TSX: Offense Carries Jackets

Paul Johnson might be enjoying coaching this team more than any other in his four-year tenure at Georgia Tech.

There's no star like Jonathan Dwyer or Anthony Allen to feed the ball to, just a plethora of capable options.

As the 21st-ranked Jackets (4-0, 1-0 ACC) prepare for their conference road opener at N.C. State (2-2, 0-1), they're brimming with confidence from an unprecedented offensive start. Tech leads the nation in scoring at 53.2 points per game and total offense at 630.5 yards per game.

The Jackets get to face a Wolfpack squad beset by defensive line injuries. N.C. State ranks 93rd in total defense (408.3 yards per game).

Johnson calls all the plays. He said his approach is different this year because he doesn't go into a game thinking of ways to get the ball to any one skill player.

"If they want to take away David Sims, you give it to Orwin Smith," Johnson said. "You're not tweaking it to get the ball to a certain individual so much as running the system."

Smith is averaging 18.4 yards a carry and has accounted for five touchdowns. Wide receiver Stephen Hill is averaging 33 yards a catch with four scores. Quarterback Tevin Washington has thrown for eight touchdowns and run for four more. Sims has added three rushing scores.

Stressing that he was not criticizing any of his other teams, Johnson called this group fun to coach. "They work hard, they don't complain," he said. "They want to be good so they listen. They try to do the things you want 'em to do."

And they should be 5-0 after their visit to Raleigh.

NOTES, QUOTES
-- Watch out for the Jackets' first offensive play. They scored a TD on it the first three games, then completed a 21-yard pass on it last week.

-- Tech is ranked No. 21 in both the AP and Coaches polls and is one of only two undefeated ACC teams along with Clemson.

-- The Jackets have converted at least 62 percent of their third downs in every game.

-- The Jackets have had a 100-yard receiver in every game.

SERIES HISTORY: Georgia Tech leads 17-10 and has won five of the last seven meetings. (Last meeting, 2010, N.C. State won 45-28).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Jackets lead the nation in total offense (630.5 ypg), scoring (53.2 ppg) and pass efficiency (283.6). They rank second in rushing (398.8 ypg). Led by two-time ACC offensive lineman of the week Omoregie Uzzi, the line is giving QB Tevin Washington much better protection than he got last year. And WRs Tyler Melton and Stephen Hill are blowing up DBs with their blocks, leading to long perimeter runs by A-back Orwin Smith (18.4 ypg).

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Jackets have forced eight turnovers, including two INTs by S Isaiah Johnson. But they continue to struggle on third down. Opponents are converting 46.4 percent, which ranks 10th in the ACC. Coaches blame missed tackles and miscommunication. OLB Jeremiah Attaochu had a coming-out party last week against the Tar Heels, getting three sacks, nine tackles, and a forced fumble. He also tipped a pass that Johnson intercepted.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This will probably be a way more hostile environment (than Middle Tennessee State). More people, bigger stadium. To this point, our guys have been able to focus pretty good on the task at hand." -- Coach Paul Johnson on his team's ACC road opener at N.C. State.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME:
Georgia Tech at N.C. State, Oct. 1 -- Coach Paul Johnson said last year's 45-28 home loss to the Wolfpack "sticks in your craw a little bit." The Jackets had a punt blocked for a TD, among other breakdowns. N.C. State is a much different team with Mike Glennon instead of the mobile and more polished Russell Wilson at quarterback. But Tech coaches say Glennon might have the strongest arm in the ACC.

KEYS TO THE GAME: N.C. State has been decimated by defensive line injuries, so the Jackets should pile up a ton of rushing yards. Opponents have tried to take away B-back David Sims so far, freeing up A-backs Orwin Smith and Roddy Jones on the perimeter. With the Wolfpack's interior in flux, this could be the game Sims breaks out. He's averaged 6.4 yards on 43 carries.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
OLB Jeremiah Attaochu --
N.C. State QB Mike Glennon isn't very mobile, which means he'll be an easy target for Tech's rising star. Attaochu's speed off the edge was eye-popping against UNC when he got three sacks and forced a fumble. Attaochu, ILB Julian Burnett and the starting secondary are on the field for every snap.

CBs Louis Young, Rod Sweeting -- The first-year starters have played well but face a tough challenge in covering N.C. State WR T.J. Graham, who averages 107 receiving yards. Sweeting has three pass breakups and an INT.

B-back David Sims -- With backup Preston Lyons possibly out again or at least limited, Sims likely will have to carry the load. He played all but one snap against UNC and held up well, gaining 71 yards on 13 carries and delivering the key block on QB Tevin Washington's game-winning TD run.

ROSTER REPORT
-- It is unclear who will handle kickoffs. Coach Paul Johnson said it's an open competition after Justin Moore and Chandler Anderson averaged under 60 yards on kickoffs against the Tar Heels.

-- No. 3 WR Jeff Greene will play after missing last week's game. No. 2 B-back Preston Lyons missed practice early in the week and could miss his second straight game. Neither injury was disclosed.

-- The Jackets will keep using a three-man rotation at the two offensive tackle positions, with Ray Beno, Phil Smith and Tyler Kidney splitting snaps fairly evenly.


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