Fitting MTSU loss into Tech history

In case you wanted more torment, I attempted to place Saturday’s 49-28 loss to Middle Tennessee State in Georgia Tech’s bad loss history. As some of you probably know better than I do, it’s historically bad. You could argue it’s worse than the 17-14 Furman loss in 1983, as the margin of defeat was greater and I don’t know that much was expected from that team.

The losses were based on two criteria – that the opponent be a lesser-caliber team and margin of victory. It excludes costly ACC losses or losses to Georgia, but my thinking is that a loss to Georgia or an ACC team (or opponents of the other leagues Tech has belonged to in the past) is more understandable than a loss to a team from the Sun Belt Conference or, in the case of Furman, an FCS team. I’m distinguishing between a bad loss and a costly or emotionally painful loss. Miami was costly. MTSU was bad.

“Lesser caliber” is difficult to determine, particularly the further you go back. The Sagaran rating for the 1902 St. Albans team is not readily accessible, for example. (Much of the information, particularly about opponents, is from websites that I deem to be reasonably reliable.)

1983 – 17-14 loss to Furman. The Paladins were, and are, an FCS (or I-AA) team, so would be even less expected to beat Tech than MTSU was. It remains Tech’s only loss to an FCS-level team. (The Jackets tied Furman in 1986.)

1981 – 28-15 loss to Memphis. (then Memphis State) The Tigers were an independent so I don’t know how you’d categorize them, but they were pretty rancid. Memphis (State) scored more than 13 points only once that season, and that was against Tech in its only win of the season. Tech also went 1-10 after opening the season with a win over No. 4 Alabama in Birmingham in Bill Curry’s second season. I know some about that game, but that’s a tough one to understand.

1968 – 35-14 loss to Navy. The Midshipmen were 2-8 against a rigorous independent schedule. They beat Tech in November, part of a four-game losing streak to end Bud Carson’s second season after the retirement of Bobby Dodd. Navy’s only other win was over Pittsburgh. Tech was 4-6.

From this point to the beginning of the century, Tech’s schedule was almost exclusively comprised of teams on its level, and the Jackets beat just about all of the more suspect outfits.

1902 – 17-0 loss to St. Albans (Va.). St. Albans lost to Virginia 15-0 and 10-0 to N.C. State and tied Furman 0-0, according to sports-reference.com, just two days after beating Tech at Brisbine Park. That Tech team was 0-6-2 under the leadership of Coach John McKee and captain Bully Young, so it’s hard to call this a bad loss, given that the Jackets weren’t very good, as was the case of most of Tech’s first teams. McKee did not return for the 1903 season, after which John Heisman became coach. Brisbine Park, possibly Brisbane Park, was about eight blocks west of where Turner Field now stands.

1900 – 23-0 loss to Nashville. I believe this is the University of Nashville, which Wikipedia says closed in 1909. Nashville lost to Auburn 28-0 and 18-0 to Vanderbilt that season. Tech was 0-4 that season and was outscored 107-6. Games were played at Piedmont Park.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

243 comments Add your comment

Yella-Britches

October 1st, 2012
12:40 pm

All I can say is, “WOW”!

yeller bug

October 1st, 2012
12:44 pm

Glad I got to witness history—–not.

I Don't Understand

October 1st, 2012
12:56 pm

Why hasn’t Groh resigned or been fired yet?

ramblingbuzz

October 1st, 2012
12:57 pm

It was a humiliating loss made doubly so by fact that everyone expected a rebound after the OT losses. Ken, don’t know how much access you have to the players during the week but do you have any indication of their state of mind following the loss?

In other news

October 1st, 2012
12:57 pm

Paul Johnson is making history at Tech and not in a good way

ibidGT

October 1st, 2012
12:57 pm

Congratulations on the achievement CPJ!

Jacket Detective

October 1st, 2012
1:00 pm

The was a perfect storm loss.
Attaochu is to my eye our best defender.
With him and others out, the team quit for a week.
It happens and is the fault of coaches for losing the three OT games with conservative (like the 1980’s Falcons) strategies in the 4th qt.
I’ve compared the three to the 1980 Falcon loss to Dallas after a 17 point lead that set the Falcons back 5 or 10 years.
Bartkowski was having a great season and a great game but was stopped in the 4th quarter by his O coordinator’s playcalling.
But after this bad loss and Clemson coming up, they may realize they still have things to play for.
Since we can’t fire the coaches midseason, maybe Al, like the tin man, will find a brain and occasionally blitz.

jabster

October 1st, 2012
1:04 pm

For what it’s worth, Furman would win a fourth consecutive SoCon title in 1983, and the SoCon only moved down to DI-AA the year prior. Furman would win the SoCon title again in 1985, and then win the DI-AA national championship in 1988.

Jacket Detective

October 1st, 2012
1:07 pm

Tenuta blitzed too much.
Groh blitzes too little.
But if your cover guys aren’t great, blitzing is worth the gamble.
What is tough on both fans and players was all three games (Utah, VT and Miami) appeared to be going our way.
Three games like that following so soon after each other destroyed confidence.
Can the Jackets regroup?

still loyal

October 1st, 2012
1:07 pm

Detective, while I agree with your theory, the tin man was actually searching for a heart. We could use both a brain ( scarecrow by the way) and a heart.

Lavette4066

October 1st, 2012
1:07 pm

Saw both of those Furman games. Embarrassing, but not so painful as Tech was terrible and Furman was regularly dominating the SoCon. Glad I chose not to witness the MTSU game in person as I may have become the third Tech fan to jump off the stadium this year.

Ken Sugiura

October 1st, 2012
1:11 pm

ramblingbuzz – players are made available after games and then tuesday (offense) and wednesday (defense).
Jacket Detective – good observations.
Jabster – I probably should have noted that Furman was at its height. Time will tell how good MTSU’s season will be.

49-28

October 1st, 2012
1:13 pm

Hilarious to see that the announced crowd was 36,000. Maybe 25,000 actually showed up. Great “fans!”

Jacket Detective

October 1st, 2012
1:13 pm

CPJ should not have thrown Wommack under the bus because fans were tired of losing to Uga.
Seniors did not want to learn a new defense in 2010.
But maybe Tech should just be used as a stepping stone.
If u stay here for 5 years or more, u usually get hated for your loyalty.
Both Curry and Ross dumped us for more money and they are thought more highly of than Hewitt and Johnson.

Born2Buzz

October 1st, 2012
1:16 pm

JD,, Al G is like the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion all wrapped up together, no heart, no brains and no courage. Maybe CPJ is Oz too. Pay no attention to the man behind the Triple Option.

This loss was maybe the worst ever. But Ken, you have to include losses to UGA and conference foes. Chan had the worst loss ever to UGA (51-7) and the worst loss ever to Clemson (39-3), out two biggest rivals. CPJ hasn’t hit the double like that…yet.

Jacket Detective

October 1st, 2012
1:16 pm

How about a new rule for hiring that no coach can be hired who is “owed” money from a prior job?
It’s a pretty good red flag, we now know.

NGA Jacket

October 1st, 2012
1:17 pm

Make no mistake. The MTSU loss was by far the worst. We were 27 pt favorites
at home against a team we had crused for the past two years.

This is Johnson’s 5th year and there are no excuses.

The character of this team ( and coach ) is on the line.

Jacket Detective

October 1st, 2012
1:17 pm

Thanks for the good laugh Born2Buzz.

gt1012

October 1st, 2012
1:17 pm

http://www.coacheshotseat.com/CoachesHotSeatRanking.htm

I think it’s interesting that CPJ gets paid more than Frank Beamer and about $1M/yr more than Dabo and Jimbo. He’s at the same level as Chip Kelly and Spurrier. His salary is easily in the top 10% of football coaches.
Obviously, he is getting overpaid. Maybe we need to take a closer look at the AD decision making.

