2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 11, Virginia Tech at Ga Tech
ACC Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 10 Virginia Tech 37 … at Georgia Tech 26
Nov. 10 Virginia Tech 37 … at Georgia Tech 26
CFN Analysis: Logan Thomas was starting to come on and has been playing better and better, and then he came up with this. With 209 yards and three scores on just seven completions, and with 70 rushing yards and two scores, he maintained control of the game throughout against a team that lives on keeping control of the ball. Ever since the Miami game, he has showed he could be the quarterback of an ACC champion, and next year, possibly more. … David Wilson belongs on the Doak Walker short list. He didn’t carry the Hokies, but he gouged the Yellow Jackets. … The defense couldn’t figure out the Georgia Tech offense to stop it cold, but it won its share of battles. … It’s not just about winning the ACC title, it’s about going for a BCS game. If the Hokies beat North Carolina and Virginia to go 11-1, they deserve a BCS bid no matter what.
The offense worked, and Tevin Washington was fantastic, but the defense couldn’t come up with the key stops in the second half. Washington did what he could with three touchdown runs and 5-of-10, 97 yards passing, but the offense didn’t control the clock. The Yellow Jackets need to own time of possession, but they had the ball for just under 26 minutes. … Julian Burnett was popping. Like the rest of the defense he made too many plays down the field, but he finished with 13 tackles with 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. … With losses in three of the last four games, beating Duke is a must before dealing with Georgia. A win over the Dawgs would close out a strong bounceback year, while winning two straight would keep hope alive for a ten-win season.
(AP) ATLANTA -- Logan Thomas was bigger than most of the guys trying to tackle him. Georgia Tech simply couldn't bring down Virginia Tech's towering quarterback, even resorting to throwing a punch.
When Thomas was done, Virginia Tech had a clear path to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
The 6-foot-6, 254-pound sophomore accounted for five touchdowns, while David Wilson rushed for a career-best 175 yards as the No. 10 Hokies eliminated Georgia Tech (No. 21 BCS, No. 20 AP) from the ACC race with a 37-26 victory Thursday night.
"When you get to November, you want to be playing for something," said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. "You want to be playing for championships. And these guys have put us in that position."
Thomas threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores. Wilson had his seventh straight 100-yard game, already the longest streak of Beamer's quarter-century as coach.
The teams went back and forth through the second and third quarters, scoring on eight of nine possessions in one stretch. But Virginia Tech (9-1, 5-1 ACC) took advantage of a huge personal foul on Jeremiah Attaochu and a fourth-down gamble by Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson that didn't pay off.
The Yellow Jackets (7-3, 4-3) were eliminated from the Coastal Division race, while Virginia Tech can assure its fifth division title in seven years by winning the next two games.
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington ran for three touchdowns, but the Hokies took the lead for good on Thomas' 12-yard run in the final minute of the third quarter. The play was typical for the big QB, who simply lowered his head and bulled his way to the end zone. The Yellow Jackets just couldn't bring him down.
"He's a load," Beamer said.
Added Thomas, "We just keep battling and battling."
That touchdown was set up by Attaochu's huge blunder, which extended a possession that seemed to be over deep in Virginia Tech territory. On third-and-19 from his own 17, Thomas was flushed out of the pocket and corralled by several Georgia Tech defenders. But he wouldn't go down and, apparently out of frustration, Attaochu threw a punch into the side of the quarterback's helmet.
"I just had an overdose of adrenalin," said Attaochu, insisting he was actually trying to cause a fumble though he didn't come close to the ball. "When I made contact with him, I was mad he wouldn't go down."
Instead of a knockout, he drew a personal foul gave Virginia Tech a first down -- and very well could lead to a suspension for Attaochu after the ACC reviews the play. More important on this night, Wilson got loose for a 44-yard run and Thomas scored on a third-and-1 play that was designed to merely pick up the first down. He took it all the way to the end zone, giving the Hokies a 27-26 lead after a two-point pass was incomplete.
