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Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Anthony Allen ran for a pair of touchdowns, with Georgia Tech registering five rushing scores overall, as the Yellow Jackets posted a resounding 42-14 win over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in non-conference play at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia Tech played a dominant third quarter, and extended a 7 point halftime lead to a 28 point final margin. Postgame stats and analysis will be up later tonight.
With mostly backups in on both sides of the ball for Georgia Tech, Dwight Dasher led the Blue Raiders 82 yards down the field in 7 plays for his second rushing touchdown of the day.
Tech has the ball back with 6:04 left to play.
Nesbitt finishes the day with 22 rushes for 106 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. In the air, he went 5 for 13 for 86 yards and a touchdown.
The ACC record for most career rushing yards by a quarterback is held by Woodrow Dantzler, who played at Clemson from 1998-2001. Joshua Nesbitt only needs 44 more yards to break that record. Guess who the Jackets play next week?
Shortly after the Tech offense scored, the defense retook the spotlight by forcing the fifth MTSU turnover of the day. This time it was Julian Burnett knocking the ball loose and Steven Sylvester with the recovery.
Nesbitt and the offense took 6 plays and 2:48 to score this time, only needing to go 30 yards. Anthony Allen scored his second rushing touchdown of the day to give the Jackets the 35-7 lead.
It was the third straight possession that ended in a touchdown for the Jackets. All three drives started in MTSU territory.
With the ball short of midfield, and a long 3rd and 13 to convert, defensive coordinator Al Groh dialed up pressure to get to Dwight Dasher. And get to him the Tech defense did. Cornerback Dominique Reese came from Dasher’s back side and hit him hard enough to knock the ball loose which was recovered by Anthony Egbuniwe.
Starting at the 38 yard line, it only took the Jackets five plays to get into the end zone. After converting a fourth down, Nesbitt completed a 26 yard pass to Stephen Hill for the touchdown.
Jackets up by 21 points, 4:36 left in the third quarter.
After trading punts to begin the second half, Tech started their second drive at MTSU’s 45 yard line. 3 plays and 1 minute and 22 seconds later, Anthony Allen rumbled in with a 32 yard touchdown run to make the score 21-7.
The touchdown was his fourth in the last two games.
Injury update: Georgia Tech defensive end Jason Peters is out for the rest of the game.
Georgia Tech forced a stop and got the ball back with 1:05 left in the half. With the ball at midfield, Nesbitt fired two incompletions to start the drive. On third down, he completed a 51 yard touchdown pass to Stephen Hill, but it was called back because of offensive pass interference.
The offense was not able to convert the 3rd and 25, and punted the ball away to end the half.
Tech finishes the half with 9 first downs, 148 rushing yards, and 60 passing yards. MTSU has 130 rushing yards, 71 passing, and 13 first downs. Both teams were 4 of 8 on third down, and time of possession was close to equal.
Joshua Nesbitt had 15 carries for 81 yards and 1 touchdown in the first half. He completed 4 of 12 passes for 60 yards. Orwin Smith has two receptions for 51 yards. Jerrard Tarrant led the defense with two interceptions, and Julian Burnett chipped in with one of his own.
Dwight Dasher carried the ball 8 times for 50 yards and 1 touchdown, and has completed 12 of 21 passes for 71 yards. Leading the Blue Raider receivers is Tavarres Jefferson, who has 4 receptions for 28 yards.
The Blue Raiders quickly drove 80 yards down the field to get on the board. QB Dwight Dasher was all over the place, finding big holes in the defensive line, hitting with quick passes, and even running the option.
The Tech defense has played bend-but-don’t-break up until now, coming up with three interceptions. But it just broke on that last drive.
Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt and A-back Orwin Smith combined to drive the Jackets 76 yards down the field for the touchdown. The key to the drive was a 41 yard completion to Smith, but the two teamed up for some option highlights as well.
Nesbitt sneaked up the middle from the 1, his 33rd career touchdown scored.
