Hope you all are well. I’m about to head to Carter-Finley Stadium and wanted to give you a post to start commenting if you want.
Anyway, just have a few notes to share. This will serve as the live blog link.
1. Georgia Tech has given up 11 touchdowns in 13 red-zone possessions by the opponent. For a team with aspirations as high as the Jackets do, that’s not going to cut it. I don’t know the best way to put this in context, but here’s an attempt. One, Tech’s percentage at allowing touchdowns (84.6 percent) is higher than six other ACC’s school’s rate at allowing touchdowns or field goals. Second, Tech’s touchdown-field goal ratio in red zone defense is 11-1. Most teams’ ratios are around 1-1. Only Duke (10 touchdowns, two field goals) is in Tech’s neighborhood. (I think a more telling red-zone efficiency number would be points per red-zone possession, not scores per possession.)
2. Tech has had some issues defending tight ends in the passing game, which could be a particular problem Saturday. N.C. State tight end George Bryan is the leading tight end pass catcher in school history and is a two-time All-ACC for the past two seasons. Tight ends have caught 11 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns against Tech thus far. Bryan caught one pass for 22 yards against the Jackets last year.
3. Can Tech do it again and produce its eighth one-play touchdown drive? The Jackets have seven so far and at least one in each game. The longest touchdown N.C. State has given up this year is a 40-yard run to Wake Forest.
4. The Wolfpack’s T.J. Graham could be the best kickoff returner Tech will face all year.
The Jackets need to be mindful of him on offense, as well. He has an active streak of three consecutive 100-yard games. If the Jackets can’t create consistent pressure on quarterback Mike Glennon, that could be dangerous.
5. Nightmare scenario for N.C. State fans: Go to Carter-Finley Stadium, watch the Wolfpack lose badly to Tech, go home, watch Russell Wilson shred Nebraska for Wisconsin.
6. The Tech offense has to be aware of N.C. State linebacker Audie Cole, who is leading the Wolfpack for the third season.
“He’s real good,” Roddy Jones said. “It seems like once you get into league play, every week you go in and there’s a guy who just stands out on film and he’s that guy for them.”
Cole has 37 tackles and leads the ACC with 7.5 tackles for loss.
7. N.C. State offensive coordinator Dana Bible on Jeremiah Attaochu: “He’s not hard to find. He’s a playmaker and he’s explosive. That’s not only as somebody that’s trying to create havoc getting after the quarterback, he also does an outstanding job in space in coverage. There’s no question he’s a talent.”
8. One thing that Bible mentioned that isn’t exactly revelatory, but worth noting. They’re not going to give up on the run even though they average 2.8 yards per carry and are second to last in the ACC with 85.0 yards per game. Interestingly, Florida State is last at 79.5.
9. Tech’s rate thus far at stopping opponent’s third downs is 46.4, third highest in the ACC. I crunched the numbers, and this is going to surprise you – Tech is much better at getting teams off the field in third-and-long situations than third and short. On 3rd and 5 and longer, the Jackets are 16 for 41 (39.0 percent), which, really, is still pretty high. In fact, it’s still higher than seven teams’ overall defensive third-down percentage. That rates an aiyee.
10. Athletic director Dan Radakovich was on my flight this morning to RDU. Or, perhaps, I was on his flight. He sent me a Twix bar from first class. A few other Tech fans on board, too.
11. It’ll keep an eye on how many carries David Sims gets, as I’d touched on earlier this week. With N.C. State so thin, it would certainly appear the Wolfpack are vulnerable in the middle. Last year, Tech went to Anthony Allen 14 times, but he only gained 35 yards. Joshua Nesbitt led with 19 carries for 95 yards.
12. A pretty good quote earlier this week from Tyler Melton: “We haven’t done anything yet. The only thing we’ve managed to do is not lose.”
13. ACC teams are 5-1 so far in league games. … As I mentioned in the preview box, the last time Tech was 5-0 was 1990, when the Jackets won a share of the national championship. The last time before that was 1966, Bobby Dodd’s final year as coach. … My impending visit to N.C. State will complete my circuit of visits to the ACC’s four North Carolina schools. I visited the other three when I was in high school.
Game advance, centering on the Wolfpack’s injury woes, from the Raleigh News & Observer.
Game advance by Stan Awtrey for the Macon Telegraph.
On rivals.com, N.C. State defensive coordinator Mike Archer breaks down Tech’s offense.
Game advance from Winston-Salem Journal.
I’ll try to update when I get to the stadium.
By Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat