Tech at Vandy Preview
Nashville, TN - After giving itself a big boost in reaching the ACC title game, Georgia Tech will take a break from conference play this weekend, trying to avoid an upset.
The No. 11 Yellow Jackets will try to maintain the momentum of their recent big win Saturday when they visit struggling Vanderbilt.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Georgia Tech –11.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on Georgia Tech –11.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Georgia Tech (7-1) became a favorite to win the conference over the weekend after Saturday's 34-9 victory over Virginia, which entered the game unbeaten in ACC play. The win, combined with Miami's loss to Clemson, gave the Yellow Jackets control of their own fate. With two more wins, they would clinch the Coastal Division and a spot in the conference title game that awards a Bowl Championship Series berth to the winner.
"It's a good situation," coach Paul Johnson said.
He added, though, that he doesn't consider the outcome a foregone conclusion.
"I think the conference race was still wide open and I think it's still wide open," Johnson said. "I mean you could make a case that Miami could still win, Duke could win, Virginia could still win, Virginia Tech. I think the only team that has been eliminated really is North Carolina, probably."
Johnson and the Yellow Jackets won't move any closer to clinching the division title this weekend, playing SEC foe Vanderbilt (2-6), but that's unlikely to change how they approach the game. Georgia Tech is one of the nation's most prolific running teams and it will be facing a Vanderbilt defense that is giving up 164.4 yards per game on the ground.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off another big rushing performance after rolling up 362 yards against the Cavaliers. Jonathan Dwyer led the team with 125 yards on 25 carries, while Anthony Allen and quarterback Josh Nesbitt each ran for two touchdowns.
Nesbitt has rushed for 11 touchdowns and 707 of Georgia Tech's Football Subdivision-leading 2,333 yards on the ground.
"He's way better now than he was a year ago," Johnson said of Nesbitt, who is fourth in the conference in rushing yards. "The more you do things, the better you're going to get at them."
Johnson also has to be pleased with the effort on defense last weekend. After giving up 300 or more yards and more than 20 points in each of the previous three games, the Yellow Jackets limited Virginia to just 198 yards of total offense and the defense was on the field barely more than 17 minutes.
Georgia Tech leads the nation in time of possession while Vanderbilt (2-6) has held the ball the fourth-fewest minutes in the FBS.
"It will be a challenge for both our offense and defense to step up and give us a chance to win," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said. "To do that, we will obviously have to stop a high-powered offense. I don't think I've seen as many big plays by an offense in a year that I've seen from them. It's been very impressive."
With an upset in mind, the Commodores have been held to 40 points during their current four-game losing streak. Two of those losses came to ranked teams, including a 14-10 defeat at then-No. 23 South Carolina on Saturday.
"We should have won," linebacker Brent Trice said. "We came in with a good game plan and practiced hard this week. We came in feeling good, started the game with some intensity but just couldn't finish it."
The Commodores, who yielded a season-high 431 yards in the loss to the Gamecocks, have allowed at least 119 rushing yards to every FBS opponent.
Georgia Tech hasn't lost to Vanderbilt since 1941, going 10-0-1 since. This is the third meeting between the two since 1967 and first since 2003.
Posted: 10/27/09 4:28PM ET