old dog

October 1st, 2012
1:19 pm

Never, ever have I seen y’all (or any other D-1 team) quit (yes…..quit!) like that. Besides the coaching, etc. the lack of d-effort should make y’all sick. Not one person who started on D should start against Clemson….not one! Yeah, coach is terrible, but reaching out w/arms for Cunninham in the 4th ‘coz you were scared of gettin’ run over? C’mon, man! I am not a Tech-hater…..I pull for y’all and watched the entire game. That was the poorest cumulitive defensive effort in the history or organized athletics. At least when Baylor and teams like that have high-scoring games there is some razzle-dazzle, etc. Y’all just plain quit, got torn up like a dollar-watch on the spin-cycle, and embarassed our state. Yeah, we will get trounced, too. And yeah, folks pile on when the going gets tough. But, there is NO EXCUSE for anyone in D-1 even if they get beat 100-0 to put forth such a blatant lack of effort!

Jacket Detective

October 1st, 2012
1:21 pm

Thanks for the history, Jabster.
Those Furman teams had talent and were well-coached.
Did their coach go on to Vandy where he had no chance?

GT Joe

October 1st, 2012
1:22 pm

Now is it time for Vad?

Is he still “not ready”? All you geniuses seem to have known that he WASN’T ready after the VT game. Just checking to see if the geniuses think he is “ready” (based on whatever criteria you have been using).

GT Joe

October 1st, 2012
1:26 pm

VT loss: Tevin throws the worst possible pass in OT, an unnecessary pass into the endzone that got picked. Game over.
Miami loss: Tevin misreads the defense, checks out of the called play, and fails to convert the 4th down in OT. Game over.
MTSU: Tevin underthrows not one but TWO deep passes where the WR beat coverage. Easy TDs, which turned into an incompletion and an interception (followed by a 75 yard TD run, I believe). Game over.

Wake up folks. It’s not coaching. It’s Tevin Washington.

JacketSteve

October 1st, 2012
1:27 pm

The blame goes 100% on the coaching staff. In the VT game clock management on our last drive was poor, and we left them too much time to get in FG range. The Miami game, we had 4th and 1 at the 48 with 2:18 left. Miami was out of time outs. PJ goes for it on 4th down 80% of the time. If he gets the one yard the game is over. Instead he punts and the rest is history. This game was just embarrassing. I don’t care who was out. We should never allow that many yards to a team like that. The experiment is over. Our offense doesn’t allow our defense to prepare for other teams. Our defenders are constantly in the wrong place to make plays. By the end of the season when we’ve gotten blown out by Clemson and Georgia and not made it to a bowl game everyone will see that it is time to move in a different direction.

BigTimeTECHFan

October 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

Don’t forget all the losses to UGA, They are very weak , 90% of the time Tech is a way better team and we find a way to lose.

GT Joe

October 1st, 2012
1:30 pm

CPJ record without Tevin Washington: 25-8
CPJ record WITH Tevin Washington: 11-12

Any Questions?

49-28

October 1st, 2012
1:30 pm

“”Don’t forget all the losses to UGA, They are very weak, 90% of the time Tech is way better and we find a way to lose.”

HUH?????????????? I thought Tech people were supposed to be smart? That makes ZERO sense. What a fool.

GT Pa

October 1st, 2012
1:31 pm

I figure the DC has one more game to prove something. Replacing him with five days until Clempson won’t make much difference. But with the bye week following and then a weak BC team after that, gives time to change things up.

gordonguy1969

October 1st, 2012
1:33 pm

I root for Tech when they’re not playing Georgia and I was dumbfounded when I saw this score on Saturday. Last year everyone was talking about how Richt was on the hot-seat and at that time it was my opinion, and still is, that Richt was not the one seated there; it was Paul Johnson. I still stand by my opinion. He is the walking definition of a one-trick pony. This “run and gun” offense CAN be defensed, and it doesn’t matter how many points you score if you don’t have a defense that can stop the other team.

Technically Correct

October 1st, 2012
1:33 pm

I put out a lot more effort just getting to the game – a 500+ mile round trip, hotel room, meals, $20 for parking – than I saw from anyone on our side of the field. The fans kept thinking that, sooner or later, the team would “wake up”, play with fire and conviction and display some urgency. It will be a long time before I make that trek again.

