Yellow Jackets to Watch: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech

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Yellow Jackets to Watch: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech

Photo: Jordan Mason (27), Georgia Tech Athletics
Photo: Jordan Mason (27), Georgia Tech Athletics

JORDAN MASON (RB, #27)

The Jackets’ leading rusher this season, this 6-1, 219-pound redshirt sophomore has compiled over 850 yards with seven touchdowns while averaging more than five yards per carry. He ran for 141 yards including a season-long 48-yard run in this past Thursday’s 28-26 ACC win over North Carolina State. With both size and good speed, Mason is continuing the tradition of solid Georgia Tech running backs and the Bulldogs’ defense can’t allow him to get to the second level Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

JAMES GRAHAM (QB, #4)

First-year Tech head coach Geoff Collins has played four quarterbacks this fall and Graham, a 6-1, 192-pound redshirt freshman from Fitzgerald, Georgia, has been the most effective throwing the football. He went over the 1,000-yard passing mark for the season in the win over N.C. State when Graham threw for 129 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 112 yards and a score. But he has also thrown seven interceptions and completed 48 percent of his passes, what with the Jackets making the transition from a run-oriented offense to a pro-style attack this season. Still, the UGA secondary will need to be sharp against Graham’s passing to his two top receivers, Adonicas Sanders and Ahmarean Brown, who had two TD receptions against the Wolfpack.

Photo: David Curry (6), Georgia Tech Athletics
Photo: David Curry (6), Georgia Tech Athletics

DAVID CURRY (ILB, #6)

Curry, a junior out of Buford High School, is the ringleader of the Yellow Jacket defense as the 6-2, 230-pound inside linebacker has recorded 92 tackles this season after totaling 11 stops in the squeaker over North Carolina State. And he gets able assistance from fellow linebacker Charlie Thomas (#25), a 6-2, 210-pound sophomore who has a team-leading nine tackles-for-loss and also 2.0 sacks. The Georgia offense will have to prevent both Curry and Thomas from disrupting the Bulldogs’ attack Saturday afternoon on The Flats.

GEOFF COLLINS (Head Coach)

Collins was named the 20th head coach in Georgia Tech football history on December 7, 2018. He is widely regarded as one of college football’s top young coaches and recruiters. A metro-Atlanta native, Collins came to Tech after recording 15 wins in two seasons as head coach at Temple. He returns to The Flats after having previously served as a graduate assistant, tight ends coach, and director of player personnel at Tech. Prior to becoming head coach at Temple, Collins was one of the nation’s most respected defensive coordinators, serving in the role at Florida, Mississippi State, FIU and his alma mater, Western Carolina. He is the only coach to ever be nominated for the Broyles Award, given to college football’s top assistant coach, at three different schools. As expected, Collins’ Jackets have struggled in his first season at the Tech helm as the offense made the transition from Paul Johnson’s triple-option, run-oriented attack to the fast-paced NFL-type offense Collins prefers. But the Jackets improved to 3-8 with the 28-26 win over N.C. State and thus will ride a bit of momentum as they await the Bulldogs on Saturday.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.