current subscribers Register me
not a subscriber? See my options

current subscribers Register me
not a subscriber? See my options

already a subscriber? Register me
Subscribe now See my options
College Football
Preview
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 20, 2014
Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Virginia

This ACC opener for both teams matches the traditional elites in the ACC Coastal Division – Virginia Tech with five trips to the conference title game in nine seasons and Georgia Tech three. Questions remain about both this year as Virginia Tech is coming off a 28-21 loss at home to East Carolina while Georgia Tech needed to score in the final minute to beat a Georgia Southern team playing its third game as a member of the FBS. The Yellow Jackets also had to play deep into the second half to wrap up wins over Tulane and FCS member Wofford.

Since Paul Johnson brought the confounding spread option to Georgia Tech in 2008, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has had success solving it as the Hokies have won five of six meetings, including 17-10 last year in Atlanta as the Yellow Jackets gained just 129 yards rushing. This Virginia Tech defense could be more vulnerable this time as starting defensive tackles Luther Maddy (undisclosed injury) and Corey Marshall (ankle) are battling physical woes. Uncharacteristically, the Hokies’ defense has allowed more plays of 20 or more yards (22) than all but three FBS teams.

TV: Noon, ET, ESPN. LINE: Virginia Tech -8

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (3-0): First-year starting quarterback Justin Thomas has rushed for a team-high 278 yards and has been a big-play threat as a passer, averaging 19.4 yards per completion, third best in the FBS, and throwing for six touchdowns. The sophomore has also taken care of the ball, throwing one interception and fumbling just once – on a sack on the opening snap of a win over Tulane. His favorite target is receiver DeAndre Smelter, a 6-3, 225-pounder with speed to go with his size who is averaging 26.4 yards on his nine receptions.

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (2-1): After a strong start which included guiding Tech to an upset of Ohio State, Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer had a hand in Virginia Tech’s 28-21 loss last week to East Carolina as he was particularly ineffective in the first half (two interceptions) as ECU took a 21-0 lead. Another area of concern for coach Frank Beamer, who is 19-3 in conference openers, is the Hokies’ running game which averaged just 2.8 yards on 33 carries against East Carolina. Virginia Tech will count on sophomore Kendall Fuller, ranked by some scouting services as the best cornerback prospect in his class, to check Smelter.

EXTRA POINTS

1. After last week’s loss to East Carolina, Virginia Tech has lost four of its last five games that have immediately followed a win over a ranked team.

2. Playing on Saturday will break a string of four straight meetings between the teams – all Virginia Tech wins – that have been nationally televised on weekday evenings.

3. Georgia Tech’s only win in Blacksburg came in 2006 as Calvin Johnson caught two touchdown passes in a 38-27 victory.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 17
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Georgia Tech 3-0 W3 39.3 26.0 2-0 1-0 2-0 0-0 0-0
Virginia Tech 2-1 L1 30.0 19.3 1-1 1-0 1-1 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Georgia Tech Virginia Tech
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/26/13 VT 17 GT 10 273 129 144 276 55 221
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Georgia Tech V. Lee 29.2 144 0 2
Virginia Tech L. Thomas 76.0 221 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Georgia Tech Z. Laskey 7 43 6.1 0
Virginia Tech L. Thomas 16 58 3.6 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Georgia Tech D. Smelter 3 76 25.3 0
Virginia Tech D. Knowles 5 67 13.4 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Georgia Tech D. Sims 1
Virginia Tech D. Coles 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Georgia Tech J. Thomas 53.2 485 6 1
Virginia Tech M. Brewer 62.3 748 7 5
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Georgia Tech J. Thomas 43 278 6.5 1
Virginia Tech S. McKenzie 23 131 5.7 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Georgia Tech D. Smelter 9 238 26.4 3
Virginia Tech I. Ford 13 146 11.2 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Georgia Tech T. Byerly 3
Virginia Tech I. Ford 3
Quickchart Matchup
Georgia Tech Off vs  Virginia Tech Def
467.7 yards
340.7 yards
6 yards/rush
2.8 yards/rush
10.1 yards/attempt
7.7 yards/attempt
Virginia Tech Off vs  Georgia Tech Def
399 yards
393.7 yards
3.8 yards/rush
5.9 yards/rush
6.2 yards/attempt
7.6 yards/attempt