1. Following the game, Middle Tennessee State laughed best. The Blue Raiders roster includes 36 players from Georgia. One of them is cornerback Kenneth Gilstrap, a Miller Grove High grad who is a close friend and former teammate of former Tech star Stephen Hill.
Gilstrap made one of the plays of the game, intercepting a pass intended for wide receiver Jeff Greene in the fourth quarter. Gilstrap said he had about 40 friends and family members at the game and almost cried when he made the play.
“Georgia Tech gave a slap in the face to all of us,” he said, referring to his Georgian teammates. “We are all from Georgia. We’ve got more Georgia people on our team than they do. They tell us that we’re not good enough to play in our own state, but we showed we were the better team in this game.”
Gilstrap’s enthusiastic math, while understandable, is a little off. There are 80 players from Georgia on the Tech roster, according to the media guide.
2. Following the game, Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich wore a look that made it appear he bore the loss to MTSU as heavily as the team and coaching staff. He affirmed his support for coach Paul Johnson.
“I have complete confidence in Paul and his staff to be able to move forward here and get us in the right direction,” he said.
Radakovich made reference to a possible communication issue between coaches and players.
“Is the communication being received correctly?” he asked. “What can you do to make the message get received by the people who have to execute?”
Johnson had a similar response to a question about the Miami loss having a lingering effect on the team. The coach acknowledged it was possible.
“We talked and tried to use several different angles but clearly I didn’t get through to them, so that comes back to me,” he said.
3. Defensive coordinator Al Groh moved from the field to the box to call the game. Johnson said the move was intended to make the play-calling process to the field quicker. In the press box, Johnson said, “there wouldn’t be everybody around him.”
From the sideline, inside linebackers coach Joe Speed signaled in the plays.
“I don’t think we had as much trouble getting the calls in,” Johnson said. “The results weren’t much different.”
Johnson deflected a question about if he were considering changes to his staff.
“After the game, I’m just considering going and watching the tape,” he said. “That’s what I’m considering doing.”
4. Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu and cornerback Louis Young both did not play after not practicing this week. Attaochu, whose injury was undisclosed, was replaced by Tyler Marcodes. Young, the No. 3 cornerback, was out with an upper-body injury and was replaced by various players, including true freshman D.J. White.
Marcodes had a tough game, missing a number of tackles. He was replaced at the end of the first half by Chris Crenshaw.
“[Attaochu’s absence] affected us, but then again the next guy should be able to step up and take his place,” inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy said. “I feel like we’re a brotherhood out there. We live off each other. It didn’t affect us.”
Starting outside linebacker Brandon Watts did not play in the base defense in the first half, subbed for by Malcolm Munroe. Watts played significantly more in the second half. Johnson said that Watts was hurt and “didn’t think he could go. Halftime, I think he decided he could give it a go.”
5. A-back Orwin Smith was called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in Saturday’s loss.
He took responsibility for the first one which came after he and a Middle Tennessee State player began jawing at each other after a kickoff return in the first quarter.
“That was just being real intense out there,” he said. “I go out every game with that fire. I’ve just got to find a way for other guys to do it too.”
Smith said he hates any contact after the whistle and said when the game isn’t being played fairly, “I need the ref to say something. Me personally, I need to relax.”
The second one occurred in the third quarter after Smith was tackled for a 1-yard loss. MTSU linebacker Roderic Blunt stood over Smith after the play, preventing Smith from standing up. Smith got up and jawed briefly with Blunt.
6. Lost in the detritus of Saturday’s 49-28 defeat was that Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington tied a school single-game record with four rushing touchdowns.
Washington scored on runs of 1, 3, 1, and 1 yards to tie the mark, most recently reached by running back P.J. Daniels against Tulsa in 2003.
Washington has 11 rushing touchdowns this year, the third-most by a quarterback in school history, and 10 in the past three games.
His 29 rushing touchdowns are the fifth-most in that category and fifth-most in career touchdowns in school history. He now has 174 points in his career, tying him with Calvin Johnson for 10th on the school’s all-time scoring list.
7. The announced attendance was 39,270. It was the smallest crowd for a Tech home game since a Duke game in 2000 drew 36,908. … Kicker Justin Moore took holding duties on extra points. The previous holder was Sean Poole, who is out with an upper-body injury he suffered last Saturday against Miami.
Defensive end Izaan Cross wore No. 40 Saturday in honor of former linebacker and captain Julian Burnett. The team has been rotating the jersey in tribute to Burnett, who suffered a career-ending neck injury in the Sun Bowl last season.