Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson was non-committal whether Tevin Washington would remain as starting quarterback after Tech’s offense approached or reached new lows for ineffectiveness in a 41-17 loss to BYU on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Tech’s offense was limited to 157 yards and scored its only points on a drive after Washington was pulled amid a cascade of boos. The Yellow Jackets were 0-of-10 on third downs and outrushed by almost 70 yards. Washington finished 1-of-5 passing with an interception and rushed for 10 yards on five carries.
“We’ll see; we’ll look into it and see where we are at,” Johnson said of changing quarterbacks. Washington’s backup is Vad Lee, who led the Jackets to a field goal, the only points scored by the offense. Even that drive was aided by penalties against the Cougars.
The Jackets, who had averaged 37.7 points and almost 500 yards per game, could do little right. The Cougars’ defensive line dominated the Jackets’ offensive line, which played without injured tackle Will Jackson.
As a result, the Jackets were held without a rushing touchdown for the first time since losing to Miami in 2010. It was the first time since the loss to LSU in the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl that Tech didn’t score a touchdown on offense.
“They were filling the holes and were very aggressive,” A-back Orwin Smith said of the Cougars. “When Tevin would get the ball, they were there. When we would get to the outside, they were there.”
Johnson said the offense could never get into a rhythm in the first half. When they did, someone would miss a read or commit a penalty to stop any momentum. Because of the issues converting third downs, Tech had only nine drives and ran only 47 plays, 13 fewer than their previous low this season.
“Just self-inflicted would be the title of this game,” center Jay Finch said.
The Cougars came to town with one of the nation’s better defenses, limiting opponents to 276.9 yards and 14 points per game.
Johnson pulled Washington after his poor throw was intercepted and eventually turned into a touchdown. The score gave the Cougars a 31-14 lead with 3:43 left in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets were 0-for-7 on third downs to that point and had less than 100 yards in offense.
As the offense’s struggles deepened, Lee said he began trying to score on every play, not every drive.
“We knew that coming in, that what they didn’t do was they didn’t give up any cheap plays,” Johnson said. “They make you earn it, and we weren’t good enough to earn it.”