Jerrard Tarrant is making his presence felt today, which another pick, his second of the game. The Jackets had two interceptions in games 1 through 6, and have three in game 7.
Tech’s offense wasn’t able to advance the ball, however, and Scott Blair missed a 41 yard field goal, his first miss of the season. He was 9 for 9 coming into today.
The two teams ended the quarter by trading turnovers, started by Anthony Allen for Georgia Tech fumbling on the MTSU 45 yard line. The fumble lost was Georgia Tech's 9th on the season, tied for third worst in the nation. The Blue Raiders drove down to the red zone, but Tech sophomore Julian Burnett came up with his first career interception.
Stat watch: Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt already has 60 yards rushing; if he can get another 90 he will have the most rushing yards for any quarterback in ACC history.
After electing to defer to the second half, Georgia Tech opened on defense. Everyone has been talking about MTSU quarterback Dwight Dasher’s rushing abilities, but it was his arm that drove the Raiders to around midfield with a couple of long third down completions.
Tech safety Jerrard Tarrant stopped the drive, intercepting one from Dasher and returning it 30 yards. The pick was his 2nd of the season and 3rd of his career.
The Jackets took the early lead with an option pitch to the left side with Orwin Smith taking the ball in from 20 yards for the score. Jackets 7, Raiders 0.
From The Rumble Seat always does a great job of interviewing writers who cover Tech’s weekly opponents. This time around, they had a word with Austin Middle of gomiddle.com.
FTRS: How are the Blue Raiders prepping for Paul Johnson’s option offense?
AM: The Blue Raiders defense went through extensive drills without the ball during their extra time to practice this week and then spent time going through plays with the ball. Historically, the Blue Raider defense has thrived on blitzing and a very aggressive style of play. However, this year the defense has been less aggressive, which could be helpful in trying to stop the triple option.
Tech’s offense has been picked apart by both N.C. State’s fangs-out attack and Kansas’ wait-and-see approach, so it’s hard to say the 2010 Jackets have the versatility to punish any particular set of schemes.
Except for what Virginia did (give the dive). What Virginia did was pretty easy to punish.
(Sports Network) – FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) — Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: MT 1-2, GT 2-1. Away Record: MT 1-1, GT 2-1. Neutral Record: MT 0-0, GT 0-0. Conference Record: MT 1-1, GT 3-1. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets step out of conference action to play host to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders this weekend in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech is coming off last weekend’s 33-21 win over Virginia, the team’s second win in as many weeks. The Yellow Jackets have never lost back-to-back games in three seasons under head coach Paul Johnson, but the focus now is on building a lengthy winning streak. Following this contest, they’ll hit the road for their next two games against Clemson and Virginia Tech.
Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee is coming off a lifeless 42-13 loss at home to Troy. That game took place last Tuesday, giving the Blue Raiders 11 days to prepare for this bout. The Blue Raiders have been fairly inconsistent, having posted 34 and 56 points in their two victories, while being held to less than 20 points in each of their three losses.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools. In fact, Georgia Tech has never played a Sun Belt Conference team previously.
Starting quarterback Dwight Dasher made his much anticipated return for Middle Tennessee against Troy after sitting out the season’s first four games due to a suspension. As expected, Dasher was a bit rusty, throwing for only 172 yards on 22-of-37 passing in his debut. Then again, the entire offense struggled, as the Blue Raiders amassed just 207 total yards. They’ll need to get the ground game going to help take some of the pressure of Dasher’s shoulders. Of course, Dasher can also contribute in that department with his scrambling ability. For his career, he has thrown for more than 4,200 yards and ran for more than 1,900. He scored both of the team’s touchdowns last week, but he was also sacked four times and had to exit the game early with an injured finger.
