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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Duke 5-1, Georgia Tech 3-3. Away Record: Duke 1-3, Georgia Tech 2-2. Neutral Record: Duke 0-0, Georgia Tech 0-0. Conference Record: Duke 3-3, Georgia Tech 4-3. Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 48-30-1.
GAME NOTES: Duke and Georgia Tech are stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings and both will be looking to get a crucial win when the Blue Devils and the Yellow Jackets collide at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
The Blue Devils enter this game fresh off their first home loss of the season. Duke let No. 11 Clemson come into Wade Wallace Stadium and post a 56-20 victory. Duke's six win this season equals the total wins by Duke in the two previous seasons combined and is the most since 1994.
Georgia Tech was involved in a historic game last weekend. With the Yellow Jackets taking out North Carolina 68-50, the two squads set a record for the highest scoring game in ACC history. Georgia Tech's high-powered rushing attack was unstoppable, scoring seven touchdowns on the ground, while picking up 380 yards rushing. Still this season has largely been a wash for the Yellow Jackets who have split their 10 contests overall and are 4-3 in conference play.
A look at recent history between these squads illustrates just how poor Duke's football program has been in the last 20 seasons. Georgia Tech leads the all- time series 48-30-1 but has won eight consecutive games against the Blue Devils and 16 of the last 17 times in which they have met.
Duke hasn't piled up large yardage totals in comparison to the rest of the ACC. This season the Blue Devils are currently ranked ninth in the ACC in total offense (390.1. ypg). Yet the Blue Devils have made the most of their opportunities, scoring at a healthy 30.7 points per game clip. That type of scoring hasn't come due to the teams ability to score touchdowns in the red zone. Duke settles for field goals on 31.7 percent of its red zone trips, the second highest rate in the ACC.
The offense is led by Sean Renfree under center. Renfree has enjoyed an effective season, completing a strong 67.3 percent of his passes for 2,125 yards and 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions. Renfree threw for 240 yards against Clemson, while completing 23-of-29 pass attempts and had a touchdown and no interceptions.
Renfree has had the advantage of throwing to a talented receiving corps this season, highlighted by Conner Vernon (59 receptions, 808 yards, 5 TDs) and Jamison Crowder (60 receptions, 812 yards, 6 TDs).
The ground attack hasn't done much (1,200 yards). Jela Duncan (87 carries, 413 yards, 4 TDs) has been the primary back, while Josh Snead (67 carries, 318 yards, 2 TDs) has also been a contributor.
Duke's offense has often had to make up for the defense's lack of ability. Duke is dead last in the league in scoring defense (32.6 ppg) and just a bit better in total yards allowed (445.0 ypg).
Walt Canty has been one of the most dependable playmakers on defense with his team-leading 89 tackles. However, Ross Cockrell has been the real star of the unit with his conference-leading five interceptions and 16 passes defended, tops in the ACC.
By this time it should come as no surprise that Georgia Tech is a team that relies heavily on the run. The Yellow Jackets, along with teams like Army and Navy still employ a run-option attack. That dedication to the run has earned Georgia Tech the fourth most rushing yards in the nation this season (3,244). As a team, Georgia Tech has run the ball 554 times, while passing it on only 133 times.
Surprisingly enough the most productive rusher on the team has been the quarterback. Tevin Washington has rushed for 536 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, which easily leads the ACC and is seventh in the nation overall.
Orwin Smith (606 yards, 5 TDs) is the running back that has picked up the most yards but the Yellow Jackets have spread the attempts across the roster. Six different players have at least 20 carries and 140 yards this season. Four of those players have at least 70 carries and 470 yards.
Like Duke, Georgia Tech has suffered from an inability to present enough defensive resistance. The Yellow Jackets have allowed more than 400 yards per game this season and are better than only two teams in the ACC in terms of scoring defense (30.2 ppg).
There is no real standout player on the Georgia Tech defense. Isaiah Johnson leads the tam in tackles with 69, while Quayshawn Nealy has also reached the 60-tackle plateau (62). Jeremiah Attaochu has been the most effective pass rusher with a team-high five sacks. In the secondary Jemea Thomas has been the most productive, with 58 tackles and team-highs in interceptions (3) and pass breakups (six).
Georgia Tech is still in need of one more win to earn bowl eligibility. Getting there won't be as easy as in years past against Duke. However the Blue Devils won't have enough to slow down the Yellow Jackets on the ground in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome : Georgia Tech 34, Duke 24
11/14 10:38:38 ET
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