The teams’ kickers have struggled in recent weeks.
BYU (4-4) has made only one of its last five field goals, including a missed 46-yarder by Justin Sorensen in last week’s 17-14 loss to No. 5 Notre Dame.
Georgia Tech (3-4) has made only two of its last seven, including three misses in its 37-17 win over Boston College last week.
Justin Moore hopes he has a chance to end Georgia Tech’s kicking woes. Moore, who made 11 of 17 field goals last season, was beaten out by David Scully this year. Scully could miss Saturday’s game with a hip injury, creating a possible opening for Moore.
“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity and it’s finally here so I’ve just got to make the best of it,” Moore said before adding with a laugh “which basically means don’t miss.”
Moore took over for Scully last week and made one of two tries. He said the game against BYU could be close, so he knows better than 50-percent success is expected.
“Last season I didn’t have the greatest season, making 65 percent or so,” said Moore, a junior. “I set my goals higher this year. I’ve already missed one. Right now, given this opportunity, I want to show I’ve grown a lot since last season, physically and mentally. Having a high percentage would show that.”
When asked to describe the depth chart at placekicker with Moore and Scully, coach Paul Johnson said “That’s an open competition.”
Senior Riley Stephenson, also BYU’s punter, made four of six field goals before Sorensen reclaimed the job only to miss four of his first five tries.
The Cougars will try to end a two-game losing streak. Three of BYU’s four losses have come to ranked teams, including the last two losses to No. 7 Oregon State (42-24) and Notre Dame.
BYU played close in a 24-21 loss at Utah and a 7-6 loss to No. 21 Boise State. Last week’s narrow loss to undefeated Notre Dame added more heartbreak.
“They hurt more, knowing you’re right there — one, two or three plays are the difference,” said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall. “But we’re playing good teams and we’re playing them on the road.
“When I started this job to where it is now, expectations are even higher, schedule more demanding. We’re playing better football against better teams. That’s what’s coming next and I welcome it, but we have to execute at an even higher level.”
Georgia Tech ended a three-game losing streak by beating Boston College. The Yellow Jackets gave up more than 40 points in each of the three losses, and Johnson fired defensive coordinator Al Groh in a bye week before the Boston College game.
Johnson gave Charles Kelly, the secondary coach, control of the defense for the remainder of the season.
Johnson’s spread-option offense made things easy for Kelly’s defense by running 91 plays and holding the ball almost 44 minutes.