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RB Anthony Allen warns Georgia Tech of letdown

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen waited two years to gouge an opponent in coach Paul Johnson's triple-option attack.

And after rushing for 195 yards against Virginia last week, Allen is ready to improve his numbers when the Yellow Jackets (4-2) host Middle Tennessee (2-3) on Saturday.

It wouldn't be the first time Allen pounded Middle Tennessee. As a sophomore at Louisville in 2007, he rushed for a career-best 275 against the Blue Raiders.

Now he's ready to do it again.

"I was out there just running the ball, not realizing how many yards I had and not realizing what I was doing," Allen said this week. "I tried to come out one play, and the coach was like, 'I think you want to go in.' "

The last thing Allen or any Georgia Tech fan wants is a shootout with Middle Tennessee. In his big day three years ago, Allen couldn't believe how the Blue Raiders kept matching Louisville point for point.

Fortunately, the Cardinals escaped with a 58-42 victory, but Allen is warning those who will listen that Middle Tennessee shouldn't be taken lightly.

"Our thing the whole week was to not fall into the trap," he said. "We didn't, and that's really all that matters."

Every season seems to have traps, just as Allen, saw as a transfer two years ago as the Yellow Jackets nearly lost to a seemingly lesser opponent in mid-October. Just like this year, a date with Clemson awaited the following week, and Georgia Tech played as if in a trance.

Thanks to a blocked field goal attempt by defensive end Derrick Morgan, the Jackets managed a 10-7 victory over Gardner-Webb despite beginning the game with the nation's fifth-best rushing attack.

Georgia Tech is ranked No. 3 this year.

Johnson doesn't really care to recall that near-debacle, which he described afterward after the game as "a comedy of errors, really."

Quarterbacks Joshua Nesbitt and Jaybo Shaw were injured and unable to play, so third-stringer Calvin Booker, a fifth-year senior, made his first career start, but the Jackets barely gave him a chance.

They finished with 79 yards rushing, nearly 210 below their season average. Booker suffered abysmal protection and completed just three of 10 attempts.

"One thing where I would draw the comparison (to Middle Tennessee) is the kids from Gardner-Webb who were from Georgia came in here to play," Johnson said. "And that's what these (Middle Tennessee) kids are going to do. They're going to show us that they should've gotten recruited here. I'm sure they'll come in with a chip on their shoulder."

The Blue Raiders have 26 Georgia players on their roster, including quarterback Dwight Dasher.

It will be the second Nesbitt and Dasher have met. The first ended with Nesbitt's Green County team losing the Class AA Georgia High School Association title game to Dasher's Charlton County squad.

In 2010 they are having decidedly different seasons. Nesbitt leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing. Dasher missed the first four games because of an NCAA suspension and returned last week to four sacks in a blowout loss to Troy.

Dasher, though, is dangerous. He finished 2009 with 2,789 yards passing and 1,154 rushing. He passed for 23 touchdowns and ran for 13.

"I think they are going to throw the ball," Johnson said. "They play at a fast pace and can spread you out. They couldn't run the ball very well against Troy. They are going to throw the ball. He is probably going to throw it a lot anyway even if they have success running. It is what they do."

Johnson added that Austin Barrick will start at right tackle as Phil Smith recovers from an ankle injury.