Georgia Tech (1-0) at Duke (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 14, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) -- Durham, North Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Georgia Tech 1-0, Duke 1-0. Away Record: Georgia Tech 0-0, Duke 1-0. Neutral Record: Georgia Tech 0-0, Duke 0-0. Conference Record: Georgia Tech 0-0, Duke 0-0. Series Record: Georgia Tech leads, 49-30-1.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets look to continue their recent dominance of the Duke Blue Devils when the two teams open their respective Atlantic Coast Conference schedules at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Georgia Tech has won each of the last nine meetings to take a 49-30-1 edge in the head-to-head series.
If Duke hopes to snap that slide, it will have to do so without quarterback Anthony Boone, who is out indefinitely with a broken collarbone that he suffered in the second quarter of Saturday's 28-14 win over Memphis. Still, the Blue Devils are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 1998 and will have plenty of confidence entering this matchup. Beginning this week, they'll play four straight in Durham.
Georgia Tech was idle this past week. The Yellow Jackets set an ACC record for largest margin of victory in their season-opening, 70-0 win over Elon. They return 15 starters and 54 letterwinners from last year's team that won the ACC Coastal Division and beat USC in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
The Yellow Jackets set quite a few offensive records in their win over Elon. Among them were most players to score a touchdown (nine), highest percentage of third-down conversions (.869; 8-of-9), and largest lead after three quarters (63 points). Sophomore Vad Lee made his first career start and completed 7-of-11 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, while he also ran for 49 yards and a score. Although it was only one game against a FCS opponent, Lee's 267.96 passing efficiency currently tops the nation. That is a notable stat considering the Yellow Jackets have rushed for more yards than any FBS team since 2008. Of course, the flexbone offense still managed to churn out 368 yards (7.4 ypc) and six TDs on the ground against Elon and the team enters the season's third week ranked third nationally in rushing offense (368.0).
Georgia Tech's shutout win was its first since 2008 which, coincidentally, came against Duke (27-0). Tyler Marcordes and Chris Milton both scored on long interception returns, as the Yellow Jackets set a school record for most interception return yards in a game (173). Tech recovered a fumble on the game's second play from scrimmage, and minutes later the Yellow Jackets blocked a punt. Those big plays in the early going helped set the tone, and the Phoenix were never able to get anything going offensively. Elon made only one trip inside the red zone for the game. Brandon Watts paced the Tech defense with nine tackles, while Quayshawn Nealy chipped in with eight stops and a pass breakup.
The good news for Duke is that Boone will not need surgery to repair his broken collarbone, although no timetable has been set for his return. All- purpose specialist Brandon Connette will get the start this week after taking over in the second quarter against Memphis and throwing for 198 yards (14- of-21) and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. The Blue Devils are down to freshman Parker Boehme as the backup. While Connette was able to spread the ball around, he also showed a solid chemistry with big-play wideout Jamison Crowder, who finished with a game-high 140 yards on 11 catches. All told, the Blue Devils racked up 25 first downs and 470 yards of total offense against Memphis, as they converted 10-of-18 third downs and came away with touchdowns on both of their trips inside the red zone.
Like Georgia Tech, the Blue Devils also pitched a shutout in their season opener as they knocked off NC Central by a 45-0 margin two weekends ago. They followed that up with another strong defensive showing at Memphis this past weekend. In that game, they held the Tigers to only 12 first downs and 237 total yards from scrimmage. Memphis converted only 2-of-13 third downs and was 0-for-4 on fourth down, as Duke won the time-of-possession battle by nearly 10 minutes. The Blue Devils yielded only one yard in the second quarter and they held Memphis without a first down from the first quarter to the midway point of the third. They also recovered a pair of fumbles on the day. Kelby Brown and David Helton shared team-high honors with seven tackles apiece.
Georgia Tech has had the upper hand in this series of late, but Duke looks like a different team this year, particularly on defense. Lee was solid in his first start but could struggle to replicate that success in a tough road environment.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 27, Georgia Tech 24
09/11 10:34:17 ET