Tech vs. highly ranked run defenses

BYU is ranked eighth against the run, at 93.1 yards per game, along with 2.9 yards per carry. Georgia Tech has three games in a row against teams with highly-rated run defenses, as Maryland (sixth at 87.6 yards per game) and North Carolina (25th at 116.5) follow the Cougars.

How has Tech fared against top 25 run defenses?

Year       Team     Rank      Avg.       Total      GT avg. Result

2011       Utah      20           113.5     326         316.5     L, 30-27 OT

2011       UGA      11           101.2     264         316.5     L, 31-17

2011       VT           14           104.1     281         316.5     L, 37-26

2010       NCSU    14           114.3     282         323.3     L, 45-28

2010       UNC       22           125.6     393         323.3     W, 30-24

2009       UNC       10           95.6        346         295.4     W, 24-7

2008       LSU        17           110.2     180         273.2     L, 38-3

2008       VT           14           104.4     289         273.2     L, 20-17

2008       BC           7              91.2        200         273.2     W, 19-16

A few things – One, the 3-6 record isn’t inspiring, though I’d attribute only a couple to an inability to run the ball. Two, Tech’s total in all instances but one (LSU) at least doubled the average. In some instances, particularly when Butch Davis was involved, Tech surpassed its own average.

Three, Tech’s poorest rushing games haven’t always been against top-ranked defenses. In 2011, Miami’s 68th-ranked run defense held Tech to 150 yards. Same deal in 2009, when the Hurricanes limited Tech to 159. That defense was 32nd against the run.

In 2008, Al Groh-coached Virginia held Tech to 196 rushing yards with a defense that finished the season ranked 72nd at 149.6 yards per game. (I’ve wondered if that game planted seeds in Paul Johnson’s head about Groh’s defensive ability. As I recall it, Tech had all manner of trouble moving the ball after the first quarter.)

That same year, Tech ran for 121 yards against Gardner-Webb, which finished 30th in FCS in rushing defense. The infamous Gardner-Webb game. If you’re wondering, and I’m sure you aren’t, the Bulldogs finished 5-6 that season. The Tech game was their best in terms of points (10) and yards allowed (199). The very next week, Presbyterian hit up Gardner-Webb for 492 yards in a 47-21 loss.

2. In the all-telling (that’s sarcasm) “How has Tech’s opponent done vs. similar offenses” category…

BYU played Air Force in 2010, losing 35-14. The Falcons rolled up 477 yards of offense, including 409 on the ground (nine of them supplied by Darius Jones, Roddy’s brother). Air Force was aided by three Cougars turnovers and held the ball for 36:59. That same Air Force team, you may recall, also defeated Tech in the Independence Bowl. BYU finished the season ranked 45th against the run.

Coincidentally, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall fired his defensive coordinator midway through that season. Mendenhall acts as the team’s defensive coordinator.

3. I read the Salt Lake Tribune game story from BYU’s loss to Notre Dame and was particularly amused by reader comments about quarterback Riley Nelson (who missed a pass that would have appeared to be a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter) and backup James Lark. Perhaps you’ll notice something familiar about them.

Thanks for reading.

132 comments Add your comment

gt110215

October 22nd, 2012
11:05 am

old tech grad

October 22nd, 2012
11:07 am

old tech grad

October 22nd, 2012
11:09 am

Darn 2nd, I read the article first. LOL

Good insight Ken. I was happy in general saturday except for the special teams. Worried that they seemed to be building momentum until the roughing call. Nice we pushed it in and scored from there.

wreckbuzz

October 22nd, 2012
11:10 am

Ken,

I’d agree with you on the QB comments from fans, except to say that most GT fans and local media want to see what Vad Lee can do, not just because they think he’s a better QB, but because GT is not going anywhere this season with a senior QB, so why not accelerate the progression of Lee in these last 6 games? That way when 2013 rolls around Lee isn’t too green to win games.

Besides, have you seen Tevin Washington throw? I’ve seen grade school kids with a tighter spiral and more zip on their passes than TW. And I’m not kidding!!

