Week 4 was the beginning of ACC action for Georgia Tech as they faced off against the University of North Carolina Tarheels. Heading into the game, Tech led the nation in a number of offensive categories (scoring, total offense, etc.) while UNC had one of the top ten defenses (7th). The two biggest questions were if the vaunted UNC defense could actually stop the option and if Tech's defense could get enough stops to let the offense take over.
Follow after the jump and see how we did.
I know we've discussed the kickoffs lately in this series, but at this point, I'm not sure what to tell you anymore. The kickers we have are who they are and I think it's obviously something that they will have to address during the offseason through recruiting. This game specifically had the worst kickoff yardline average of the four games we've played, that being the 13.57 yardline. The next closest was the MTSU game which was the 8.5 yardline. Besides the opening kick, Moore handled the kicking duties entirely, one of which didn't make it past the 25 yardline (seriously). The average start off kickoffs for UNC was the 31.71 yardline.
Again, I think this is just what we should expect for the rest of the season. How long it takes before it bites us is the question. If I had to guess, I'd go with either Clemson or VPI being the top candidates to burn us on a short kick. Until I see some significant change, positive or negative, there's really nothing more to it.
So, on that note, let's dive into what we all like, the ridiculous offensive numbers! GT rushed 58 times for 312 yards with a total of 5.38 ypp. They passed 14 times for 184 yards with a total of 13.14 ypp. All were single-game lows for the season thus far, which was to be expected. However, that's still almost 500 total yards (496, but who's counting right?) at 6.89 ypp against a top ten defense. The 35 points came at 0.49 ppp, also a single-game low.
That still puts GT 1st in total points, 2nd in pts/g & ppp, ypp, and yds/g. We absolutely left seven points on the field with the drop by Stephen Hill, so those numbers could have been even better. I'd say that answers the first question with a confident 'no', UNC's defense couldn't stop the option that day.
Now, on to the defense. UNC rushed 27 times for 128 yards with a total of 4.74 ypp. They also threw 25 passes for 204 yards with a total of 8.16 ypp. That's 332 total yards at 6.38 ypp. While watching this game, I felt like they were allowing way too many yards per play and in fact, that caused me some slight hesitation in ranking them any higher than 15 in the recent blogpoll. After looking at the number again, I'm actually quite pleased and here's why.
No one is saying that UNC's offense is a top ten outfit, but I think we all would expect it to be better than 1-2 FCS team right? Turns out, it might not be or maybe our defense is better than we think. Until Giovani Bernard broke off a 55-yard run with a little over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Tech defense had held UNC to under roughly 75 yards total rushing for 2.81 ypp, which would have had our defense only allowing 5.43 ypp total. To put that into perspective, UNC would have rushed for less yards and for about the same rushing ypp total than Western Carolina University did in week one. In fact, UNC only gained seven more yards passing than WCU and only 31 more total yards than WCU. Sure, the defense needs to work on reducing the amount of bending it does, but overall, I think they performed well against UNC.
Finally, GT went 10-16 on 3rd downs against UNC and attempted no 4th down conversions. We also were stopped twice in the redzone going 4-6. That puts us at 68% on 3rd downs, 75% on 4th downs, and 90.48% in the redzone.
Next up is NCST. Yeah, well we saw what Cincy did to them. I can't wait to see the numbers we put up.
To Hell with NCST!