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    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Head To Head Matchup: Running Backs

    Jonathan Dwyer is ranked number two in the ACC in rushing. Dwyer is known as the B-back in the Georgia Tech triple option offense. The B-back is the running back that lines up behind the quarterback, in the spot a fullback usually lines up in most offenses. Except, there's one big difference in this offense: "He's a primary ball carrier," said quarterbacks/B-backs coach Brian Bohannon.

    Dwyer has speed. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry as a freshman, with a long of 65 yards, while totaling 436 yards and nine touchdowns. A little taller than 6-feet and around 222 pounds, he's hefty, too.

    On the season, Dwyer has carried the ball 125 times and rushed for 754 yards and 5 TDs. He is averaging a little over 6 yards a carry and averaging almost 95 yards a game. The sophomore also has 113 receiving yards and 1 TD.

    A-backs are typically faster in Johnson's triple-option attack. Says Bohannon, "They are usually not quite as big as the B-back, but we'd like them to be. They're more of a slot receiver, a guy that catches the toss."

    The A-backs in the triple-option offense are freshman Roddy Jones who had a career-high 75 yards rushing against Virginia last Saturday. On the year, Jones has rushed for 252 yards and 2 TDs. He also has 126 receiving yards and 1 TD.The other A-back is sophomore Lucas Cox who is described as a terrific blocker. Cox has 102 yards rushing and 0 TD.

    The other main runner in this offense is QB Josh Nesbitt who is ranked number 9 in the ACC in rushing. He has rushed 94 times for 375 yards and 6 TDs.

    The Georgia Tech rushing offense is ranked #1 in the ACC averaging over 236 yards a game and producing 18 TDs. They are averaging almost 5 yards per rush.

    Defensive matchup: The backs will be facing a Nole defense that is ranked among the best in the nation and the ACC. The # 1 rushing offense in the ACC will be facing the #1 rushing defense in the ACC in the Noles.The Nole defense is only allowing 79.86 yards per game and have only allowed 3 TDs on the ground this year. The Noles have outstanding defensive end Everette Brown as well as a good linebacker group led by Derek Nicholson. This will be a classic matchup and battle on Saturday as to which group will be prevail.

    The Nole defense will be tested this week due to the fact that Tech employs the triple option play. The Nole defense is known for its aggressive type of play but against the triple option offense, the key is discipline. Defenders have to stick to their assignments, and not get too aggressive. All it takes is for a defender or two to go after the quarterback too hard, and suddenly the QB pitches to the halfback outside, and there’s only one guy between him and the end zone.

    For the Noles, Antone Smith is expected to play although he is banged up. Smith is currently ranked #4 in the ACC in rushing having rushed for 540 yards and 11 TDs. He is averaging almost 5 yards a carry. Against Virginia Tech, Smith had an average game before leaving with an injury. He rushed for 57 yards and had one 39 yard TD.

    As for Smith, hs says that he will play although that is uncertain. Says Smith," I’m feeling alright. I not my best – I’m not at 100 percent right now but I feel pretty good. My legs are fresh but my ribs are a little banged up. Other than that I feel pretty good. " Not exactly statements that sound overly convincing.

    If Smith cannot play, Preston Parker would be a likely candidate to take the place of Smith. Last year Parker started 5 games in the back field and rushed for 270 yards and 2 TDs. If not Parker, Jermaine Thomas could be the starter. He had a concussion in Va. Tech game but he seems fine now. Thomas has rushed for 213 yards and 2 TDs this year. A third possibility is that of Marcus Sims who came in after Smith and Thomas left the Va. Tech game with injuries.

    The Noles rushing offense is ranked #2 in the ACC averaging almost 194 yards a game and having 17 TDs on the ground for the season. They are averaging almost 5 yards a carry.

    Defensive matchup
    : The Nole running game will be facing the #2 rushing defense in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets are allowing 104 yards a game on the ground and only given up 5 TDs on the ground this year. The running backs will probably have their toughest challenge this year with this Jackets defense. Tech has two of their defensive linemen ranked in the top 5 in the ACC with tackles for a loss. Senior Michael Johnson is ranked #4 in tackles for a loss with 10 while sophomore Derrick Morgan is #5 with 9 tackles for a loss. The running game for the Noles will be tested big time and Smith not being 100% is not a good sign against a tough Tech defense.

    One of the keys will be how FSU's young offensive line will be able to handle the Tech defensive front four.

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