Sports

ACC countdown to kickoff

A look at the No. 7 game in the upcoming season:

Miami at Georgia Tech

Date: Nov. 13

Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta

Last meeting: Week 3 of the 2009 season was one to forget for the Yellow Jackets. Squaring off in south Florida with the Hurricanes on a Thursday night, Georgia Tech surrendered 454 total yards in a 33-17 loss that knocked it out of the top 15 and forced a long climb back to national recognition. Despite the loss, however, the Yellow Jackets returned to relevancy in the college football world, rattling off seven straight wins before a trip back to Miami for the Orange Bowl four months later. Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris was the big star of the win over the Yellow Jackets, passing for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Yellow Jackets receiver Demaryius Thomas caught six passes and a touchdown.

Recent history: Georgia Tech has a 10-5 advantage in the all-time series, and with wins in four of the past five meetings, it holds a firm grip on the recent contests of what has become a budding inner-division rivalry.

What’s at stake: As the reigning Coastal Division champions, the Yellow Jackets have every reason to believe they can repeat the feat and return to the conference title game by season’s end. But those are not the expectations they are getting from most members of the national media. Instead, Miami and Virginia Tech have become the darlings of pundits across the country, as they have become the favorites to capture the crown the Yellow Jackets now wear. As a result, Georgia Tech has developed a chip-on-its-shoulder mentality that ought to help it go through its conference schedule in much the fashion it did a year ago. But if that happens and the Yellow Jackets do find themselves in Charlotte, N.C., for the championship, they must go through a Randy Shannon-led Hurricanes team that has finally seemed to have fully adopted its head coach’s philosophy. It is also a program that returns many of its playmaking stars, including the flashy, strong-armed Harris.

Subplots: One of the biggest things the Yellow Jackets have in their favor for this game is its locale. With the contest being held at home, Georgia Tech has a chance to tap back into the swell of emotions that engulfed Bobby Dodd Stadium on white-out night 2008, when the Yellow Jackets hounded the Hurricanes for a 41-23 Thursday night victory. While this year’s game has not been announced as a white out, it still should have a strong pregame aura — buzz, if you will — around it. Before and during the game, Georgia Tech will be honoring its 1990 team; the last in school history to earn a national title. There is this other reason to be thankful the game is in Atlanta: The Yellow Jackets made two trips to LandShark Stadium last season and lost both games.

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