Updated: Tech ends slide against Boston College





Updated, 10 p.m.

On the same day that the weakest team in the ACC showed up, Georgia Tech’s gloom fell away.

Returning from its bye week and eager to air out the stink of a three-game losing streak, the Yellow Jackets throttled Boston College 37-17 Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. In Tech’s first game since the firing of defensive coordinator Al Groh, the Jackets defense looked like a more cohesive and agile unit.

The scenes repeated with head-scratching frequency –ball-carriers slipping out of the grasp of Tech defenders, quarterback zipping downfield passes to convert long third downs, opponents flipping footballs to officials in the Jackets end zone and giving teammates five – did not get nearly as much play Saturday.

“Everybody was kind of on the same page,” coach Paul Johnson said. “We’ll see when we grade the film, but you didn’t see the busts.”

After firing Groh Oct. 8, Johnson said that the defense would be simplified to enable players to play with free minds and faster feet. At least for one day, it appeared that his directives were met. In the past three games, opponents had converted 31 of 46 third downs, dropping the Jackets to 103rd in the country in third-down efficiency. Saturday, Boston College converted one of nine third downs. It limited the Eagles to 47 plays and 296 yards, both season bests for Tech against an FBS opponent.

“We lined up and had a couple of keys to read, do our assignments and run around,” outside linebacker Brandon Watts said. “It was a whole lot simpler.”

The difference, according to inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy:

“Just being able to not think about a lot of things, just go out there and play,” he said. “We didn’t have too many calls out there (Saturday). It was just pretty basic. It just came down to the players.”

Caveat time: the Eagles (1-6, 0-4) have yet to beat an FBS opponent this season. They entered the game 79th in the country in total offense and 110th in third-down efficiency. Within the limits of the ACC, Tech could not have chosen a better opponent to shake out of its defensive funk. That said, the Eagles were able to bite off 63 points and almost 1,000 yards of offense against Clemson and Miami. They showed fight in the fourth quarter, cutting the margin to 31-17 with touchdowns on consecutive possessions.

The scores undoubtedly introduced unease into the Bobby Dodd Stadium stands for fans who had witnessed Tech give up three fourth-quarter leads this season, including a 14-point advantage against Miami.

However, Tech punched back Saturday in a way it didn’t in losses to Clemson and Miami, responding to the second score with a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that swallowed more than eight minutes of game time. Of no small benefit to Tech was a roughing the kicker penalty assessed to Boston College defensive back Ameer Richardson when he plowed over punter Ryan Rodwell well after he had punted the ball away.

Instead of trying to cut the lead to one score with more than 9 minutes left in the game, the Eagles instead had to return their defense to the field, never a winning strategy when the defense is ranked 115th in the country. B-back David Sims’ seven-yard touchdown run with 4:49 to play removed all doubts from the game’s outcome.

“It didn’t hurt,” Johnson said. “It’s good to get a break like that.”

The Tech offense continued its production, accumulating 391 rushing yards and 563 yards altogether. With the Eagles committed to defending the perimeter, where A-back Orwin Smith has made hay, Tech gave B-backs Sims and Zach Laskey 30 of its 76 rushing attempts, a season-high for the position. Both delivered punishing runs and combined for 156 yards.

Quarterback Tevin Washington led Tech to touchdowns on its second and third possessions, giving the Jackets a 14-0 lead and giving them rare breathing room. It opened up snaps for backup quarterback Vad Lee, who flashed his playmaking aptitude with a 24-yard touchdown run for a 21-3 second-quarter lead and then by powering a long downfield pass to wide receiver Anthony Autry for a 45-yard touchdown on the first play of the next possession.

The day wasn’t completely satisfying. Three offensive starters – Laskey and offensive tackles Will Jackson and Ray Beno – left the game with injuries. The second half was not nearly as sharp as the first. The special-teams play was not acceptable.

But as dusk settled on the Tech campus Saturday, those challenges seemed entirely more surmountable than the ones that accompanied them home from Clemson Oct. 6.