Yella-Britches

October 22nd, 2012
11:13 am

I was looking at the offense rankings of BYU’s opponents this year and as an average, they aren’t rated very high…I am looking for a reason to NOT worry about BYU’s highly rated run defense. Thanks Ken for the stats. Go Jackets! THWG!!

Ken Sugiura

October 22nd, 2012
11:17 am

well done, gt110125. sorry, old tech grad. silver medal for you.
wreckbuzz – thanks for the comments. we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out. it would seem lee’s play would merit more time. i imagine his practice work this week will play a part.

juvenal

October 22nd, 2012
11:31 am

so other teams threw the ball more when they played these teams? & if we had played shotgun more in the above games we did not rush well, we would have thrown the ball more, too…….

1 4 GT

October 22nd, 2012
11:43 am

WE’RE GONNA WIN!!!!! GOOOOO JACKETS THWGeorgie & Old Dog today, tomorrow & every other day except Sunday. Then he can go to Hell twice (2 times for Old Dog & all other DWAGS)

TechApp fan

October 22nd, 2012
11:47 am

Did you guys notice that UNC (listed above as a good run stopper) could not stop the DOOK running game?

Past average does not translate into a game sometimes.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
11:49 am

All those games you cite involve a one-dimensional GT QB.

A good run defense means we should pass more. Which QB should we start? Hmmmm…..

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
11:51 am

Well folks, Tevin is now 3-4 as a starter this year….against the #99 schedule in the country…

Take BYU and the points.

DC Jacket

October 22nd, 2012
11:58 am

Does anyone else think that BYU’s run defense may not be nearly as good as advertised? IIRC, they’ve really only played one good rushing team in ND and they gave up 270 yards on the ground. What other teams on their schedule so far are any good at running the ball?

Harry Bevine

October 22nd, 2012
12:07 pm

I don’t understand why Georgia Tech is favored by 2 in this game. I’m a huge GT fan but I may say they will end up getting creamed this week…Homecoming or not. I’m taking BYU big this week.

Jmonty

October 22nd, 2012
12:07 pm

Ken, you continue to amaze me with your reports. You information is great. I love the blog.. Please keep it going… I know I have been a sore thumb with the whole Al Groh thing, and I do apologize. I just hate to see my beloved Jackets struggle. I think the defense make tremendous strides… To hold BC to only (What??) 32 yards rushing. That is a huge improvement!!! There are areas that need improvement. But for only 1 week to prepare??? Those young men stepped up. I don’t think they received enough credit for the job that they done. BYU is stout… However; I think we have an edge. They will put 8-9 men in the box to stop the option. If CPJ can air it out some, they may think twice about loading the box with so many. I think the ISO plays may not gain too many yards. Our big plays will be on the outside and if we can complete some big passes. While BYU’s D is big, I think we may have an edge in quickness. If the “D” can keep it up, we will win. Considering the year, it would be a great victory and team morale would soar high. I think GT can win… TW needs to be careful, complete some passes and not turn it over. CPJ should mix Vad in. The kid is amazing… He needs to work on the option a little better, but he is a better passer. Mixing the QB’s would put a large amount of stress and confusion on the BYU defense. I agree with GT Joe.. TW in for the whole game would make it difficult to win. A mix of Vad and TW, would be awesome to conitnue to see. Go Jackets!!!

www

October 22nd, 2012
12:08 pm

gt joe is obsessed with tevin washington.

vad lee’s mom, is that you?

what a weirdo.

juvenal

October 22nd, 2012
12:18 pm

actually, is a good report, though you have to remember what Teddy Roosevelt said about stats(did Doug help you?)

GT Lee

October 22nd, 2012
12:24 pm

Where was superDwag?
______________________

superDawg

September 26th, 2012
7:50 pm

ss you are a little man that likes to hide behind others.If sc beats UGA I will come down and tail gate with you and your brethren at tek.
______________________________

We had plenty of food and beverage waiting for you, superDwag. You need to get “PUFFED UP”. Be a man and keep your word. Hope to see you Saturday.

