Georgia Tech Looks to Run by North Carolina

By Travis Patterson
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Johnson has always had a great triple option offense, but now he is incorporating more and more pass plays to keep defenses honest.  However, this Georgia Tech rushing offense appears to be unstoppable at the moment, which is not a good sign for North Carolina as the Jackets roll into Chapel Hill this Saturday for a big time Coastal division matchup.  Last year the Tar Heels suffered an embarrassing loss to the Yellow Jackets, a day in which their rush defense took a beating.  Georgia Tech won that game 68-5o.  The game represented how much this triple option offense has evolved though with the Jackets rushing for 380 yards but also passing for 208 yards.  GT quarterback Vad Lee played a great game passing for 169 yards and rushing for 112 yards.  The North Carolina defense had no answer, except for Gio Bernard, and even that was not enough to bring the Heels back.

This year the UNC rush defense does not seem to be very strong, at least through their first two games.  The Heels gave up 228 yards rushing to South Carolina and then 158 to Middle Tennessee.  There are high expectations for this UNC team mainly because of their quarterback Bryn Renner, but we learned last season that the Heels cannot afford to get into a shootout with GT because the Jackets can control the ball more.  In GT’s week 1 victory they racked up 368 yards on the ground against Elon.  After a bye week they kept on rolling as they posted a 344 rushing yard total against Duke.  The winner of this game on Saturday can take a big step forward in the Coastal division race, which is seemingly wide open at this point.  Sure Miami has defeated Florida, but the Gators helped the Canes by turning it over five times in that game, and we all know that the Florida offense is painful to watch.

Vad Lee has done a good job of running the show so far this season for Paul Johnson’s offense.  This offense puts a lot of responsibility on the quarterback to make the proper read on each play, but what separates Lee from previous GT quarterbacks is that he is an accurate passer.  When Tech won the ACC in 2009 Josh Nesbitt was a fantastic runner and a load to bring down, but unless he threw the ball to a wide open Demaryius Thomas, then the passing game really struggled.  This season Lee has passed for 314 yards with six touchdowns and only one interception.  Lee is becoming a master of putting the defense to sleep with run play after run play and then going over the top for the big play.

Georgia Tech fans have not been happy with Paul Johnson as of late, but this year’s team could be the best team he has had since winning the ACC in 2009.  That 2009 team had Nesbitt, Thomas, and also Jonathan Dwyer that made countless big plays, all the way to a championship.  Vad Lee is the perfect quarterback to run this offense because of his ability to run and pass.  If I was a North Carolina fan, I would be nervous because the Heels front seven has a lot of questions surrounding their ability to defend the run, and you do not want to have questions about your run defense when the Jackets fly into town.

Travis Patterson, Writer for ACC on  Follow on Twitter @tpat20.

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