Georgia Tech (3-2) at BYU (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 12, 7 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470) -- Provo, Utah. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: GT 2-1, BYU 2-1. Away Record: GT 1-1, BYU 1-1. Neutral Record: GT 0-0, BYU 0-0. Conference Record: GT 2-2, BYU 0-0. Series Record: BYU leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will step out of conference action on Saturday night to take on the BYU Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Georgia Tech has lost two in a row after a 3-0 start. Last weekend, the Yellow Jackets followed up a 17-10 home loss to Virginia Tech with a 45-30 setback at 13th-ranked Miami-Florida.
Meanwhile, BYU enters the contest seeking a third consecutive win. The Cougars are coming off a 37-10 win over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 27 and a 31-14 triumph at Utah State last Friday. This weekend's tilt wraps up a stretch of five straight games in the state of Utah.
BYU has won two of the three meetings in the all-time series, including a 41-17 road win over the Yellow Jackets last season.
Georgia Tech coughed up another double-digit lead against Miami, a trend that has become familiar in that head-to-head series. The Yellow Jackets possessed the ball for nearly 14 minutes in the opening quarter, thanks to a new formation that Miami had not previously seen on film. However, they lost a key second-quarter fumble when they were trying to take a 17-point lead, and the Hurricanes went on to out-score Tech, 38-6, over a 37-minute stretch in the final three quarters. Senior David Sims led the way with 77 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in the loss. Sims has headlined Tech's seventh-ranked rushing offense (300.0 ypg), ranking ninth in the ACC in rushing (65.0 ypg) and third in scoring (8.4 ppg). Only 15 players in the FBS have scored more touchdowns than Sims' seven on the season. As a team, Tech ranks third nationally in time of possession (34:47).
Through five games, Georgia Tech ranks 20th nationally in total defense (330.6) and has enjoyed similar success against both the run (120.8 ypg, 28th) and pass (209.8 ypg, 37th). However, after getting off to that strong start against Miami, the Yellow Jackets were out-gained, 449-229, in the final three quarters. The outcome mirrored the previous year's meeting against Miami in Atlanta, in which the 'Canes overcame a 36-19 deficit to pull out the victory. One problem has been the Yellow Jackets inability to pressure the quarterback, as they have tallied only seven sacks in five games. They'll need more production from senior defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu, who ranks fifth among active FBS players in career sacks (21.0), but has only two this season.
Similar to their counterpart, the Cougars' preferred method of attack is the running game as they rank 13th nationally in rushing offense (277.8 ypg). In fact, BYU has two players ranked in the top 20 in the country for rushing yards per game--Taysom Hill (15th) with 115.8 and Jamaal Williams (19th) with 114.3. Hoffman is three touchdowns and six receptions shy of becoming the school's all-time leader in both categories, and he needs three more 100-yard receiving games to set the school record in that category.
In last week's win over Utah State, the Cougars displayed a nice balance on offense with 278 yards through the air and 160 on the ground. Sophomore receiver Mitch Mathews headlined that effort with a career-high three touchdowns and 112 yards on five catches.
Defensively, BYU ranks 24th in the nation in total yards allowed (335.8). The unit boasts nine players with at least 20 tackles so far this season, led by Uani 'Unga's 45. Whereas Georgia Tech's Attaochu ranks fifth among active players in career sacks with 21, BYU's Kyle Van Noy is tied for second with 23. The senior linebacker, who is the two-time reigning Independent Defensive Player of the Week, is 11 sacks short of the school's career mark.
On the first play of last week's game against USU, Van Noy intercepted a pass and ran it back 17 yards for a touchdown to stake the Cougars an early 7-0 lead. 'Unga led the way with a career-high 16 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Both of these teams are among the FBS leaders in rushing offense as well as total defense. Look for a methodical chess match that will likely be won by whoever commits the fewest turnovers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 24, Georgia Tech 20
10/09 10:45:33 ET