Running games crucial for Virginia, Georgia Tech in ACC showdown

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Perry Jones will look to get on track as UVA travels to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech in ACC opener on Saturday. Photo: Bill Ross Perry Jones will look to get on track as UVA travels to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech in ACC opener on Saturday. Photo: Bill Ross

As spotter and statistician for the Virginia Sports Radio Network, it is my job to know relevant personnel, follow the football, and relay information to our on-air voices. There are countless perks to the gig, with one exception: Georgia Tech week.

Paul Johnson’s triple-option, spread offense is designed to deceive. On any given play, there are at least three potential ball carriers, and in just two games this year, 15 different Yellow Jackets have logged at least one rushing attempt. They have run the ball a total of 113 times in 2012 and tried just 30 passes.

Last week, Georgia Tech amassed 469 rushing yards in a 59-3 win over hapless Presbyterian. The Wreck has ranked in the top five nationally in rushing offense in each of Johnson’s four seasons in Atlanta.

A  Mike London-coached Virginia team has faced Tech’s triple-option attack twice before. Last season, it was UVA that won the rushing battle, 274-272, en route to a 24-21 upset victory over the 12th-ranked and unbeaten Jackets. Perry Jones ran for a career-high 149 yards on 18 carries.  Georgia Tech took the other meeting, 33-21, in Atlanta in 2010.

In its season opener, GT fell to Virginia Tech in overtime, 20-17, in a game it led with less than a minute to play. It will look to avoid an 0-2 hole in conference play, while Virginia attempts to start 1-0 in the ACC for the first time under London. The game will be televised nationally by ESPNU. Kickoff is set for Saturday afternoon at 3:30.

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