ATLANTA — Army had an inside advantage when compiling its scouting report for today’s game at Georgia Tech.
"I’ve seen Georgia Tech since I was 5 years old,” said Army defensive end Victor Ugenyi, a sophomore from Atlanta’s North Springs High School.
Ugenyi’s message to the Army offense: Beware of Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s blitzing schemes.
“He puts their defense in good positions,” Ugenyi said. “They are blitzing linebackers every play so you don’t know where the blitz is coming from, and it’s just confusing, honestly. Confusion is where their defense thrives.”
The Tech defense makes 9.5 tackles for loss per game, the second-highest average in the nation, and has 26 sacks for an average of 3.86 per game, first in the Atlantic Coast Conference and fifth in the nation.
Army’s offense needs stability, not more pressure from Tech’s blitzes.
Army (3-4) committed seven turnovers — five interceptions and two fumbles — which led to 27 points in last week’s 47-23 loss at Central Michigan. The Black Knights have given up 20 turnovers this year.
The mistake-filled game against Central Michigan came only one week after Army’s first turnover-free game in almost two years in an overtime win over Tulane.
Carson Williams, who passed for two touchdowns but threw three interceptions last week, will start at quarterback. Army coach Stan Brock said he’ll also play Kevin Dunn, who threw a touchdown pass with two interceptions against Central Michigan.
“I had planned to put Kevin in last week, change the tempo a little bit,” Brock said. “(Williams) had back-to-back interceptions and that helped my mind-set. It was a planned deal and then Kevin went in and took his turn throwing interceptions.”
Brock says his defense has played well but needs more help.
“Right now, the fact that we’re struggling throwing the ball or protecting the quarterback, and we’re not really blowing anybody wide open in the running game, means that teams are basically lining eight guys up in the box, covering us man-to-man on the receivers and daring us to throw the ball,” Brock said.
Army’s best answer to that plan is receiver Jeremy Trimble, who set career highs with 11 catches for 169 yards and scored two touchdowns last week to become the Black Knights’ all-time receptions leader.
“Jeremy is our go-to-guy and everyone knows he is our go-to-guy yet he finds a way to get it done,” Brock said.
Said Tech coach Chan Gailey: “They’ve got a receiver that you’d better be able to control. You better be able to stop the run and know where Trimble is.”
Army already has played two Atlantic Coast Conference teams, losing to Wake Forest 21-10 and Boston College 37-17. Army gave up touchdowns on a punt return and interception return in the loss to Wake Forest.
The combined margin of losses to the two ACC teams was 58-27, yet Trimble said “I definitely think it gives you confidence.
“At the beginning of the season, some people may not have believed that we could hang with them. I think we showed we could play with Wake Forest and Boston College and that is going to help us this weekend.”
Tech (4-3, 2-3 ACC) beat Miami 17-14 last week and is trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since the first two weeks of the season.
The Yellow Jackets are looking forward to an off week before a Nov. 1 home game against Virginia Tech.
“We’ve got to win the game and win it in a way that everybody can feel comfortable going into Virginia Tech,” said Tech running back Tashard Choice, who set career highs with 37 carries for 204 yards against Miami.
Choice had a string of nine straight 100-yard games end when he suffered a hamstring injury against Boston College. He has played through the injury and now has a new streak of three straight 100-yard games — with 32 or more carries in each of the three games.
“Hopefully we can play this game, rest up next week and I will be about 100 percent going into Virginia Tech,” Choice said.
Tech has rushed for 18 touchdowns, including three by quarterback Taylor Bennett, who has passed for only two touchdowns.