125 comments Add your comment

uafuneman

October 20th, 2012
6:36 pm

why can’t Tech get to the freakin QB. My gosh every team in college does a better job of putting pressure on the qb better than Tech and with less talent.

Will Taylor

October 20th, 2012
6:38 pm

Forgot what it felt like to see our team win lol. Good game against a poor opponent…. Lets just keep it rolling boys. Go Tech!

If do right, no can defense

October 20th, 2012
6:49 pm

What hurt us:
1. Kicking game (both FGs and kickoffs): 10 pts left on the field.
2. Penalties: 65 yds lost.
3. Poor passing efficiency (after first 6 games with good passing): less than 40%
4. 4th quarter complacency/conservative play calling.

What helped us:
1. O-line: nearly 400 yds rushing
2. 3rd down defense
3. QB rotation
4. Less miscommunication on D

Oh crap Ken...

October 20th, 2012
6:54 pm

…get ready for GT Joe’s “I told you so” in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..plese take that one sentence out of this report, even if it is true…

Oh, yeah...

October 20th, 2012
6:55 pm

…it is all Tevin’s fault…

Go Jackets

October 20th, 2012
7:14 pm

Tech defense still isnt good…….Smell a .500 record or worse….one more year with Fish Fry and then we can go in another direction.

Ol'JacketFan

October 20th, 2012
7:27 pm

Ken, I’m looking forward to the post game comments. Lots of good thing today but still some serious concerns. All in all happy with the win and looking forward to BYU next week.

Nativebird

October 20th, 2012
7:31 pm

Thank God we didn’t pay anybody any good…..like Middle Tennessee State.

gt4ever

October 20th, 2012
7:35 pm

On the same day that the weakest team in the ACC showed up, Georgia Tech’s problems went away.

Could it be that the competition was terrible…. and GT’s problems went away… Good Grief… What are you thinking Ken!

Harvey D. Pooka

October 20th, 2012
7:45 pm

Okay, time for all you fair-weather, band-wagon-jumper-ons to come back from hiding and chime in with your “I told ya so” regarding Coach Groh and also special teams.

Now, for all of you out there: stop complaining about Tevin Washington. It is quite obvious, he is not the problem, his is what is holding the team together and winning games.

Jacket Dad

October 20th, 2012
7:54 pm

Glad for the win today and proud of our guys putting things together pretty well. We don’t have an easy game left this year…… I hope we can continue and build on this win, but we can’t get complacent or overconfident as we are prone to do.

Go Jackets!!!!!!!

BC Backup QB

October 20th, 2012
8:06 pm

I’m pretty sure of all the players that started today the BC QB had the cleanest uniform on.
I can only remember him being touched once!!! That is not a good sign

Tech Fan For Life

October 20th, 2012
8:12 pm

Sorry it had to happen – only delays the inevitable – Johnson must go!
Shame on you who went to the game.
Turn off the money and force the AD’s hand.
Sorry to say it, for the first time in 40 years I am pulling against Tech.
Go BYU- they don’t need help anyway their defense will shut the run down.

spider

October 20th, 2012
8:13 pm

glad we won but lots of problems especially in pass defense and kicking game..what the heck was that punter thinking at the end of the 3rd qtr, had the wind at his back and let the clock run out…wow..as much as i hate the next foe they will lay at least 50 on us.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 20th, 2012
8:15 pm

Boston College is a mess. This was a good team for GT to work on some defensive changes. A win is good but this didn’t feel good. Just a victory against another bad team. BYU will be a bigger test. Seems like CPJ should have waited until the second half to sub. The rest of the schedule is looking tougher. ” GO JACKETS “

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 20th, 2012
8:21 pm

Don’t call yourself a fan if you think that it’s right to allow the players to practice hard all week and then look up on Saturday to see an empty stadium. My wife was sick and still wanted to go and she did. You won’t be missed.