Always a Jacket

October 1st, 2012
1:36 pm

Ken, thanks for the history. As a long time Tech fan, I have my memorble losses, a Notre Dame game in the 70’s when Devine ran up the score on Pepper Rogers. But given your criteria, looks like the MTSU loss will make the top 10 no matter MTSU record.

As the program goes into full meltdown, keep us posted on the players attitudes. This situation indicates that the coaches have lost the team. I find it hard to believe the Miami loss triggered it.

BREAKING NEWS

October 1st, 2012
1:36 pm

Groh to resign today at 4:00 PM.

GT Fan

October 1st, 2012
1:37 pm

Born2Buzz ….
You are correct, Sir, regarding CG’s double doozy vs. UGA & Clemson. But don’t forget Mr. Gailey’s other embarrassing losses to:

UNC … had won an ACC game in ??? but dominates GT
Duke … similar to the UNC scenario, but maybe even more of butt kicking
Fresno St …. TWICE! The first L was to a FS team that had suspended NINE starters prior to the game.
UTAH … The Utes had to beat a bad BYU team that year just to be bowl eligible at 6-6, the thoroughly kicked CG’s arse!

DOC 51

October 1st, 2012
1:38 pm

We consistently get manhandled on both sides of the line by real tough opponents.GT won’t go anywhere until this problem is addressed.Our linemen were pitiful against MTSU.You can’t let your QB take hits like TW took in the fourth quarter of that game.

GT Joe

October 1st, 2012
1:40 pm

Doc: TW takes hits because he is slow and can’t make an individual play to save his life.

AJGT2K

October 1st, 2012
1:41 pm

Come on Ken… 51-7? Most gawdawful GT game I ever watched. And the Gailey apologists can put that one in their pipe and smoke it.

Fire CAG, Fire CPJ, Bench TW (Reggie Ball JR)

Bilbo

October 1st, 2012
1:42 pm

The Three Stooges looked better in their comical football attempts on film. That about covers this humiliating loss. Very little talent it would seem, and even worse coaching. Bobby Dodd, Kim King, and Al Ciraldo have turned over in their graves after this one.

ramblingbuzz

October 1st, 2012
1:42 pm

Who says coaches don’t make a difference? Look at the state of USCe football when Spurrier took over vs. where they are now. It’s been a slow go, but he’s got them in the top 10, at least for now. And they’re doing it with a QB that GT recruited a bit, Connor Shaw, who if I recall correctly ran the TO in high school. And yeah I know all about the recruiting differences and the majors avialable at a University vs. GT.

Bad, but

October 1st, 2012
1:42 pm

The MTSU game was BAD. However, I watched replays of the game 4 times just to try and get a feel for really how bad. After watching it, IMO, GT was not as bad as I first thought. Some, notice some/few, of the missed tackles were over-reacting by the defensive player, being to anxious to make a “big” play rather than breaking-down to make a good solid tackle. Then again a lot of tackles were the reaching type, being out of position and just plan bad form. On the offensive side I saw a lot of dropped balls that were catchable. Just seems like the receivers are not making the catches they should, rather than poorly thrown balls.

One thing is for sure. Either tackles are made and catches are made that should/have to be or Clemson runs GT off the field and the game is over by half time.

GT Fan

October 1st, 2012
1:43 pm

I agree GT Joe …. Tevin’s a ball hog. Heck, maybe he underthrows/overthrows his receivers so HE can get more chances to call his own #?

Didn’t see the incomplete pass you talk about vs. MTSU, but surely saw the INT … a severely underthrown ball which resulted in a INT.

GT’s O seldom pitches anymore (is that TW?), and I don’t think I’ve seen the quick-pitch to Aback play since early in 2011?