The Middle Tennessee defense is allowing 27.4 points and 385 yards per game, both of which rank near the bottom of the national rankings. One of the main problems has been the team’s inability to create turnovers, as the Blue Raiders rank dead-last among 120 FBS teams in turnover margin (-1.8). In their last contest, Troy posted 519 yards of total offense and scored touchdowns on five of their six red-zone trips. MT also allowed Troy to convert 8-of-16 third downs, as the Trojans enjoyed an eight-minute advantage in time of possession. One of the top playmakers on the defensive unit has been Jamari Lattimore, who is tied for 10th in the nation in sacks per game (1.1). Lattimore also has a team-best six quarterback hurries. However, he won’t have too many opportunities to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback as Georgia Tech prefers to keep the ball on the ground.
The Yellow Jackets will try to repeat what they were able to do offensively against Virginia. Coach Johnson’s option attack was in top form, as Tech rolled up 477 rushing yards to top the Cavaliers. It marked the team’s most- ever rushing yards in an ACC game. Senior B-back Anthony Allen accounted for 195 of those yards, while quarterback Joshua Nesbitt added 109 yards on the ground. Nesbitt has been the driving force to the team’s option game, and he needs only 150 yards to break the ACC record for career rushing yards by a quarterback. In fact, he and Allen are No. 1 and No. 2 among conference rushing leaders this season, averaging a combined 178 yards per game on the ground to lead the nation’s third-ranked rushing attack (328 ypg). Put simply, there won’t be any mystery as to how the Yellow Jackets plan to attack Middle Tennessee’s defense.
Ever since a 45-28 loss at home to NC State three weeks ago, the Georgia Tech defense has made some strides. Against Virginia last week, the Yellow Jackets allowed only 376 total yards, 167 of which came in the final quarter. However, it’s worth noting that Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh was UVA’s head coach for nine seasons until he was fired last year, so he certainly had an element of familiarity. Still, it was an impressive performance, as the defense held UVA to 3-of-12 on third downs. Anthony Egbuniwe led the unit with seven tackles and posted one of the team’s four sacks on the day. On the season, Brad Jefferson leads the team with 36 tackles to go along with a pair of sacks. One area the Yellow Jackets need to make some more plays is against the pass, as they’ve managed only two interceptions on the year so far.
If the Blue Raiders have any hopes of pulling out a victory, they’ll need to avoid falling behind early. So far in their three ACC victories, the Yellow Jackets have allowed a total of 10 fourth-quarter points. The Blue Raiders will also need to create some points off turnovers, as they’ve managed just 10 points off turnovers this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Tech 34, Middle Tennessee 17
That's a really long title.
Comparing resumes: The Blue Raiders played Memphis and Minnesota close and whipped Austin Peay and Louisiana Lafayette, while their only major disappointment was a blowout last week at home against Troy.
In conference play Georgia Tech has beaten North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Virginia, though the win against the Cavs was the only resounding victory.
Still, if you have any reasons the resume edge doesn't go to the Jackets here, I'd be interested in reading them because that's quite a theory you've got there.
Blue Raiders to watch: Dwight Dasher returned to play last week against Troy, his first game of the season after being suspended for four games. He was mighty rusty, only producing 199 yards on 64 throws and rushes, but as Russell Wilson showed the Jackets can be susceptible to mobile quarterbacks. If he puts it together this week against Tech's young secondary, MTSU could put up some points.
His best game against a BCS opponent, from what I can gather, was a 350-yard, three-touchdown outburst at Maryland last year, when the Blue Raiders walked out with a win. He also ran for 201 yards against Southern Miss in last year's New Orleans Bowl win.
He does throw a really expressive amount of interceptions, not that the Blue Raiders didn't throw tons of picks without him in the lineup. It's probably best if we hope Dasher's not on his game yet, but we should see at least one interception coming Tech's way.
Regarding their defense, MTSU has given up over 120 rushing yards in every game this season, including 238 last week. I would comment on their passing defense, but that would be a waste of everyone's time in this case, as their passing defense will not need to be deployed.
Vegas says: Tech by 19. I'm still not comfortable betting on 2010 Tech beating anybody by 19 -- if South Carolina State had had a decent quarterback, they wouldn't have lost by less than 19. And Middle Tenny has a decent quarterback.
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