StingerSplash

October 22nd, 2012
12:35 pm

Might it also be interesting to check the per game rushing averages of BYU opponents to date? Notre Dame – though their run game is philosophically different from Tech’s, relying on more power sets – gashed them pretty good Saturday.

D

October 22nd, 2012
12:37 pm

Switch to a 4-3 defense. Every now and then blitz –maybe a 5-2-4 package. I think our DB’s can hang with the reciever– just not for the 15 seconds we have been giving them. The offense will score–keep the pedal down and start having VAD run some pitch plays so he can get use to the speed of the game– not ever one has to be a dive.

pine

October 22nd, 2012
12:43 pm

wreckbuzz have you seen the way Brett Favre throws the ball or Peyton Manning for that matter…never a spirral or tight spirral, but the ball gets there. Since we are talking stats it looks like TW’s stats say that his ball gets there more than 60 percent of the time, not to mention the drops and on what downs a pass is finally called (coaching) I would say the offense has done quite well with the kid at qb.They are averaging more than 35 points per game (another stat) and are ranked third in rushing in the country (another stat). TW is the starter for a reason. He runs the complete offense better.You can compliment both qbs without downing the other. it wasn’t many DAYS ago, some were saying Synjyn DAYS should start…what a pun on words

ramblingbuzz

October 22nd, 2012
12:45 pm

Past history is not an indicator of future performance. Good article and interesting stats Ken. You do a very thorough job of looking at the games from diffferent angles. I agree with many of the posters that the way to deal with a strong running D is to throw the ball more. I think CPJ has shown more willingness to do that this year. I’m cautiously optimistic and hope our D progresses even more this week. Didn’t see any of the BYU/ND game, but kept up with the score. Does BYU have a tendency to run or throw?

StingerSplash

October 22nd, 2012
12:46 pm

BYU’s opponents and their rushing offense:
Washington State – 119 out of 120
Weber State – 84th out of 121 in FCS
Utah – 109th out of 120
Boise State – 67th
Hawaii – 108th
Utah State – 46th
Oregon State – 107th
Notre Dame – 38th

TeknocratNOTdemokrat

October 22nd, 2012
12:59 pm

I get what you mean Ken…everybody’s favorite QB is the backup. Well, Vad did ok for himself, as far as I’m concerned, so I’m good w/CPJ doing more of it. Now what DOES concern me is, who was that team that wore the GT unis in the 3rd quarter? Whoever they were, I hope we don’t see’em again for a long time. Their apparent lack of focus and crappy play execution (not that the plays were particularly creative) scared hell outta me…looked like the same guys that played the 2nd half of the VT, UM and CU games…ouch!

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
1:05 pm

StingerSplash:

GT’s opponents and their rushing defense:
VT #70
UVA #65
MTSU #64
Clemson #105
Miami #120
BC #123

Our schedule is ranked #99 so far. In other words, we are 3-4 against some WEAK teams. Time to air it out just a little bit. Is 5 years into a college career too late for Tevin to learn how to throw a spiral? LOL.

Time for (more) Vad.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
1:08 pm

“Everyone’s favorite QB is the backup”. LOL. Said the coach with the lousy starter.

Is that true for the Falcons? Pats? Steelers? Packers? Clemson? VT? You can always gauge a starter by how many folks want him replaced.

Look at the blogs nowadays, the MAJORITY want TW replaced. Glad to see everyone catching up…

GTBob

October 22nd, 2012
1:10 pm

I don’t understand why Georgia Tech is favored by 2 in this game.

We are at home, BYU is coming off of two losses, and really they aren’t that great. They played well against ND but overall who have they beaten? Their best win was a 3 point victory over Utah St.

GTBob

October 22nd, 2012
1:13 pm

Im actually fine using Vad like we did in the Boston College game. As long as he gets some meaningful work in.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
1:13 pm

Bob: GT is 3-4 against the #99 schedule in the country.

BYU is 3-4 against the #22 schedule in the country.

StingerSplash

October 22nd, 2012
1:14 pm

GT Joe,
I don’t where you got your numbers. They’re close to the mark, but BC can’t be 123rd. There are only 120 FBS teams.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
1:24 pm

GTBob

October 22nd, 2012
1:32 pm

StingerSplash, there were 4 teams that joined the FBS this season. It was 120 last season.

