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Ga. Tech's high-scoring offense have Jackets looking like contenders

Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, center, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter last week's game against Virginia.

Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, center, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter last week's game against Virginia.

ATLANTA — Back-to-back lopsided wins have lifted Georgia Tech’s hopes in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

The Yellow Jackets have scored more than 50 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1936. Coach Paul Johnson’s spread-option offense, led by senior quarterback Tevin Washington, has shown impressive depth, experience and big-play potential.

Johnson says his Yellow Jackets, who overwhelmed Virginia 56-20 last week, would be back in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division race if they can beat Miami on Saturday.

Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1) would trail only Virginia Tech in the division if it can win the home game over Miami (2-1, 2-0). The Hurricanes won at Boston College in their first ACC game.

“Anytime you play those at home, it’s an important game and certainly Miami has already had a road win in the league,” Johnson said. “They’re 1-0 in the conference and we’re looking up at them so it’s a big game. It’s a chance to get ahead of them in the standings and move up and not be looking up at more than one team, so it’s a huge game.”

A season-opening overtime loss to division rival Virginia Tech was a bad start for Georgia Tech. Johnson said he likes the way his players have responded with two big wins, including a 59-3 rout of Presbyterian.

An easy win over Presbyterian was expected. The rout of Virginia was more notable as the Yellow Jackets took control with an early barrage of big plays.

Three of Georgia Tech’s first four plays were good for 60 or more yards, including a 70-yard touchdown pass from Washington to running back Zach Laskey on the Yellow Jackets’ first snap.

Orwin Smith led the Yellow Jackets with 137 yards on only six carries, including a 77-yarder for a touchdown. For the season, Smith is averaging 12.5 yards per carry.

“It was more relief than anything,” Smith said of his big game. “I was waiting all year just for something like this to happen.

“It means a lot, and it says a lot also, because I feel like we’re ready.”

Washington, who ran for three touchdowns against Virginia, was the team’s only player with as many as 10 carries in the game. Johnson has good depth at running back, and four players combined for the team’s seven touchdowns on the ground against the Cavaliers.

Washington and Laskey rank among the ACC’s top 10 rushers. Vad Lee, Washington’s backup, and Smith aren’t far behind.

The gaudy offensive numbers, including 14 rushing touchdowns in three games, can make it easy to overlook Georgia Tech’s defense. The unit has not allowed a rushing touchdown and ranks second in the ACC in scoring defense.

“For the most part, other than the fourth quarter at Virginia Tech, they’ve played really well,” Johnson said of his defense.

Miami has won the last three games in the series, including a 24-7 win last year and a 35-10 victory in Atlanta in 2010.

Notes: Georgia Tech originally set its Sept. 29 home game against Middle Tennessee State for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The starting time now may be changed for TV. … Associate athletic director Wayne Hogan said 48,000 tickets have been sold for the Miami game, which is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff. … Johnson said running back Charles Perkins has an “upper body injury” and won’t play this week. “Do I expect him back? Not anytime soon,” Johnson said.