It’s been two weeks since Georgia Tech has exercised its tricky triple option offense. The Yellow Jackets are getting fidgety, and they are more than ready for the next team on their schedule.
That opponent just happens to be the always dangerous and the pitchfork-tossing Blue Devils from Duke University. The Jackets and the Blue Devils will engage in a rite of passage, which is known as ACC football.
Georgia Tech and Duke, two fine colleges of learning, will not settle their differences in the library on Saturday. The Jackets and the Blue Devils will take their competitive nature to the field instead for a noon kickoff at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Both teams are in dire need of a win. Tech is 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the ACC. Duke is victory starved, too, at 3-4 on the season. Coach David Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils are 03 in ACC play.
Duke and Georgia Tech are in the lower half of the standings in the Coastal Division of the ACC. It’s dark down there. The Jackets and the Devils have some fences to mend, no doubt.
To the winner will go the spoils and the momentum. Tech is ready to jump on that right now. Tech, the running team, will play Duke, the passing team. These two old time ACC rivals don’t think alike, nor do they play alike.
Tech is rushing for 234 yards per game. Duke, the true “Blue Bloods” of the ACC, would much rather toss it than run it. The Blue Devils are averaging 232 yards per game through the air.
Sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones leads Duke with 1,584 yards passing and nine touchdowns. He has thrown eight interceptions. But Jones still completes most of his passes with a wide array of big-handed receivers.
The Blue Devils give almost everybody a touch, including senior receiver Anthony Nash (29 catches), sophomore T.J. Rahming (40 catches) and junior split end Johnathan Lloyd (21 receptions, two touchdowns).
When Duke does run the ball, either senior Jela Duncan (398 yards, four touchdowns) or junior tailback Shaun Wilson (80 carries, 264 yards) usually get the ball.
Georgia Tech, unlike Duke, likes to get from point A to point B with the triple option attack. Tech can run the ball like few other teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Senior quarterback Justin Thomas is the orchestra leader in the Tech backfield. He is a thinking man’s quarterback.
Thomas has good hands and good decisions. Thomas also has good moves. He’s a shifty runner, too, with 284 yards on 80 carries. Thomas has run for three touchdowns so far this season.
And surrounding Thomas are all kinds of speedy athletes, including Tech freshman halfback Dedrick Mills (446 yards rushing), junior Clinton Lynch (254 yards) and sophomore Marcus Marshall (39 carries, 230 yards).
Another option in this “run first” offense forTech is junior halfback Qua Searcy (21 carries, 118 yards). Searcy, the Barnesville native, has speed to burn. But few players on the Tech football team are faster than junior halfback J.J. Green, the University of Georgia transfer.
Green is gaining confidence and yards. On a good day, Green can run a 4.3 40yard dash. On a bad day, Green will run the 40 in 4.4 seconds. Green hopes to have a good day against the Blue Devils this Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer