Tag Archives: Georgia Tech at Duke

Matt Daniels and the Blue Devils came up short on Senior Day - BDN Photo

BDN Rapid Reaction: Georgia Tech 38, Duke 31

Matt Daniels and the Blue Devils came up short on Senior Day - BDN Photo

DURHAM- Matt Daniels and the Blue Devil seniors made their way out of the tunnel and into Wallace Wade Stadium for the final time on Saturday, but their best efforts came up just short against Georgia Tech as Duke fell 38-31. The Duke offense had success moving the ball against the Yellow Jackets, putting up 31 points and over 300 yards of total offense, but in the end, the Blue Devil defense just couldn’t stop the Ramblin’ Wreck option offense.

Duke final drive comes up short

Senior Charlie Hatcher came up with a crucial fumble recovery with 3:31 remaining in the 4th quarter to give the Blue Devils a chance, trailing by a touchdown. But two crucial penalties stalled the Blue Devils’ final drive, and ultimately led to a controversial GT interception that sealed the victory with 2 minutes remaining. Two critical plays were reviewed in the game and not overturned in the Blue Devils’ favor.

Vernon and Varner rewrite the record books

Duke senior Donovan Varner had a memorable Senior Day, adding to his lead in the Duke record books with 5 catches for 32 yards and 1 TD. Varner is Duke’s all-time receptions leader with 199. Varner also set a new Duke record with a reception in 36 straight games. Junior WR Conner Vernon is 2nd on Duke’s all-time receiving list with 196 career catches after finishing with 9 catches, 92 yards and 1 TD. On the day, Varner and Vernon became the ACC’s top all-time receiving duo, passing Clemon’s Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham. The duo will look to add to their records next Saturday in Chapel Hill.

Big plays haunt Blue Devils

Georgia Tech had 8 plays of 20 yards or more in just the first 3 quarters alone, as big plays continued to haunt the Blue Devil defense. After a 3 and out on the first drive of the day, the Ramblin’ Wreck moved the ball with ease against the Blue Devils. On the day, the Yellow Jackets piled up over 550 yards of total offense, led by Tevin Washington, who finished with 185 yards through the air and 136 yards on the ground. Georgia Tech was perfect in the red zone, finishing with 5 rushing touchdowns and a field goal.

Inconsistent offensive attack

Sean Renfree threw for 4 TDs and 227 yards, but was erratic at times, finishing 26/42 on the day. Duke senior TE Cooper Helfet had himself a big Senior Day, hauling in 2 TD receptions. Vernon and Varner led the Blue Devils’ receivers, but Duke struggled to get a consistent rhythm on offense, especially on the ground. Duke’s running game was led by Varner, who picked up a 39-yard run on the offense’s first play from scrimmage. The running backs failed to get going, with Desmond Scott picking up just 27 yards and Juwan Thompson just 24 yards on the day.

One shot left

Duke drops to 3-8 and will have one last shot to get to 4 wins and end their season on a high note. The Blue Devils will travel down 15-501 to Chapel Hill to take on the rival Tar Heels next Saturday at 3:30 PM. The Victory Bell will be at stake and the Blue Devils desperately need a win to gain momentum into the offsesason.

Check back with Blue Devil Nation for full postgame coverage.

Duke will host Georgia Tech on November 19th for their final home game of 2011

Blue Devils will try to slow the Georgia Tech triple-option on November 19

Duke will host Georgia Tech on November 19th for their final home game of 2011

BDN has been previewing Duke football’s 2011 opponents all summer long. This week, we wrap things up as we prepare for Saturday’s season opener, but not before taking a look at a crucial stretch of games in November. Duke will play three tough road contests at Miami, Virginia, and North Carolina in November, meaning that the November 19th match-up with Georgia Tech will serve as Duke’s final home game of the season. The Blue Devils played the Yellow Jackets tough in Atlanta last season, but a late red zone turnover turned the tables on Duke’s upset bid.

To help us preview the 2011 Yellow Jackets, BDN is glad to welcome back Winfield Featherston of FromTheRumbleSeat.com. His candid insight is invaluable when analyzing the Georgia Tech program.

BDN: Georgia Tech was among the ACC programs involved in a recent NCAA investigation, receiving a four-year probation, among other penalties. Can you summarize your thoughts on the NCAA violations? Do you expect there to be any affect on the program in 2011 or beyond?

My initial thoughts on the issue came across as too passive and made me look like I just rolled over. And I kinda sorta did unfortunately. The NCAA’s penalties given to Georgia Tech are TOTAL BULLSH*T. They penalized us anything because they felt slighted when our AD didn’t want Paul Johnson looking like Al Golden when the news broke against Tech. Sadly, GT is just big enough for big sanctions to make it look like the NCAA has teeth and could – if they wanted to- go after the big programs but we all know that won’t happen.

Nothing will happen for the future. We vacated the 2009 ACCCG (BTW it still happened – Clemson’s record book says so) and we paid a fine. Recruiting visits and scholarships are not affected.

Head Coach Paul Johnson has led Georgia Tech to 3 bowl games in 3 seasons in Atlanta

BDN: When Head Coach Paul Johnson arrived in Atlanta, he inherited a talented team and took them to a 2009 ACC Championship, led by All-ACC players like Jonathan Dwyer, Josh Nesbitt, Derrick Morgan, and Demaryius Thomas. After three years at the head of the Yellow Jackets, how would you assess the state of the program under Johnson? With only 12 starters returning in 2011, what are the expectations for this young group of Yellow Jackets?

The state of the program gets defined in 2012. This year it’s finally Johnson’s players in Johnson’s system. Wipe the slate clean from the previous years. Any success or failures we had with Gailey players was just some form or luck really. Expectations are set in typical Georgia Tech fan fashion – pretty high. Many fans expect about 8 wins to reach the “good season” level. With most major games at home, that goal should be attainable. 

BDN: The Blue Devils got a good look at Tevin Washington running the triple option last year in Atlanta. There has been significant competition this spring and summer for starting jobs at QB and B-back. How do you expect that competition to play out at those two spots? What are the other question marks for the 2011 Georgia Tech offense?

The schedule plays perfectly for a good ole September platooning effort. I’d expect to see a mix of Synjyn Days and Tevin Washington to play out most of the games. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vad Lee either. The same goes for B-back with Charles Perkins, Preston Lyons and David Sims. By the time we hit October, we’ll have our depth chart in fine condition. 

BDN: Al Groh’s defense struggled in his first year in Atlanta a year ago, allowing almost 372 yards per game to opposing offenses. What changes or improvements need to be made for the Tech defense to be more successful in 2011?

Experience. We had to give the Groh-fense a year to sink in. Word on the street says that the defense has been improving tremendously and our young guys are all stepping up. 

BDN: Duke gave Georgia Tech a scare in Atlanta last November, throwing a crucial red zone interception and ultimately falling, 20-30. What do you think will be the keys to the matchup on November 19 in Durham? Can the Blue Devils give the Yellow Jackets another scare?

We’re talking November football already? Sure it’s possible. For all games this year, it will come down to the defense. History shows that over the season CPJ teams average the same offensive statistics per year. The defense will have to shut down Duke’s offensive attack and let our triple option offensive do it’s usual thing.  

BDN: Thanks for your help, Winfield! Good luck this season!

Previous week: November 12, Duke at Miami

Next week: November 26, Duke at North Carolina