Scouting Georgia Tech: How the Yellow Jackets win...

Keep the football, strike from distance, keep it close

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson talks to quarterback Tevin Washington during second half of an NCAA college football game against Miami, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 in Miami. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 24-7. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson talks to quarterback Tevin Washington during second half of an NCAA college football game against Miami, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 in Miami. Miami defeated Georgia Tech 24-7. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Scouting Georgia Tech: How the Yellow Jackets win…

Keep the football: Possession is always important to Georgia Tech, and the Yellow Jackets can strike with a two-edged sword by keeping Clemson’s high-powered offense on the sidelines. So far this season, Tech has had 10 drives of at least 84 yards and five touchdown drives of seven minutes or longer. Against Middle Tennessee, the Yellow Jackets ate up nearly a third of the game with two possessions: a 98-yard, 17-play, 9:25 drive early, and then a 73-yard, 16-play drive in 9:47 late.

Strike from distance: Complementing Tech’s ability to keep the football, move the chains and run the clock is its quick-strike capability. In their first seven games, the Yellow Jackets had eight one-play touchdown possessions, and so far have 14 touchdown plays of 20 yards or more and 10 touchdowns of at least 50 yards. Those ingredients were missing in Tech’s losses to Virginia and Miami.

Mix it up: The throwing game has been part of the main course on Tech’s offensive menu this season. The Yellow Jackets have thrown at least two touchdown passes in a game four times this season, but have struggled lately – just 9 of 22 for 102 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions the past two weeks.

Keep it close: The Yellow Jackets are 12-3 under Paul Johnson in games decided by five points or less.

Score and score again: Prior to scoring just once against Miami, Tech had scored touchdowns on nearly half of its possessions this season – 41 TDs in 85 chances through seven games.

Get a pick: Georgia Tech already has as many interceptions this season (8) as it had all last year, and the Yellow Jackets rank 14th nationally in pass defense. The Yellow Jackets are perfecting coordinator Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme, in which Tech often drops eight players into pass coverage.

Strike early: Tech scored on its opening possession in its first six games this season – all victories.

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