GTBob

October 22nd, 2012
1:40 pm

Bob: GT is 3-4 against the #99 schedule in the country.

BYU is 3-4 against the #22 schedule in the country.

That doesn’t really mean much. Beating the bad teams you play and losing to the good teams you play isn’t going to convince odds makers that you should be a huge favorite on the road. The fact is the best team they haven beaten is Utah St. They lost to a 2-5 Utah team. They don’t have a glowing resume. Neither do we. That is why it is a close spread with us getting a slight edge because of the home field advantage.

1 4 GT

October 22nd, 2012
1:52 pm

Hey everyone, give up. Joe has no objectivity. He refuses to believe most everyone was glad to see Vad in the game & doing good & that most of us know he may well “earn” the starting QB job soon. I hope he does, but still trust the coaches to know when that moment is here. That is what the AA pays them for, to lead the different programs in athletics. But Joe thinks he can “force” the issue here. What good does Joe truly think he is doing with his multiple all day long daily rants.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
1:53 pm

Bob: The schedule rankings don’t mean “much”? Maybe it wouldn’t mean “much” if the rankings were closer, but 99 to 22 is a MAJOR difference that must mean SOMETHING.

Based on those rankings, and equal records, I think it’s safe to assume that BYU is a better team, at a neutral site. Give an additional 3 points to GT for home field advantage, and the game should be a pick ‘em at best.

If I was a non-fan and had to bet something, I’d take BYU moneyline.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
2:04 pm

But, if Vad starts the game, take Tech!

GT Fan

October 22nd, 2012
2:06 pm

I recently move from ATL to Utah, so I’ve gotten a lot of BYU / Utah coverage.
Attended BYU-Utah, and BYU-Oregon St.

BYU’s run D has been poor that past 2 games, Oregon St (118) ND (270).
Oregon St is a pass-first O, averaging 108 yds rushing / game. The Beavers were held to 53 yds rushing by Utah on Saturday.
ND has three 200+ yd rushing games: Navy (293), Miami (376), BYU (270). Otherwise, ND has rushed for 90, 122, 94, and 150.

Vs. Oregon St the Cougar D was torched for 332 yds & 3 TDs passing from a QB who hadn’t taken an in-game snap since 2010.

GT’s running, could open up some big plays in the passing game…..

Like BC, this will be BYU’s 2nd consecutive road game. I’m hoping for a little fatigue from the Cougars, and more mistakes from their mistake-prone QB.

GT Fan

October 22nd, 2012
2:30 pm

Vad Lee has much more potential the TW, but he can’t run run the OPTION part the O better than TW. And the OPTION part is the most important part. It was obvious on Saturday, as the majority of runs plays with VL in the game were the quick pitch.

Definitely, though, Lee showed his potential on the 24 yd run, and the perfectTD pass to Autry.
It’s ugly watching TW pass, just ugly. Soft, floaters that seem to take FOREVER to get to the receiver. Or in the wide open, up the middle pass to Orwin, if TW puts a little zip on it, he throws the ball 5 feet short of OS, and a TD.

GT Fan

October 22nd, 2012
2:34 pm

Julian Burnette (#40), er I mean, I.Johnson was in the wrong positon again. IDK what he was thinking, or who he was covering, on the TD pass to the TE. Go watch the video on ESPN. Funny, in a sad way, watching him on that play. Absolutely NO excuse why he wasn’t in position to INT the pass.

gt45

October 22nd, 2012
2:36 pm

Anyone comment on the fact that we finally ran a play out of that ugly fourth and short alignment? I fell out of my seat!

GTBob

October 22nd, 2012
2:37 pm

Bob: The schedule rankings don’t mean “much”? Maybe it wouldn’t mean “much” if the rankings were closer, but 99 to 22 is a MAJOR difference that must mean SOMETHING.

