 passing for 240 yards and a score.
Freshman David Watford has played in five games, completing 25-of-50 passes
for 240 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The counterpart in the
backfield, Perry Jones has averaged 73 yards per game and has proven to be a
quality receiver (24 catches, 199 yards, one touchdown). Kevin Parks averages
70.5 yards per game rushing and six touchdowns, although he didn't play
against Idaho. Kris Burd has put up the best numbers at receiver, catching six
balls per game (ranks 36th nationally) and averages 74.6 yards per outing.
"We are going to have to be able to put points on the board," said Virginia
head coach Mike London at this week's weekly press conference. "We are going
to have to be able to get the ball in the end zone. We are pretty good in the
red zone but we have got to go from the 20, past the 20, to get that point
where you get in the red zone. Field position is going to be critical for us-
where we start with every possession."
The Cavaliers played perhaps their best game defensively against Idaho two
weeks ago, holding the Vandals to just 296 yards of total offense and 12 first
downs. The defense came up with a big stand to the win the game in overtime,
after Idaho elected to go for two and the win with the score 21-20. Virginia
is 23rd nationally in total defense (311.8), 25th in pass defense (195.4) and
35th in rush defense (116.4). Virginia also is 14th in tackles for loss per
game (7.8) and have recorded 10 sacks through five games.
"They're big on the defensive line like most people we have played. It's not
any different than most people you play in the league," said Johnson. "Like I
said, statistically they're one of the better teams in the league right now.
They're in the top 25 in the country (defensively). It'll be a challenge."
In many respects, Georgia Tech's offensive had its least productive outing
last weekend against Maryland, but this is still a unit that can explode at
any time. It's big-play capability out of the triple-option is unrivaled.
Virginia must play assignment football defensively to keep pace, but it has
the talent on that side of the ball to do so. Getting steady contributions out
of Rocco and Watford will be key.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 38, Virginia 27
10/12 10:39:00 ET