Tech by the numbers

Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter contributed one third-down conversion Saturday with a 21-yard run on a reverse. (HYOSUB SHIN/AJC)

Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter contributed one third-down conversion play Saturday with a 21-yard run on a reverse. (HYOSUB SHIN/AJC)

1. Georgia Tech was 7-for-11 on third downs against Duke, improving its third-down efficiency to 58.9, first in the country. Tech is well ahead of its highest recorded rate, 53.9 percent in 2011.

Against Duke, Tech was 5-for-6 on third downs between one and 5 yards, 0-for-3 between 6 and 10 yards and 2-for-2 from 11 yards and beyond.

During coach Paul Johnson’s tenure, Tech has finished, starting in 2008, 84th, first, 56th, second, 31st and fourth in FBS.

2. Quarterback Justin Thomas’ 119 rushing yards against Duke increased his season average to 98.2 yards per game. Assuming a bowl game, that puts Thomas on track for 1,276 yards for the season, which would break the ACC single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback, held by Clemson’s Woody Dantzler (1,061 in 2001 in 12 games). Tevin Washington holds Tech’s record at 1,037 in 2009 (13 games).

He is second in the country in rushing yards per game for a quarterback, trailing only Boston College’s Tyler Murphy (118.5), and is 33rd among all players. He is fourth among all players in the ACC.

3. B-back Zach Laskey is 46th in the country and fifth in the ACC at 86.8 rushing yards per game. He remains on track to become the first Tech running back to clear 1,000 yards for a season since B-back Anthony Allen in 2010. Including a bowl game, Laskey is on track to finish at 1,128 yards, which would be 13th all-time at Tech.

Tech has had two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season just one time, Jonathan Dwyer and Joshua Nesbitt in 2009.

4. With kickoff returns of 68 and 51 yards, return specialist Jamal Golden jumped to a tie for sixth in the country and first in the ACC in kickoff return average at 31 yards per return. Golden’s average prior to Saturday was 26.2 yards. His past four returns, against Miami and Duke, averaged 46.5 yards.

5. Kicker Harrison Butker ended his confounding run of misses from close range with makes from 26 and 27 yards. Butker had been 2-for-5 inside 40 yards before the game. He had a miss from 52 yards, his longest attempt of the season from beyond 46 yards. He is 6-for-10 for the season.

He was 4-for-4 on touchbacks, raising his touchback percentage to 64.18, 10th in the country. He was 30-for-73 (41 percent) last season.

6. Saturday was Tech’s first game without a sack since the Wofford game, and the first game without a forced fumble since the Tulane game.

Tech has eight players with an interception, which is tied for second most in the country. The Jackets have eight interceptions, tied for 22nd in the country, but are tied for 79th in forced fumbles with four and tied for 113th in fumbles recovered with one.

7. Tech has seven sacks this season, last in the ACC. The Jackets are 13th in pass attempts per sack at 22.9. Rather interestingly, the only ACC team with a higher number is Florida State, which has a nearly identical rate (22.875 for FSU vs. 22.857 for the Jackets). North Carolina is 12th at 22.7. After that, the rest of the league is between 7.2 (Virginia Tech) and 17.9 (Duke).

8. Linebacker Quayshawn Nealy had a season-high 10 tackles against Duke, including two for loss. Linebacker Paul Davis had eight, one for loss. Davis is 20th in the ACC in tackles with 7.2. Nealy is tied for 24th at 6.7.

9. Defensive end KeShun Freeman had another tackle for loss, giving him five for the season. He has had one in all but one game this season. He is tied for 22nd in the ACC and tied for first among freshmen. Nealy is tied with Freeman with five tackles for loss.

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