Duke looking for big plays on offense against Georgia Tech
ATLANTA (AP) — An offensive breakout has helped jumpstart Georgia Tech’s season.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe would like to see his offense enjoy a similar resurgence following the Blue Devils’ first loss of the season. Duke visits Georgia Tech on Saturday in a key game for each team’s effort to contend in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division.
Duke (4-1, 0-1 ACC) had an off week following its 31-14 loss to Virginia Tech . The Blue Devils will be looking for big plays against Georgia Tech.
“You’ve got to produce explosive plays this day and time to get your points per game up,” Cutcliffe said Wednesday. “We didn’t do that against Virginia Tech. It was the first time this year we didn’t produce it. We had chances, and we missed them.”
Georgia Tech (3-3, 1-2) hasn’t missed much on offense the last two weeks. The Yellow Jackets scored more than 60 points in runaway wins over Bowling Green and Louisville.
“We have an opportunity to turn the season around, and I think we’re just taking advantage of the opportunity,” running back Clinton Lynch said Tuesday.
In last week’s 66-31 win at Louisville , Georgia Tech scored eight touchdowns and a field goal in its first nine drives. Then the defense added yet another touchdown on a 95-yard interception return by Juanyeh Thomas.
A win over Duke, which ranks third in the ACC in scoring defense, would add credibility to Georgia Tech’s resurgence. The revived hopes are especially important for coach Paul Johnson coming off a 5-7 finish in 2017, when the Yellow Jackets did not play in a bowl for the second time in three years.
Duke took a dominant 43-20 win over Georgia Tech last season and has three wins in the last four games of the series.
“We haven’t slowed them down,” Johnson said, adding his team’s offensive prowess the last two weeks looks familiar because “that’s about what they’ve done to us.”
Here are some more things to know about the Duke-Georgia Tech game:
READY TO RUN
Duke QB Daniel Jones, who missed just three weeks with a broken collar bone , says he’s healthy and comfortable with keeping the ball and running with it. Jones broke his left, non-throwing clavicle Sept. 8 at Northwestern. He returned to start two weeks ago against Virginia Tech and hopes the bone healed further during the Blue Devils’ idle weekend. “I don’t have any pain, really,” he said.
NEW BLUE PANTS
Georgia Tech players are looking forward to their first chance to wear navy blue pants on Saturday. The team’s official colors are gold and white, but blue is a secondary color normally reserved for trim. Players will wear white jerseys and blue and gold cleats.
Georgia Tech officials couldn’t find a record of players previously wearing blue pants.
“We’re excited,” said running back Qua Searcy, who acknowledged he would have picked a different color for the jerseys.
“I would love all blue,” he said.
PROTECTING THE QB
Two Duke players who are engineering students figured out a way to give their quarterback’s collar bone some added protection. Jones says center Clark Bulleit and linebacker Kevin Gehsmann took a suggestion from Hap Zarzour, the school’s executive director of athletic medicine, and used a 3-D printer to create a plastic pad personalized to the contours of Jones’ neck and chest. Zarzour uses tape to affix the pad to Jones’ clavicle.
“Those are two brilliant guys,” Jones said. “I know that it feels good and I’m super appreciative for what they’ve done and those efforts. Pretty cool deal.”
Duke ranks third on Georgia Tech’s list of most common opponents. The teams have met 85 times, with Georgia Tech leading 51-33-1. Georgia Tech has played 112 games against Georgia and 92 against Auburn.
Duke was 0-4 in October last season. It has six straight losses in the month, including its last two October games in 2016. Overall, Duke is 9-8 in the month under Cutcliffe.
AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary contributed to this report.
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