GT-UT

October 20th, 2012
8:37 pm

37 points. Should be 47. CPJ can put up the points. I like my team scoring points. So for all you CPJ haters out there, I guess you want to score less points. Unbelievable. Fix the D!!!

spider

October 20th, 2012
8:39 pm

did we touch the bc qb today? we need to get pass rush going before our next foe( i refuse too say their name) arrives next saturday.

Tech4Life

October 20th, 2012
8:41 pm

@TechFanForLife: You should truly change you user name becuase that is honestly the most pathetic thing I’ve seen someone post on these blogs, and that’s including what the trolls say. 40 years of being a Tech fan and these are your darkest days? That’s tough to believe.

tech fan

October 20th, 2012
8:47 pm

Football attendance at bobby dodd stadium 2012-
tech vs presbyterian 41,678
tech vs virginia- 44,225
tech vs miami-50,390
tech vs mid ten st 39,270,
tech vs boston college 40,112

Yes, but tech fan...

October 20th, 2012
8:53 pm

…most of the “fans” wwere disguised as empty seats…so the rel numbers for MTSU and today were closer to 25K…

Clyde

October 20th, 2012
8:57 pm

What should the score have been? Do any of you think there’s a chance that GT has already been planning ahead for BYU? First game with a newe defensive coordinator, I say job well done football team. I enjoyed the offensive play mix today.

Jacket Detective

October 20th, 2012
9:34 pm

Vad is the future but few wanted anyone but Tevin behind center when lead was cut to 14.

Jacket Detective

October 20th, 2012
9:38 pm

If u had a ticket and didn’t go, u r pretty lame.
Good to see Bostic again who made a great catch to get us out of the hole early.

RamblingReck

October 20th, 2012
9:39 pm

Quit gripping about Tevin. He was good for 50%, with over 20 yards a catch.

North Avenue Rules

October 20th, 2012
9:39 pm

Can someone please explain why CPJ pulls his foot off the gas when we have a slight lead? It seems that he consistently sits on a lead and tries to burn clock. Why can’t we be an Oregon like offense that stops for no one to breathe?…

Clyde

October 20th, 2012
9:45 pm

Good question NAR. I was sitting around wondering the same thing. He gets a little too paranoid with the thought of a possible turnover.

GT-UT

October 20th, 2012
9:52 pm

I am a CPJ supporter, but I do put the “foot off the gas” thing squarely on him.
Good job to the O line and many of our playmakers. We’ve got some talent there!!

Jacket Detective

October 20th, 2012
9:55 pm

Kentucky called for ruffing the kicker.
Talk about dumb.
Uga will move right down the field now.
BC just as dumb.

Jacket Detective

October 20th, 2012
9:58 pm

@RR.
Go read my comment again if your remark was aimed at me.

Jacket Detective

October 20th, 2012
10:03 pm

Kentucky had a stop and a chance for a 4th quarter lead but some moron ran into the punter.
Given a 2nd chance, Uga went right down the field and scored.
Game over.
Why rush the punter and risk the penalty when your D is gassed?
BC did the same thing and gave us a 2nd chance.
Unless u r Virginia Tech and know how to pull it off, rushing the punter is seldom worth it.

MariettaMike

October 20th, 2012
10:05 pm

What hurt us in the second half was Liberal play calling, not conservative play calling. The half back pass and the long bomb would have been great if they worked, but they killed drives. BC went hurry up and scored two quick TDs.

Jacket Detective

October 20th, 2012
10:06 pm

All in all, a good win.
We should have a decent chance against BYU.

Jacket Detective

October 20th, 2012
10:20 pm

Brandon Watts had a very good game and Jamea Thomas had another great pick.

Clyde

October 20th, 2012
10:25 pm

That’s right, MariettaMike. I forgot about that. I sure was pleased to see CPJ finally run a play on 4th and short out of that little play he always does to draw the defense off sides.