Then, it was Johnson who left himself open to second guessing when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 at his own 31 early in the fourth. Washington tried to get it on a keeper, but he was stopped about a foot short.
"I felt like we needed to score," Johnson said. "I thought we could make a yard and we didn't."
For there, Virginia Tech moved in for the kill. The Hokies converted their own fourth-and-1, but that was an easier to call with make with Thomas to carry it. He bulled his way for a 5-yard gain, then hooked up with Chris Drager for his first career touchdown, a 14-yard pass on third down that made it 34-26.
"We've faced some good ones," said Georgia Tech linebacker Julian Burnett, who gave away 8 inches and 32 pounds to the opposing quarterback. "Probably not as big and strong as that guy."
Cody Journell sealed the victory, knocking through a 23-yard field goal with 3:02 remaining.
"When you get two good football teams together, you're going to have some momentum swings like that," Beamer said. "I'm glad we got the last one."
After a wild final minute to the second quarter, in which the teams combined for three scores that left Virginia Tech with a 21-13 lead, the Yellow Jackets took the second-half kickoff and drove it right down the field.
Washington broke off a 35-yard run and also benefited from a personal foul penalty on Jack Tyler, who whacked Embry Peeples as he was running out of bounds, sending him flying toward the Yellow Jackets bench while yellow flags flew in from all directions. Washington finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run, but he was stuffed on a 2-point conversion to leave Georgia Tech trailing 21-19.
No one, it seemed, could stop anyone at that point, but Virginia Tech stopped itself. With the Hokies driving for another score, Wilson had the ball stripped away by Burnett and Isaiah Johnson recovered at the 16 for the Yellow Jackets.
Back came Georgia Tech, reclaiming the lead with lightning-quick 84-yard drive that took only seven plays. Peeples went down the sideline for a 39-yard run and Washington nearly took it in with a 29-yard gain, before finishing it off with his third TD of the night on a 1-yard dive.
That would be the last hurrah for the Yellow Jackets, who were coming off an upset of then-unbeaten Clemson that sent fans storming the field at Bobby Dodd Stadium. This time, they filed out quietly on a cold night, while Virginia Tech and its contingent of fans celebrated the Hokies extending their ACC-record road winning streak to 12 in a row -- currently the nation's longest run of success away from home.
The winner of this game has gone on to take every Coastal Division title, and Virginia Tech controls the race now. Rival Virginia, with two ACC losses, is the only team that still has a chance to catch the Hokies.
"We worked all season to work our way back in the ACC," Washington said. "It's just a letdown. But there's nothing we can do now but go out and try to win the next two and try to put ourselves in position to just have a decent record."
Virginia Tech was up 14-7 before a back-and-forth finish to the half.
Georgia Tech drove for Justin Moore's 41-yard field goal with exactly 1 minute left. After the ensuing kickoff, Thomas threw deep to Coale on the very first snap. The receiver beat Louis Young, cut back to avoid Rashaad Reid and dove over the goal line after a desperation trip by Rod Sweeting for a 63-yard touchdown.
But the Yellow Jackets weren't done, either. Washington connected with Stephen Hill on a 41-yard pass and Moore booted through another field goal on the final play of the half, this one from 36 yards to cut the Hokies' lead.
Virginia Tech (8-1) at Georgia Tech (7-2) Nov. 10, 8:00, ESPN
Here’s The Deal … Likely Atlantic Division winner Clemson is waiting for a dance partner in the Dec. 3 ACC Championship Game. This Thursday night’s showdown in Atlanta will go a long way toward determining who that opponent will be.
Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech are separated by just a half game in the Coastal Division race, setting the pace in this sector of the conference since early in the year. The Hokies are the defending champs, but the Yellow Jackets copped the title a year earlier in 2009. And is the only team in 2011 to have knocked off Clemson, outscoring the Tigers, 31-17, before heading into last week’s bye. It was an unexpected turn of events for a squad that had played so poorly in back-to-back losses to Virginia and Miami leading up to the game. So which is the real Ramblin’ Wreck, the one that exploded out of the chute in September, or the one that sputtered for the better part of October?
