Georgia Tech football head coach Paul Johnson will no doubt tell you he’s frustrated after watching his Yellow Jackets lose three straight games.
Johnson is not alone. He can add Georgia Southern head coach Tyson Summers and Eagles quarterback Kevin Ellison to the club.
Georgia Tech (3-3) and Georgia Southern (3-2) will be looking to unleash some pent up feelings on one another when they meet at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday in Atlanta. It will be the third of four straight road games for Georgia Southern, which is the only FBS team to play four consecutive road games this season.
Both teams are coming off excruciating losses.
Georgia Southern lost 27-26 to Arkansas State when the Red Wolves scored with nine seconds to play. The Yellow Jackets lost 37-34 to Pittsburgh on a field goal on the final play of the game.
Both focus their offense on the option, and both are struggling to meet their high standards. Georgia Tech is averaging 229.2 yards per game while the Eagles are at 286.6.
“Obviously Georgia Tech is a talented football team,” Summers said. “They’ve been in some tight games and haven’t necessarily had the success they would like to have had the last few weeks, but they’ve played as well as anyone can.
“When you play Georgia Tech, you’ve got to play disciplined football, you’ve got to play tough football, you’ve got to get off blocks and get to the ball. Their edge is what they do offensively and the toughness the option brings with their entire program.”
Ellison is looking forward to facing the Yellow Jackets and getting one final shot at earning a win over one of the state’s two Power 5 teams. Georgia Southern lost 17-14 to Georgia last year in overtime.
“It would be a big deal for the entire university if we won this game,” Ellison said. “Georgia Tech is an in-state rival; there’s not that many (FBS) teams in Georgia. As a player, it’s very exciting to play an in-state rival like Georgia Tech. It’s going to be a different type of competition.
“We’re going to have to play our tails off. Paul Johnson does a great job with those guys.”
Ellison will finish his career at Georgia Southern as one of the program’s most productive offensive players. He is currently the active career rushing leader among FBS quarterbacks with 2,942 yards, and he has passed for another 2,709. He has 31 touchdowns rushing and 13 passing while completing 178-of-336 passing attempts with 11 interceptions.
Those numbers are good enough to rank him 10th on the Georgia Southern all-time rushing list, and he is currently tied with Jaybo Shaw for fifth in career passing yards and tied with Lee Chapple for 10th in career touchdown passes. His 5,651 yards of total offense are 283 behind fifth-place Jayson Foster.
Georgia Southern has one win against a Power 5 team when it beat Florida when Ellison was a freshman, starting in place of Jerrick McKinnon, who had to play slotback due to an injury.
“It would be great to have on your resume that you beat an ACC team and beat Florida a couple of years ago,” Ellison said. “It would be good to say we did that. It’s frustrating, it’s always frustrating when you lose. Things happen sometimes, and you have to learn, and then put it behind you and focus on your next opponent.”