Jacket Attack

October 1st, 2012
1:44 pm

I sit here in front of this computer today, and know that none of you poster can actually have graduated from Tech. Think about it for a second! Yes was the loss bad? Yes! Was the loss embarassing? Yes. You blame coaches who cannot catch the ball for them, tackle them, and hold onto the football for them. I am a loyal Ga Tech dude and stoping going to the games or supporting the team is not the right thing to do at this point. I say we put enough faith in PJ to have hired him, lets at least let him try to work it out. Those millions of dollars it will take to pay him out of his contract could be used somewhere else such as filling the stadium or updating the stadium. I give all I can to tech but Im telling you now if you don’t want to see Tech end up like lets say NC State,Wake Forrest,Texas Tech or someone like that then you will shut up and get behind the team and the current coaching staff. I wonder what this blog will bring if we upset Clemson on Saturday and beat UGAG at the end of the year. Will you all still be calling for the coaches head? Its time you all grow up and support the team and the coaches and lets all get through this together.

Highly Respected Southern Troll

October 1st, 2012
1:45 pm

The 30-24 loss to Georgia in 2009 was the worst in Paul Johnson’s tenure at Tech for a variety of reasons. The MTSU game the other day and the Kansas game in 2010 are about equally inexplicable.

juvenal

October 1st, 2012
1:45 pm

Furman was worse, i was there…..MTSU has good talent, 3 dozen of them from here, good recruiting, great coaching….Furman was even a worse coaching job, barely…..& back then, i took stuff like this seriuosly….actually felt worse about Gunners loss to the blues……

GT Fan

October 1st, 2012
1:46 pm

Bad, but ……

Go back and watch the INT when GT was trailing 35-28. The WR is so wide open, behind the DB, A SURE TD IF TW THROWS A DEEPER BALL. DB picks it, and returns to GT’s 15 yd line. MTSU scores to go up 42-28. A 35-35 game becomes a 14 pt deficit b/c TW severly underthrew a wide open J.Greene.

If do right, no can defense

October 1st, 2012
1:47 pm

Just realized Tevin looks a lot like The-Dream.

Yes, I’m that dazed by this loss.

Jacket Detective

October 1st, 2012
1:48 pm

@GT Joe.
U r making a better case that Chan should not have been fired.
He had a great recruiter and CPJ has won with Chan’s players. (as Uga fans predicted)
If Tevin is so terrible, that’s on CPJ as well.
He makes that call, not me or anyone else on this blog.
These are his players now.
You are not arguing with me.
Actually u r arguing with CPJ.
I’d like to see Synjyn for a play now and then like we were told was going to happen in preseason.
Someone missed a block on his one play and I guess he’s done for the season.

AJGT2K

October 1st, 2012
1:49 pm

Jacket Attack, are you on CPJ’s staff? Sounds exactly like something CPJ would say throwing the players under the bus.

49-28

October 1st, 2012
1:50 pm

JacketAttack, Tech is already like NC State, Wake, and Texas Tech. They never do anything and mean nothing in this state. Look back little man, you guys average 7-8 wins a year and that’s it along with the annual loss to UGA and the annual bowl loss.

JacketSteve

October 1st, 2012
1:50 pm

GT Joe, whose fault is it that Tevin hasn’t improved at all throwing the ball? Didn’t we all blame Chan for not making Reggie Ball a better player and wasting the greatest receiver on the planet in Calvin? PJ’s only good defense was loaded with Chan’s players that are in the NFL now. The teams we’ve beaten since PJ has gotten here aren’t that good. FSU was going downhill when we beat them twice. Georgia wasn’t winning any SEC East titles the ONE time we beat them. Nobody was scared of Miami the ONE time we beat them. We beat Clemson last year, and we all saw what happened to them in the Orange Bowl. Other than that it’s been wins against Duke, Maryland, Vandy, Miss St., UVA. When he was at Navy he beat Notre Dame when they were at their low point, and that got him this job. He won’t beat Notre Dame again. Stephon Tuitt will agree with that.

Jacket Attack

October 1st, 2012
1:51 pm

Its over guys! and Middle Tenn State will attend a bowl wait and see. Lets all worry about clemson now.