Previewing Georgia Tech’s game against North Carolina State. The Yellow Jackets (2-1, 1-0 ACC) will host the Wolfpack (3-0) at noon on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Have a long drive early. The best way to take the bite out of North Carolina State’s aggressive defense is to wear them out. If the Yellow Jackets can go on another 10-minute drive early it will perhaps tire out theWolfpack and make it easier to take control of the game. The Tar Heels weren’t the same, particularly up the middle, after Tech owned the ball in the second quarter.
Winning the turnover battle. N.C. State has a plus-5 turnover margin this season, one of the best in the country. Tech’s is even. However, starting running back Dean Haynes did fumble twice last week. Because Tech has the ability to grind out 10-minute drives, every possession becomes magnified. TheWolfpack can’t afford to give the Yellow Jackets more chances than necessary, and the Jackets don’t need to make silly fumbles like the one they lost against North Carolina or the one it lost against Kansas.
Disciplined defense. There’s a difference between playing fast and playing recklessly. In each of the past two games Tech’s defense has committed unnecessary penalties (roughing the kicker against Kansas and pass interference against North Carolina) which have kept drives alive. To do so again, with Russell Wilson on the other side of the line of scrimmage, would be a mistake. Tech can’t give theWolfpack more opportunities than necessary.
A Tech win would …
A North Carolina State win would …
Keep an eye on …
For Georgia Tech: Steven Sylvester and Anthony Egbuniwe. They will have the fun task of not only trying to keep track of Wilson, but on some plays they will have to make sure that the running backs don’t slip into the flats for short passes. It’s going to be a chore for all four of Tech’s linebackers. Wilson doesn’t have a favorite receiver. Fourteen different players have caught passes this season. Sylvester and Egbuniwe must keep their eyes open.
For North Carolina State: Mustafa Greene and Haynes. Controlling the clock is one of the keys to beating Tech. If Haynes and Greene can experience the same success running the ball thatTech’s past six opponents have enjoyed (each has had a back run for more than 100 yards), then the Wolfpack can keep Tech’s offense off the field. The duo average 104 yards per game this season and have scored five touchdowns.
The numbers game
win in N.C. State’s past 11 conference road games outside of the state of North Carolina.
games in a row for Georgia Tech against teams from North Carolina. Tech will play its third next week when it takes on Wake Forest at 7 p.m. in Winston-Salem.
Consecutive wins in the ACC for Georgia Tech, including the victory over Clemson in the ACC championship game.
Out of 12 quarters that the Jackets have scored in this season. They are most productive in the first quarter, scoring 28 points. They have scored on each of their opening drives this season.
Last meeting: Georgia Tech defeated N.C. State 31-23 at Carter-Finley Stadium in 2006.
Series record: Georgia Tech lead the series, 17-9.
The bottom line
Combining Tech seemingly getting its mojo back on offense last week with N.C. State’s struggles outside of the Tarheel state, and this should be a game that the Yellow Jackets win. However, if Wilson consistently exploits the short- and mid-range passes that the Tar Heels and Jayhawks successfully used against Tech, then this could turn into a shootout.