Hope you are well and have adequately processed Saturday’s game. To me, it ended up pretty simple. Georgia had the better team and Georgia Tech needed to play a near-flawless game to have a chance. It didn’t, and the Jackets lost.
Last Tuesday, Roddy Jones didn’t exactly give away the game plan, but this is what he said: “It’ll definitely be a hard-fought battle and come down to execution.”
It was and it did. Georgia made the plays and Tech didn’t, in part because the Bulldogs were more capable and positioned to make them. Georgia’s offensive line was probably the best that Tech has faced this season, and same goes for quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles at their respective positions.
To me, the Jackets lost the game (or Georgia won it) once they failed to hold serve in the third quarter, giving Georgia great field position with the kick return and two interceptions and then failing to generate points on the ensuing possessions.
1. For what it’s worth, coach Paul Johnson made mention of the late second-quarter field goal that Georgia kicker Blair Walsh hit, and how it changed the momentum and how it had happened a few times previously this season that Tech has scored late in the half and then let the opponent answer with another score. I thought it’d be worth looking up.
Tech’s opponent was the last to score in the first half seven times, and six of those times it was inside the final two minutes.
Including Saturday’s game, there were four instances of what Johnson mentioned – a late second-quarter score by Tech trumped by an opponent score – one of which was followed by a Jackets field goal.
Against Western Carolina, Jones scored on a 26-yard touchdown pass with 2:21 remaining. Tech got the ball back but had its field-goal try blocked and returned for a touchdown with no time left.
Against Kansas, Justin Moore made a 24-yard field goal with 39 seconds remaining, and the Jayhawks went 60 yards in four plays to set up a field goal. Kansas’ kicker missed his first attempt left but got another try on a Tech penalty and made the second from 28 yards.
Against Miami, Tech drove 92 yards in 20 plays, scoring on a Tevin Washington keeper with 1:02 remaining to close to 14-7. Miami returned the kickoff to the Tech 46 and got into the end zone in three plays and 25 seconds to make the score 21-7.
Against Virginia Tech, Moore scored a field goal with 1:00 remaining to close to 14-10, but Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas hit Danny Coale for a 63-yard yard touchdown and a 21-10 lead. Tech responded in that instance with a half-ending field goal.
Technically speaking, the Virginia Tech example is a little gray, as the Jackets answered the Coale touchdown. Still, both instances with Miami and the Hokies were pretty damaging.
2. I think Tech is headed to the Sun Bowl and I also think the Chick-fil-A Bowl is not very excited about its ACC options, assuming Virginia Tech wins the ACC title. I think the first because Sun Bowl executive director Bernie Olivas said as much in an interview with me on Saturday after the game, saying the Jackets look like the pick right now if they’re available.
As for the second, if the Hokies win, here are Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan’s options: Clemson, which would have lost three games in a row and four of its last five and likely would drop out of the BCS rankings (the Tigers are No. 20); Virginia, which was building momentum but got hammered by Virginia Tech on Saturday; Florida State, which got back into both polls after beating Florida, but which I don’t think is much of an option because the Seminoles played there last year, and Tech, which also lost Saturday in dispiriting fashion.
One possible problem for Tech and the Sun Bowl would occur if Clemson gets drilled and the Chick-fil-A decides it can’t take the Tigers and takes, I guess, Virginia. (Even if Clemson lost badly, it doesn’t seem likely the Tigers still wouldn’t come to Atlanta.) In this scenario, then the Champs Sports Bowl takes Florida State and then the Sun Bowl would take Clemson, as it’s contractually obligated to take the ACC title-game loser if available. The next game would be the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, which may well jump on N.C. State, a local team that finished hot. That would give the Jackets to the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville.
3. That’s about it. I’ve got a couple things to get cranking on for Tuesday’s paper.
The All-ACC team will be released at 3 p.m. today. I’ll have something up on the blog shortly after. My guess is guard Omoregie Uzzi will be on the first team and deservedly so. A-back Orwin Smith and linebacker Julian Burnett have a shot at first team.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog