Previewing Maryland-Georgia Tech


Image from the AP.

Maryland has played approximately three halves of good football all year. Georgia Tech has blown anyone and everyone who dared stand in their way completely out of the water. Pretty straight forward, right? Let’s take a look at the units and see how the matchup will play out.

Maryland Passing Offense vs. Georgia Tech Passing Defense:

That boost that Maryland was supposed to get with the returns of Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree from suspension? Not so much. The two combined for four receptions for 39 yards as Danny O’Brien and the Maryland passing game struggled once again against Towson last week. The Terps currently rank 51st in the nation with 242.25 yards per game in the air, but are 86th with an efficiency rating of 120.98. Last week, you saw C.J. Brown come in for a drive at quarterback, and we feel confident predicting that he’ll have an even larger role in Saturday’s contest.

For how much they’ve been leading this season (and therefore how often teams have been forced to pass on them), Georgia Tech has pretty solid numbers in the pass defense. They rank 37th in the nation in passing yards allowed (200.4 per game), 49th in pass efficiency defense (123.81), and 19th in sacks (2.8 per game).

Off the edge, the Yellow Jackets start senior Jason Peters (16 tackles, two sacks) and junior Izaan Cross (12 tackles, one for a loss, three passes defended, one forced fumble). At corner, they start junior Rod Sweeting (24 tackles, two for a loss, one interception, five passes defended) and sophomore Louis Young (20 tackles, one for a loss, one pass defended), a former Good Counsel standout. At safety, they start sophomore Isaiah Johnson (25 tackles, one interception, one touchdown, two passes defended) and senior Rashaad Reid (17 tackles, one pass defended, one forced fumble).

Advantage: Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have been very good against the pass this year, and while they don’t have an overwhelming amount of playmakers, they have a solid secondary and two good rushers off the edge. Plus, Maryland’s pass offense has flat stunk over the past few weeks.

More after the jump.

Maryland Rushing Offense vs. Georgia Tech Rushing Defense:

The Terps currently rank 64th in rushing offense at a 145.5 per game clip, thanks to the coaching staff’s continued effort to attempt to stifle Maryland’s offense in any way possible. Davin Meggett (5.0 yards per carry) and Justus Pickett (4.6 yards per carry) have had very solid years, but the coaches have soured on D.J. Adams (14 touchdowns over the past year and a half) for unknown reasons. The Terps have struggled in the red zone, and their refusal to bring the big man into the game has only hurt their chances of scoring week after week.

Georgia Tech has been decidedly average against the run, giving up 144.4 yards per game on the ground (good for 60th in the nation, or exactly in the middle of the 120 FBS teams). In their 3-4 scheme, senior Logan Walls (18 tackles) is the nose tackle, with monstrous 6’7″ 347 pound junior T.J. Barnes (four tackles) backing him up. At outside linebacker, sophomore Jeremiah Attaochu (29 tackles, five for a loss, four sacks, one forced fumble) and senior Steven Sylvester (18 tackles, two for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble) are the starters, but Attaochu may miss the game with an injury. If he does, expect junior Malcolm Munroe (seven tackles, one sack) to fill in. At inside linebacker, junior Julian Burnett (48 tackles, four for a loss) and sophomore Daniel Drummond (24 tackles, one forced fumble) are the starters, but Drummond too may miss the game with an injury. If that’s the case, junior B.J. Machen (ten tackles, one interception) will take his place.

Advantage: Push. It all depends on Attaochu, and to some extent, Drummond. If Attaochu misses the game, Maryland may have the advantage against the Yellow Jackets’ running game. If he plays at full strength, Georgia Tech may be able to stifle the Terps’ attack.

Georgia Tech Passing Offense vs. Maryland Passing Defense:

Last season, writing “Georgia Tech Passing Offense” most likely would have induced laughter. This year, it’s no joke. While the Yellow Jackets rank 79th in the nation with 208.8 yards per game through the air, they are tops in the nation in pass efficiency with an unreal 260.48 mark. You can thank the presence of an actual option quarterback in junior Tevin Washington (31/54, 938 yards, ten touchdowns against one interception) and the emergence of a great target in junior Stephen Hill (15 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Their other starting receiver is senior Tyler Melton (three receptions for 78 yards), and their second leading receiver is junior A-Back Orwin Smith (six receptions for 202 yards and one touchdown).

For the Terps, they’ve given up 235.0 yards per game through the air (77th in the country) and are allowing opponents to post a passing efficiency rating of 133.23 (79th in the country). Off the edge, they have sophomore David Mackall (17 tackles, five for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles) and true freshman Keith Bowers (11 tackles, one for a loss). At corner, they start senior Cameron Chism (25 tackles, two for a loss, one interception, one touchdown, one fumble forced, one pass defended) and sophomore Dexter McDougle (15 tackles, one interception). The starting safeties are junior Eric Franklin (37 tackles, two for a loss, two passes defended) and freshman Titus Till (12 tackles, one for a loss), who just recently took over for injured Matt Robinson.

Advantage: Georgia Tech. David Mackall and Cameron Chism have had good years, but that’s about it. Maryland hasn’t been able to stop any effective air game (Stephen Morris and Geno Smith come to mind), and this should be no different.

Georgia Tech Rushing Offense vs. Maryland Rushing Defense:

As a triple option team, this is obviously where the Yellow Jackets make their living. Georgia Tech is currently on top of the nation with 378.2 rushing yards per game, and it’s not just one guy. Let’s run down the list:

Junior Orwin Smith – 28 carries for 423 yards and seven touchdowns

Sophomore David Sims – 52 carries for 349 yards and three touchdowns

Sophomore Synjyn Days – 40 carries for 219 yards and four touchdowns

Senior Roddy Jones – 21 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns

Junior Tevin Washington – 63 carries for 189 yards and four touchdowns

Senior Embry Peeples – 16 carries for 179 yards and one touchdown

Well, damn. For Maryland, two starters up the middle (defensive tackle Andre Monroe and linebacker Darin Drakeford) will miss the game, adding to the hurt. We don’t even have to go over the rest.

Advantage: Georgia Tech.

Maryland is the only ACC team Paul Johnson has not defeated yet, now in his fourth year at Georgia Tech. That’s quite the achievement. Do the Terps have a chance to stop the triple option from completing his run through the conference? Not likely. Georgia Tech 66, Maryland 20. The Yellow Jackets set at least one conference offensive record in the blowout.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Georgiatechyellowjackets Previews