Kendall Fuller returns an interception last season in victory at Georgia Tech.

Kendall Fuller returns an interception last season in victory at Georgia Tech. (September 20, 2014)

Virginia Tech has defended Georgia Tech better than any of the Yellow Jackets’ annual ACC rivals during the last six seasons. Fewer points, yards and yards per rush.

Most encouraging to the Hokies entering Saturday’s ACC opener for both teams: Bud Foster’s defense is getting better at stopping Georgia Tech’s option, even as the Yellow Jackets’ seasonal productions have been consistent.

For example, since coach Paul Johnson brought his deceptive, ground-oriented offense to Georgia Tech in 2008, the Yellow Jackets’ per-carry average for each year has ranged from 5.2 to 5.7. And versus Virginia Tech from 2008-11, Georgia Tech’s per-rush ranged from 4.9 to 6.8, with a four-game cumulative of 5.5.

But check out the last two seasons. The Hokies limited the Jackets to 3.5 yards per carry in 2012 and 3.1 last year.

Virginia Tech was especially stout last season, holding Georgia Tech to season-lows in points, total yards, rushing yards and yards per carry. Moreover, the Hokies and Ole Miss were the only opponents to deny the Jackets a run of 20 yards or longer – Georgia Tech’s longest against Virginia Tech was 15, its best versus Ole Miss was 17. In eight games, the Jackets broke runs of at least 40 yards.

That 3.1 is Georgia Tech's lowest average in the last 35 games, dating to a 2011 game versus Miami in which it averaged 2.8 per carry. 

In short, familiarity, not to mention a wealth of defensive talent, has helped Foster devise more effective game plans. That said, many Hokies will be getting their first extended snaps against Georgia Tech on Saturday, and the inexperience will be heightened if defensive tackles Luther Maddy (knee) and Corey Marshall (ankle) are limited.

Comrade Wood detailed Foster’s preparation for Georgia Tech in Friday’s Daily Press, but below are two charts that illustrate his success against the Jackets.

The first is Georgia Tech’s year-by-year offensive stats against Virginia Tech. The “3/4” category is combined third- and fourth-down conversions.


YEAR      RUSH     YPC        PASSING              TOS        3/4         SCORE  

2013       42-129   3.1          7-24-2-144           3              5-17    VT 17-10 VT

2012       55-192   3.5          10-16-1-96           1              8-20    VT 20-17 OT

2011       49-243   5.0          5-11-0-97             0              5-15    VT 37-26

2010       51-346   6.8          2-10-2-80             2              7-16    VT 28-21

2009       63-309   4.9          1-7-1-51               2              9-16    GT 28-23

2008       50-278   5.6          3-9-1-109             3              6-11    VT 20-17


And here are Georgia Tech’s won-loss record, points per game and yards per game against the ACC teams it has played every season under Johnson.

             REC        PPG       YPG

VT           1-5          19.8        345.7

Miami   1-5          23.5        364.3

Clem      4-2          27.5        406.0

U.Va.     4-2          32.7        439.8

UNC       5-1          32.0        464.8

Duke     6-0          37.3        475.0

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