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Thursday, September 26, 2013
Unlike many of his ACC counterparts, Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson is not in the habit of building up an upcoming foe falsely, which made his comments this week about Virginia Tech ring less hollow than most.
“Bottom line, clearly in my mind, they’ve been the team to beat in the Coastal Division since I’ve been here,” said Johnson, whose Yellow Jackets entertain the Hokies at 7:30 tonight.
“All I’ve know is, they’ve won the last three. And, if you’re a competitor, there’s an old saying that revenge is a great motivator for those that care. So, I hope our guys care.”
Johnson is in his sixth year as Georgia Tech coach. In his first five, Virginia Tech represented the Coastal Division in the ACC championship game three times and Georgia Tech did the honors twice.
“It’s like I tell our guys every week: ‘You think it’s Virginia Tech’s goal to win the Coastal Division?’ ” Johnson said. “I bet it is. They’ve got the same goal. It’s a big game for them, too. They’ll come down ready to play. So, you better get ready to match their intensity.”
Georgia Tech has played host to Virginia Tech on Thursday night before but not with five days to get ready, as is the case for both teams.
“Last time we played three games in 12 days, down in Miami we looked like we were running in sand,” Johnson said, “so you hope that’s not the case. At least we’re at home, and maybe we can get some energy from that.”
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers named Mike Glennon their No. 1 quarterback on Wednesday, North Carolina State became the only program in the country with three starting NFL quarterbacks — Glennon, San Diego’s Phillip Rivers and Seattle’s Russell Wilson.
The Golden Bulls are 0-3 under new coach Willie Taggart, including a 53-21 home loss to McNeese State in the opener. Taggart, previously the head coach at Western Kentucky, will be going with his third starting quarterback in four games.
The UVa defensive player of the game as picked by the coaches after a 49-0 win over VMI was sophomore reserve defensive end Trent Corney, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound Canadian who made three tackles for loss — including two sacks — caused two fumbles and had a pass break-up.
“The best way to keep improving your team is to have guys like Trent Corney that can come in a game and produce,” UVa coach Mike London said. “Running down on kickoffs, there were some big hits that Trent made, not necessarily making a tackle but taking out the primary blocker. You try to find ways to get guys like that involved in the game plan.”
When the VMI captains took the field for the coin toss Saturday, Alex Keys, a redshirt freshman defensive back from Franklin County, represented the special teams. Keys’ father, Raymond, and an older brother, Raymond II, both played for the Cavaliers and were three-year lettermen. Raymond II was known for his special teams play.
Only four VMI players had more tackles than Keys, who did not start but had two solo tackles and three assists. He has played in every game and has 12 tackles for the season. Sophomore safety Alex James from Stockbridge, Ga., leads the Keydets with 47 stops.
Junior Josh Smith from Radford has a team-high 24 receptions for Emory & Henry, which is off to its fourth 3-0 start in the past five years. Smith and classmate Lucas Kirby (Alleghany) have three TD receptions apiece.
Redshirt freshman goalie Mac Phillips from Franklin County had saves in the 84th and 90th minutes as visiting William and Mary knocked off the nation’s No. 1-ranked men’s soccer team, North Carolina, 1-0. It was Phillips’ third shutout for the Tribe (4-2-1).
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