Virginia Tech has been a rock since joining the ACC, wearing the conference crown four times, including in 2010. It’s the steady force that never rebuilds under head coach Frank Beamer, and is perennially in the hunt for league supremacy. The only blemish on the 2011 record came at the hands of Clemson, the same team Georgia Tech handled by two touchdowns two weeks ago. Hmm. There’s also some concern that the Gobblers did not look sharp in beating Duke, 14-10, prior to going on hiatus. The Yellow Jackets will be seeking redemption after losing last November’s game in Blacksburg on a 90-yard kickoff return late in the final quarter.
Why Virginia Tech Might Win: The Hokies will enjoy the most important ingredient to slowing down the vaunted Yellow Jackets ground game … time.
With almost an extra week to prepare, the defense has a markedly better shot of figuring out the nuances of head coach Paul Johnson’s option system. Even with some ill-timed injuries to the linebacker corps, Virginia Tech is still giving up just 15 points a game, and ranks among the nation’s leaders at stopping the run. Opponents are gaining just 2.9 yards a carry, struggling to get past the pressure of ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins, LB Tariq Edwards and CB Kyle Fuller. Georgia Tech has its own worries in run D this week, such as slowing down RB David Wilson. The Jackets have been spotty at the point of attack this fall, which could provide the impetus for No. 4, who’s gone for 100 yards all but one time, to take this game over.
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: No amount of time will help Virginia Tech if Georgia Tech plays the way it did two weeks ago.
It was vintage Yellow Jackets in the Clemson upset, cranking out 383 well-balanced yards and four scores on the ground. The depleted Hokies must contend with QB Tevin Washington and runners Orwin Smith and David Sims, to name just three options. Over on the other sideline, Wilson better be on his game, because it could be a long evening for young Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas. Precious few passers, including Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, have been prolific when facing the Georgia Tech secondary. Fueled by the coverage skills of S Isaiah Johnson and corners Louis Young and Rod Sweeting, the ACC’s top-ranked pass defense has more picks than touchdown passes allowed.
What To Watch Out For: Naturally, the focus on both sides will be to establish the run, but making something happen through the air will also be critical. The staffs at Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech desperately want to pop a couple of early long balls in order to loosen up the area in the box. Each has dangerous long-ball threats, who’ll probably continue their careers on Sundays. Washington will want to get the ball to 30-yard-per-catch WR Stephen Hill, the object of Fuller’s and CB Jayron Hosley’s attention. Thomas has multiple options, including Jarrett Boykin, Danny Coale and super-sized Marcus Davis. Neither team wants to be predictable or one-dimensional, which will require the quarterbacks to be more than just distributors to the running backs.
What Will Happen: Ten days is a little too much time for Virginia Tech coordinator Bud Foster to prepare a blueprint for defensive success.
While it’s certainly possible that Georgia Tech can deliver back-to-back “A” games, it’s just not likely against this opponent. The Hokies are a seasoned group, from the roster to the staff, and one that revels in these types of electric, high-stakes settings. Even with the new linebackers, they’ve got the athletes to string out the Yellow Jackets runners, especially now that Washington has devolved into a complete non-factor as a passer. While Virginia Tech won’t flourish offensively, it will get just enough out of Wilson on the ground and Thomas on short routes to outscore its host in a competitive, nip-and-tuck game. While the Clemson win looms fresh in everyone’s mind, this is still the same Georgia Tech team that played so poorly on offense in consecutive October games with Maryland, Virginia and Miami.
CFN Prediction: Virginia Tech 28 … Georgia Tech 24
Click For Latest Line From ATS: Virginia Tech -1 O/U: 49.5
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