The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets offense is better than it was last year. Perhaps you've heard. Just how good is it? Not easy to say, considering the competition Tech has played, but N.C. State blog Backing The Pack presents one piece of statistical evidence on the matter:
vs. MTSU 2010: 5.8 yds/play
vs. MTSU 2011: 7.9 yds/play
vs. KU 2010: 6.1
vs. KU 2011: 13.5
vs. UNC 2010: 6.7
vs. UNC 2011: 6.9
Wolfpack fans are uneasy, given Tech's sudden prowess and the Pack's banged-up defensive line. So far this year, N.C. State is giving up 5.7 yards per play, .5 more than UNC is after having played the Jackets. Kansas and Middle Tennessee are among the worst 12 defenses in the country in that regard, but both have performed better against other opponents than they did against the White and Gold. (Gaww I hope so.)
Last year, State held Joshua Nesbitt's attack to only 5.5 yards per play, keyed by a typically aggressive Jon Tenuta-powered defense and a monstrous 16-tackle, two-sack, 4.5-TFL performance by Nate Irving. At one point, Irving blew up an end-around attempt and then stalked around the backfield, shaking his head in deliberate slow motion.
Irving is now a member of the Denver Broncos.