George Stein

October 20th, 2012
10:35 pm

How ’bout Duke? Good for those guys. Been a long time coming.

Clyde

October 20th, 2012
10:49 pm

I wonder who’s going to win the Coastal, Duke maybe?

Tn. Jacket

October 20th, 2012
11:50 pm

Played with alot more energy today. Encouraged by their tenacity. Still can’t play D when the other team has to hurry-up due to little time. Only thing prevent prevents is the other team having to take alot of time to score. WE HAVE to get our placekicking woes figured out. Loved, Loved, LOVED the uniforms! Best look since the white pants, navy jerseys and gold helmets!

Born2Buzz

October 21st, 2012
6:41 am

The cancer that was Al Groh has been removed but it will take awhile for the healing to be complete. Thank goodness BC is horrible.

Al Bundy

October 21st, 2012
8:30 am

I wish everyone would quit whinning about what we did wrong and just enjoy the win for a few days. Our guys beat their guys and yes it wasn’t perfect but we won and we should be celebrating. I saw a lot of things that were good and I’m sure our coaching staff will address those things that were not. Go jackets!

Paddy

October 21st, 2012
8:31 am

If I were a GT fan I would not complain about anything after this past month performances Your team played well and you got a snapshot of what to expect from Vad. Besides, you just made the GT vs UGA game more worthwhile. You now have a shot at a bowl game. Why all the doom & gloom?

DKG73

October 21st, 2012
8:48 am

Groh had 80 base plays with sub packages. Then, audibled plays in to the individual players all the while altering the signals each week. No wonder we were unable to play just a few of the underclass men as it was taking a couple of years to get the plays and signals memorized to the point of being innate. The defense was ineffective from the start and totally gassed in the 4th quarter for lack of sufficient substitutions. This is akin to starting over albeit with the same base scheme. The defense will improve week by week. Having said that, yes, we can all see that the team does seem to always, not sometimes, get complacent in the second half. However, that has been a hallmark of Tech teams over the years – not sure why. That, my friends and fans, is what the coaches need to find a solution for. If they can do that, we will be highly competitive in every game. From me to you, thank you for your faithful support over the years!

BYU

October 21st, 2012
9:07 am

I agree with earlier post– quit taking the foot off the gas. 3rd quarter was there about 25 dive plays. As for the BYU, need a 4 to 5 man rush to put presure on QB. They havent seen option so it will probably be 40 pt plus game for both teams. Keep the foot on the gas!

TechLB

October 21st, 2012
9:14 am

True, BC is not a test and we did not look dominant. But thank God we played hard, were in place to make most plays and looked like we had a clue how to tackle. All major improvements. Now if we can put some twists and blitzes in the scheme to pressure the QB…could be an interesting second half!

As for play calling, we threw a screen guys! Might only be room for one new play per game! lol

TechLB

October 21st, 2012
9:16 am

Oops @ MM you’re right half back pass was new too…

TechLB

October 21st, 2012
9:19 am

@ George Stein – good call, Duke deserves a good season once in a while too. I played when they beat us under Curry so I’m just hoping we’re ready for them this year, they’re solid.

Freddie Blassie

October 21st, 2012
9:25 am

I was present and the game was really butt numbing in the second half. Tech showed some improvement, especially in the third and long situations, and they scored a little in the 2nd half. Loved Lee’s arm! A free safety cannot run under his long throws because he throws a frozen rope. I can see why TW is still the starter.
A win.

Gas House Gus

October 21st, 2012
9:25 am

Thankfully we are back on track now. Tech could have a decent season now

lkmantsk

October 21st, 2012
9:30 am

Tech-UGA game…..should be a yawner!!!…….Both are awful……both need coaching changes………neither can play defense……….

Same Old

October 21st, 2012
9:32 am

I don’t thnink Johnson takes his foot off the gas. The players always, always quit when we get at least 21 points ahead. We’ll only win one more game this year. Too bad. Just a bad year!
Maybe next year….