Breaking down the rushing attacks Georgia Tech will face

September 19, 2015  South Bend, Indiana - Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Chris Brown (2) gets double coverage from Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Demond Smith (12) and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets linebacker P.J. Davis (40) in the first half at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday, September 19, 2015. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

September 19, 2015 South Bend, Indiana – Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Chris Brown (2) gets double coverage from Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Demond Smith (12) and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets linebacker P.J. Davis (40) in the first half at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday, September 19, 2015. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Breaking down the run offenses that Georgia Tech will face this season:

The Yellow Jackets defense gave up an average of 165.1 rushing yards per game on 4.7 yards per carry. Despite 161 fewer attempts, opponents had 24 rushing touchdowns to Tech’s 30

Here’s a look at the run defenses Tech will face this season.

 

Boston College

Rushing yards per game last season: 164.4.

NCAA rank: 74.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: The teams didn’t meet last season.

Starters returning: 7.

Date of game: Sept. 3 in Dublin, Ireland.

Comment: The Eagles return three running backs who rushed for at least 259 yards, including Jeff Smith (71/450), Tyler Rouse (101/426) and Myles Willis (67/259). They also return three starting offensive linemen as well as their tight end.

Mercer

Rushing yards per game last season: 212.5 on the FCS level.

NCAA rank: 20 on the FCS level.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: The teams last met in 1938.

Starters returning: 10.

Date of game: Sept. 10.

Comment: Running back Alex Lakes rushed for 692 yards and seven touchdowns last season. The team lost Tee Mitchell, who led the Bears with 946 yards.

Vanderbilt

Rushing yards per game last season: 154.7.

NCAA rank: 87.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: The teams didn’t play last season.

Starters returning: 8.

Date of game: Sept. 17.

Comment: The Commodores return Ralph Webb, who is already No. 8 on the school’s all-time rushing list. The team also returns three starters on the offensive line, including Will Holden and Andrew Jelks, who have 44 starts between them. Jelks missed last season because of an injury. Three players who have started at guard also return.

Clemson

Rushing yards per game last season: 223.

NCAA rank: 21.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: 201 in a 43-24 Tigers win in Clemson.

Starters returning: 9 who have started.

Date of game: Sept. 22.

Comment: Eight of the nine returning starters have been named all-ACC, the most in school history. The group is led, of course, by DeShaun Watson, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season. The line features a freshman All-American tackle, Mitch Hyatt, and two all-conference players, Jay Guillermo and Tyrone Crowder. The running backs are led by Wayne Gallman, who set the single-season school record last year with 1,527 yards.

Miami

Rushing yards per game last season: 119.1.

NCAA rank: 117.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: 86 in a 38-21 Miami win in Miami Gardens.

Starters returning: 9.

Date of game: Oct. 1.

Comment: The Hurricanes return 1,000-yard rusher Joe Yearby, as well as Mark Walton, who rushed for 461 yards last season. They also return five players on the line who started at least seven games last season. In total, they have made 85 starts. Of course, there’s also quarterback Brad Kaaya

At Pittsburgh

Rushing yards per game last season: 186.8.

NCAA rank: 44.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: 200 in a 31-28 Panthers’ win at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Starters returning: 8.

Date of game: Oct. 8.

Comment: The offense returns all-ACC tackle Adam Bisnowaty, guard Adrian Johnson, tackle Brian O’Neill and running back Qadree Ollison, who rushed for more than 1,100 yards with 11 touchdowns. Running back James Conner also will return.

Vs. Georgia Southern

Rushing yards per game last season: 363.

NCAA rank: 1.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: The teams didn’t play last season.

Starters returning: 6.

Date of game: Oct. 15

Comment: The group includes quarterback Kevin Ellison, running back Matt Breida and three offensive linemen. Breida averaged 123.7 rushing yards per game, and Ellison averaged 64.4 yards. The Eagles have 109 rushing touchdowns and 9,292 rushing yards, the most in the FBS during the past two seasons.

Vs. Duke

Rushing yards per game last season: 192.9.

NCAA rank: 37.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: 165 in a 34-20 Duke win in Durham last year.

Starters returning: 6.

Date of game: Oct. 29.

Comment: The offense returns quarterback Thomas Sirk, tackles Casey Blaser and Gabe Brandner and guard Tanner Stone. Sirk led the Devils with 803 rushing yards last season. Wilson totaled 424 rushing yards last season.

At North Carolina

Rushing yards per game last season: 224.4.

NCAA rank: 18.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: 231 in a 38-31 Tar Heels’ win in Atlanta.

Starters returning: 7.

Date of game: Nov. 5.

Comment: Elijah Hood rushed for more than 1,000 yards with 10 touchdowns last season and is probably considered the second-best back in the ACC behind FSU’s Dalvin Cook. Four of the returning starterss are on the line. They have 112 career starts between them.

At Virginia Tech

Rushing yards per game last season: 159.2.

NCAA rank: 81.

Rushing yards allowed last time playing GT: 165 in a 23-21 Hokies’ win at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Starters returning: 8.

Date of game: Nov. 12.

Comment: It will be interesting to see what new coach Justin Fuente can do with so many returning starters. The line returns four starters with more than 85 career starts. Travon McMillian returns at running back, where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season.

Vs. Virginia

Rushing yards per game last season: 144.8.

NCAA rank: 99.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: 233 in a 27-21 Cavs’ win at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Starters returning: 7.

Date of game: Nov. 19.

Comment: The line returns four starters, all upperclassmen with multiple letters earned. Matt Johns returns at quarterback and Taquan Mizzell (671 yards) returns at running back. Ninety-eight percent of the team’s rushing yards return this season.

At Georgia

Rushing yards per game last season: 192.2

NCAA rank: 38.

Rushing yards last time playing GT: 178 in a 13-7 Bulldogs’ win at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Starters returning: 8.

Date of game: Nov. 26.

Comment: The returners include three starters on the offensive line, one at tight end, as well as running back Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Michel rushed for more than 1,100 yards last season after Chubb went down with a season-ending knee injury. He rushed for more than 700 yards with an average of more than 8 yards per carry before his injury.

 


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