Virginia Tech (3-1) at Georgia Tech (3-0)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, September 26, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Atlanta, Georgia.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: Virginia Tech 2-0, Georgia Tech 2-0. Away
Record: Virginia Tech 1-0, Georgia Tech 1-0. Neutral Record: Virginia Tech
0-1, Georgia Tech 0-0. Conference Record: Virginia Tech 0-0, Georgia Tech 2-0.
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads, 7-3.
GAME NOTES: There will be no rest for the weary on Thursday night when the
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets welcome the Virginia Tech Hokies to Bobby Dodd
Stadium for a nationally-televised ACC clash.
This is the league opener for a Virginia Tech squad that has gone 8-1 in its
ACC openers since joining the conference in 2004. The Hokies are riding a
three-game winning streak since falling to top-ranked Alabama in their season
debut. This past Saturday, they needed three overtimes to upend Marshall at
Georgia Tech has won six straight regular-season league games and is one shy
of tying the school record for its longest ACC winning streak. The Yellow
Jackets are off to a 3-0 start and have already notched league wins over Duke
(38-14) and North Carolina (28-20). The latter of those victories occurred
last weekend in come-from-behind fashion as the Yellow Jackets overcame steady
rainfall, as well as a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter and a 20-7 margin in
the second quarter.
Virginia Tech has won five of the last six meetings with the Yellow Jackets to
take a 7-3 lead in the head-to-head series. The Hokies have never lost to
Georgia Tech in four Thursday night meetings. The two teams are the only teams
to have claimed Coastal Division titles since the ACC began its two-division
format in 2005.
Virginia Tech nearly coughed up last week's game on multiple occasions.
Starting kicker Cody Journell was serving a suspension, and backup Ethan
Keyserling missed all three of his field-goal attempts, including two in
overtime. Nevertheless, the Hokies held strong and ultimately prevailed on
Logan Thomas' second touchdown run of the day in the third overtime. Thomas
had an up-and-down game in tough weather conditions, as he threw for 181 yards
with one touchdown and two interceptions, while averaging 2.5 yards on 23
carries. Trey Edmunds powered the ground game with 110 yards on 22 totes and
is averaging 88.0 rushing yards (4.5 ypc) through four games.
The Hokies defense has generated 10 takeaways on the season (nine
interceptions, one fumble recovery), which is tied for eighth nationally.
Their nine interceptions are the second-most in the nation. Kyshoen Jarrett
and Kendall Fuller each notched interceptions against Marshall, while
cornerback Kyle Fuller had four pass breakups. The defense came up big in
overtime, blocking a field goal in the first extra session and then forcing
and recovering a fumble in the second. After taking the lead, the Hokies held
strong in the third OT by forcing four straight incompletions to end the game.
J.R. Collins finished with a team-best nine tackles, including 1.5 sacks, and
seven of the Hokies' 21 quarterback hurries.
Once again, Georgia Tech's ground game was instrumental in its latest victory,
particularly in the second half. The unit enters this week boasting the
nation's No. 4 rushing offense (345.3), the sixth straight year the team has
ranked in the top-five in that department. In addition, Tech is ranked second
in the FBS in third-down percentage (.667), third in yards per completion
(19.0), fifth in pass efficiency (200.54), and 10th in scoring (45.3).
Sophomore dual-threat quarterback Vad Lee has accounted for 10 of the team's
18 offensive touchdowns this season (seven passing, three rushing). In last
week's win over UNC, Robert Godhigh ran for 100 yards on nine carries, while
David Sims had 99 yards and two scores on the ground.
The Yellow Jackets defense came through with a second-half shutout against
UNC. In fact, Georgia Tech's defense has given up just seven second-half
points over the last five games, dating back to 2012. Overall, the unit is
11th in the FBS in total defense (275.3). After UNC took a 20-7 lead on a 24-
yard touchdown pass with 9:18 remaining in the second quarter, the Yellow
Jackets gave up no points the rest of the way. In fact, the Tar Heels' never
possessed the ball for longer than three minutes over their final six drives.
Unfortunately, three defensive starters exited with injuries during the game.
Linebacker Quayshawn Nealy and safety Chris Melton left in the first half and
did not return, while starting safety Jamal Golden was taken to the locker
room in the third quarter.
More often than not, games between these two division rivals are decided by
single digits. Virginia Tech has dominated the head-to-head series of late,
but this time the Hokies are playing in Atlanta against an unbeaten Georgia
Tech squad that is off to a 2-0 start in conference play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 31, Virginia Tech 28
09/25 10:33:19 ET