In Week 2 of the beautiful college football season, Georgia Tech defeated Middle Tennessee State University 49-21. We've all had time to formulate our thoughts on the game and with a 2-0 start to the season I think that everyone should be feeling good about the team overall. Things are improving and I'll show you where after the jump!
Last week, we went over some of the numbers (YPP, TO margin, etc) from last season and where Georgia Tech fell in comparison to the national averages, both offensively and defensively. We also went over the results of the first game of the season against Western Carolina University. Now we can look at this past weeks results against Middle Tennessee State University and see how that affects the overall numbers.
First the offense. GT rushed for 382 yards on 65 attempts (5.88 ypp) and threw for 214 yards on just 10 attempts (21.4 ypp) for a total of 7.95 ypp. They also scored 49 points taking 75 total plays to do so for 0.65 ppp. For the season that puts us at 9.05 total ypp (1st), 6.01 ypp rushing (8th), 22.27 ypp passing (1st), and 0.81 ppp (2nd). Compared to last year's averages, that currently about 0.5 ypp better rushing, 16 ypp better passing, and 0.5 ppp better overall.
Now for the defense. Al Groh's 3-4 allowed 147 yards rushing on 29 attempts (5.07 ypp) and 195 yards on 35 attempts (5.57 ypp) for a total of 5.34 ypp. They also gave up 21 points on 64 plays for 0.33 ppp. For the season that puts the Tech defense allowing 4.56 total ypp (34th), 3.64 ypp against the rush (60th), 5.44 ypp against the pass (22nd), and 0.3 ppp. Currently that's about 1 ypp better against the rush, 2 ypp better against the pass, and 0.1 ppp better than last years defense.
3rd down, 4th down, and RZ conversion percentages were all excellent as GT went 8-12, 2-2, and 5-5 respectively. All three are much better than last years numbers and I think we can reasonably expect those number to stay high throughout the season as the Paul Johnson triple option is very efficient at getting those crucial first downs when needed. If I had to choose one to watch, it would be the red zone numbers because I believe that the better defenses Tech will face later in the season will have an impact on our scoring ability within the 20's and because the kicker at this point is still an unknown. The only attempt made so far is the one that was blocked and returned for a TD against WCU.
Tech also found itself on the positive side of the turnover margin again with a +2 against MTSU putting them at +3 for the year. In my opinion it is absolutely crucial to maintain this because one of the biggest issues with this team last season was holding onto the ball as the team ended with a -6 on the year in TO margin.
The disclaimer here is that it's A) a small sample size, and B) the defenses and offenses that Tech will face going forward will get increasingly better and these numbers should be expected to come closer to the norm. Unless, of course, they stay this good against all opponents and just roll through the season, but that would be very optimistic.
So, essentially the numbers look good so far and we should be happy with the results. I know I am and I just hope that it continues through to the Kansas game. The players should be feeling confident and the coaches should be pleased with all the work that went into making this start to the season possible. What I'd like to see next is more of the 3-4 defense from Al Groh. I have seen about 3-4 blitzes in the first two games with very little stunts going on. I'm sure that he is being conservative because he doesn't need to be agressive against teams like WCU and MTSU, but it would be nice to see him unleash the linebackers on Kansas. The offense is fine, but the special teams still has work to do. They are still allowing too many yards on kickoff returns (21.25 yds per - 66th). If this team is going to score a ton of points, then they need to practice kickoff return coverage more often than they do. Those two should go hand-in-hand.
Other than that, TO HELL WITH KANSAS! Any thoughts?