1. With perhaps as few as three games left in his career, Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington is closing in on a piece of history. His next rushing touchdown will tie the school and ACC record, held by Joshua Nesbitt, for most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
After a one-yard scoring run against Maryland, Washington sits at 16 for the season and 34 for his career. Should he break the mark, it would only be fitting if he were to score on a one-yard run. Of his 34 touchdowns, 20 have been either one- or two-yard runs. Another 10 have started from the 10-yard line or closer.
“He’s just a tenacious player,” A-back Robbie Godhigh said. “Out of all the times I’ve seen him have the ball, he’s always falling forward, trying to get those extra yards.”
Washington and Nesbitt’s touchdown proclivity is due to the fact that the quarterback is usually the first goal-line option in Tech’s spread-option scheme since there isn’t a tailback who can take a handoff and dive into the line behind a lead blocker. Beginning with coach Paul Johnson’s first season in 2008, 48 of Tech’s 62 touchdowns scored from the 1- or 2-yard line have been quarterback keepers.
“He’s been a tough, physical runner down there and he manages to get it in,” Johnson said. “A lot of the plays are quarterbacks iso’s and follow plays, and he’s got a knack for getting it in.”
For quarterbacks, his 16 touchdowns this season are tied for second in the country behind Kansas State’s Collin Klein, who has 17. Nesbitt holds the school and ACC single-season record with 18.
Washington probably doesn’t have enough time to catch the NCAA record holder. That belongs to former Nebraska quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, who had 59 rushing touchdowns.
2. Outside linebacker Brandon Watts blocked a field-goal try against Presbyterian and got his hand on a punt last week against Maryland, although the play was negated by a roughing penalty on a teammate. He’s ready for more mayhem.
“I think I can get a good chance to get one this week,” he said. “We’ll see how things go, though.”
Watts is one of a number of starters who plays for special-teams coordinator David Walkosky.
“I like Coach ‘Wak,’’ Watts said. “ Since I work (hard) for him, he puts me in spots to be successful.”
Watts said he’s physically ready to play after being taken out of the Maryland game for what he described as “a little ding.” He said he could have kept playing but was held out for precautionary reasons.
3. The most ardent Tech fans will recognize a name on North Carolina’s roster – freshman Junior Gnonkonde. He had committed to Tech for the 2012 signing class out of Lanier County High, but had his offer revoked days before signing day for what Johnson said were red flags regarding his academic eligibility. After the offer was pulled, Gnonkonde signed with UNC over South Carolina, Wake Forest and others.
Gnonkonde plays the “bandit” position in the Tar Heels defense, a defensive end/linebacker hybrid position. He is being redshirted.
“I was surprised by how strong he was, and it’s just natural strength,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. “He runs really well. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does this spring.
4. Fedora on preparing for Tevin Washington and Vad Lee – “The offense is very difficult to defend, and you only get a limited amount of reps and you’ve got to do a great job of assignment discipline and making sure your guys understand what they have to do in each situation. So for us, whether it’s Tevin Washington or the Lee kid, we’re going to have to do a great job against either one. The offense itself is what creates the problem.”
5. Offensive linemen Will Jackson and Errin Joe have been declared out for Saturday’s game. Jackson had been starting before injuring his shoulder in the Boston College game. This will be the third consecutive game that he will miss. Morgan Bailey will start at right tackle.
Joe, a backup, has also missed the past two games.
In case you missed it…
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog