This Saturday's game means a lot to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and their fans. A year ago the Jackets went into Lawrence, Kansas ranked 15th and ready to cruise to what was perceived as a pretty easy win. Things didn't go quite as planned and the Jayhawks upset the Jackets 28-25 and the season went into a tailspin from their for the guys in Gold and White. This season Tech looks to prove that they are different this year and want to avenge last year's loss.
The Tech offense through two games has shown tremendous improvement. They have 5 plays of 70+ yards which tops not just any other team but any other conference (the SEC has 4). Optimism has been tempered still with Tech only playing FCS Western Carolina and Middle Tennessee State. Kansas will be the first BCS caliber opponent for the Jackets to display their offensive talents against. Stephen Hill leads Tech with 307 yards received and 3 touchdowns. Tevin Washington has shown himself as a legitimate passing threat completing 61.9% of his passes for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. He's also added 40 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.
The Kansas defense played some odd alignments last year and played the option fairly well. The Jackets couldn't capitalize against the risks Kansas was taking with their CBs and make them pay in th passing game. Tevin Washington looks to write a different script this year. Linebacker Steven Johnson leads the Jayhawks in tackles this year with 20 and should play an integral role in helping to defend the option on Saturday. The Jayhawks are giving up 33 points per game and have only played competition similar to the level that Tech has played.
The Kansas offense has a pretty good running game and are currently ranked 10th in the nation with 277 yards per game on the ground. QB Jordan Webb has had a pretty good year so far with 427 yards and 6 TDs passing. James Sims leads them at RB with 107 yards per game and 3 TDs. The Kansas backs are averaging ~5 yards per carry. The Georgia Tech defense had a tough time defending the Jayhawks last year and this year's Jayhawk offense looks to be improved.
The Tech defense looks to be improved as well and wants to prove that year 2 in Al Groh's defense will show enormous growth. The defense is playing faster and, as a result, is hitting harder. Jacket CBs are also playing more pressure coverage. Al Groh and staff hopes this leads to less points given up and more forced turnovers.
Kansas doesn't look to be a great team in 2011 but are certainly a big step up from Georgia Tech's first two opponents and should help Jacket fans to determine exactly how much improvement has occurred between 2010 and 2011. Revenge is certainly on Jacket fans' minds as well as many of the Jacket players. This Saturday could begin to draw clearer picture for how big of a factor GT can play in the 2011 ACC race.
- Tech has thrown 0 interceptions and Kansas has intercepted 0 passes.
- 40,000 tickets have been sold so far but the GTAA is hoping for a larger walk up crowd with weather in the 70s on Saturday.
- This is only the 3rd time the teams have met with the record at 1-1. GT beat Kansas in the 1948 Orange Bowl.