Scouting the Yellow Jackets

More than halfway through the season, Georgia Tech has finally reached the heart of its schedule.

The Yellow Jackets (5-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) control their destiny. Their fate hinges on the next three games: Saturday at Clemson, Nov. 4 at Virginia Tech and Nov. 13 vs. Miami. If Tech wins all three, it will again represent the Coastal Division in the ACC championship game.

Tech enters this critical stretch with good vibes, having scored 75 points over the past two games. Playmakers are emerging on defense. Safety Jerrard Tarrant picked off two more passes in the win over Middle Tennessee State. The defense forced six turnovers for the first time since a 2008 win over Clemson.

"I think we are getting better, and we are going to have to because we are starting to hit the meat of our schedule," coach Paul Johnson said.

If the game Saturday is close, as expected, the Jackets could have an edge in the kicking game. Not only is Scott Blair 9-for-10 on field goals this season, he hit all seven of his tries against the Tigers last year.

"It will be fun. It's a fun stadium to play in," Blair said. "They're always a good team. Every time I've played them here it's been a close game. So I expect a close game and hopefully it will come down to a field goal. I'll be ready for it.

"I guess playing certain teams you know your field goals are going to count, be a little more relevant at the end of the game," he added. "So you put a little more pressure on them. I tend to do a little better in those situations. So I've been working on putting more pressure on myself for every field goal."

FRIDAY NOTES: Georgia Tech currently ranks second nationally in rushing at 328.1 yards per game. However The Yellow Jackets are 119th in passing at 85 yards per game.

* The Yellow Jackets have put up 75 points and 951 yards the last two weeks. B-back Anthony Allen has run for five touchdowns in those games.

* Senior quarterback Joshua Nesbitt has 33 career rushing touchdowns, four more than any other quarterback in ACC history.

* Safety Jerrard Tarrant, who was moved from cornerback before the season, has three of Tech's six interceptions.

SERIES HISTORY: Georgia Tech leads Clemson 49-24-2 (last meeting, 2009 ACC championship game, 39-34 Georgia Teach).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Yellow Jackets rank second nationally in rushing (328.1 yards per game), and they're averaging a healthy 31.9 points per game. Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt (92.7 yards per game) and B-back Anthony Allen (85.7) rank second and fourth respectively in the ACC. They've combined for 13 rushing scores. But the passing game has been erratic. Drops have been a recurring problem. At least three passes were dropped in last week's win over Middle Tennessee State.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Tech is giving up 23.1 points per game, but this unit has shown steady improvement under new coordinator Al Groh. Several playmakers are emerging, led by safety Jerrard Tarrant (two interceptions last week) and linebacker Julian Burnett (seven unassisted tackles, one interception). Linebacker Brad Jefferson has a team-high 42 tackles and four sacks. Saturday's game at Clemson represents Tech's toughest test since the Jackets were picked apart by N.C. State. Top Stories