It means they lost to some good teams. Can you say for sure that they would have beaten Clemson, VT, or Miami? Losing to good teams raises your strength of schedule, but it doesn’t mean you are a better team. Washington is 3-4 and currently ranked #1 in strength of schedule. Does that mean they are much better than BYU and GT? Alabama’s strength of schedule is lower than Notre Dames and they have the same record. I guess Notre Dame is a better team. Right?

A Iverson

October 22nd, 2012
2:42 pm

OMG!!! ARE WE TALKING ABOUT PRACTICE AGAIN??!!!!!

5150 UOAD

October 22nd, 2012
2:48 pm

gt45
October 22nd, 2012
2:36 pm

Anyone comment on the fact that we finally ran a play out of that ugly fourth and short alignment? I fell out of my seat!
========================================

Sorry you missed it but that is the SECOND we have run a play out of the 4th down Stack Backfield. Both times it has been to the B-back with the A-Backs not really getting into the play.
I figure CPJ is finally setting up that formation for a big pass play if the alignment is right of a QB Sneak.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
3:11 pm

Bob: “It means they lost to some good teams”? No, it means they PLAYED some good teams.

As I said, a small difference in ranking probably means nothing. 99 to 22 is huge. 32 to 15 is not as big.

I would suggest that the larger the difference in ranking, the more “real” the difference in schedule is. If you don’t agree with this, I can’t help you any further in this conversation. I would posit that every linesmaker on earth uses this type of data to SOME extent, especially in the 2nd half when there is a good sample size.

GTBob

October 22nd, 2012
3:41 pm

I would suggest that the larger the difference in ranking, the more “real” the difference in schedule is. If you don’t agree with this, I can’t help you any further in this conversation.

I am not arguing who has played a tougher schedule. BYU has. Playing a tougher schedule doesn’t mean you are a better team though. They haven’t beaten any of the tough teams on their tough schedule so how are we supposed to gauge how good they are? Schedule strength can only prove how good a team is if they are actually winning some of their tough games.

trueblueeagle

October 22nd, 2012
3:51 pm

Sorry Tech fans but we will not win another game this year

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
3:54 pm

Okay Bob; sure, playing a tougher schedule doesn’t mean the team is better. But playing a tougher schedule than you AND having the same record as you probably means something. This has been the premise of my whole argument. Same record, but WAY tougher schedule, probably means BYU is better.

What actually HAPPENS is a different discussion.

Dang, this is the really sad thing aobut Tech football...

October 22nd, 2012
4:30 pm

“Dear William C. Hartman Fund members,

Georgia Tech recently returned a limited quantity of tickets priced at $75 each. Contractual agreements stipulate that, for home events, schools may charge visiting teams the ticket price our patrons pay at the visiting team’s stadium. The visiting school may return unsold tickets to the home school. Those tickets are to be sold at the face value that is charged to the visiting team.

The returned tickets that are available will be located in the 600 level of Sanford Stadium.”

GTfan2012

October 22nd, 2012
4:35 pm

I was worried about BYU. Thought they had a really good defense. Then looked at the teams they played. The teams BYU has beaten CANNOT run the ball. BYU allowed -5 rushing yards to Wash St., which sounds impressive until you consider that Wash St. has 284 rushing yards and 2.0 ypc in 7 games (almost dead last in FBS). BYU allowed 41 rushing yards to Hawaii, which sounds impressive until you consider that Hawaii has only 640 rushing yards and 3.2 ypc in 6 games (near the bottom at 112th in FBS).

In the last two games, the results haven’t been quite as good. BYU allowed 118 yards and 4.2 ypc to Oregon St. and 270 rush yards and 6.3 ypc against ND.

Same Old

October 22nd, 2012
4:45 pm

@trueblueeagle…I hate to say it but you’re right!
I like Johnson. Nothing is prettier than the option when it works.
I wish he would be more flexible, but alas, he won’t.

GT Joe

October 22nd, 2012
4:52 pm

GTFan2012: BYU is #3 in opponents offensive points per game, at 11.1.

http://www.teamrankings.com/college-football/stat/opponent-offensive-points-per-game

Also, BYU is #5 in opponent yards per game. This defense is for real.

And they played the #22 toughest schedule.