Tech notes: Attaochu explodes in return home

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Georgia Tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu called it emotional and exciting to play at Maryland, five minutes away from where he grew up.

Emotion and excitement suit him well. Playing in front of family and friends, Attaochu played one of the best games of his career, sacking Maryland quarterback Shawn Petty three times. One of the sacks forced a fumble. He also recovered a fumble caused by nose tackle Shawn Green and was second for Tech with six total tackles.

It was just the third game this season in which Attaochu, expected to produce this season in the pass rush, has recorded a sack. He now has five for the season. The three sacks matched his career high, set against North Carolina last September.

“I’m sure coming home for him, it was a big deal to play in front of the (home) crowd,” coach Paul Johnson said.

Tech might want to look into bringing his parents to more games. The last time they saw Attaochu in person was the Virginia Tech game, when he led the Yellow Jackets with 10 total tackles and had a half-tackle for loss.

2. Tech’s kicking struggles continued. Kicker David Scully missed two of his five extra-point attempts. One went off an upright, the other was blocked at the line. In the three games prior to Saturday, Scully and kicker Justin Moore made three of nine field-goal attempts.

Saturday was the first time that Tech missed two point-after tries in one game since the Duke game in 1993.

Maryland, with help from explosive returner Stefon Diggs and a couple subpar kickoffs, had an average start point on its six kickoff returns just past the 32-yard line. The long return came back to its 43-yard line.

“He’s a better kicker than that,” Johnson said of Scully. “David can be a very talented kicker. I’ve seen him in practice. I’ve seen him do it. We’ve got to help him get squared away.”

3. Quarterbacks Tevin Washington and Vad Lee each attempted two passes and completed one, for a combined  31 yards. It tied for the fewest pass attempts in Johnson’s tenure. Tech tried four passes in its 30-24 win over North Carolina in 2010, completing three. The Jackets last completed just two passes in their 24-21 loss to Virginia last season.

“The way the game was going, there was no need to throw it,” Johnson said. “They weren’t supporting hard out of the secondary for the most part. When we got the ball across midfield, I knew I was going for it on fourth down, so 3rd and 6 wasn’t a big deal. If you run and get four (yards), you’re in a manageable 4th and 2 or 4th and whatever.”

Johnson called other passes that turned into scrambles. The other two passes, to wide receiver Jeff Greene and A-back Orwin Smith, were dropped. Greene’s opened a second-quarter drive and likely would have been a 49-yard touchdown pass.

4. A-backs Synjyn Days and Smith broke out with big plays. Smith had a 25-yard run, a 26-yard reception and a five-yard touchdown run. Days, getting his first touches since the third game of the season, ran six times for 66 yards, including a tackle-breaking 41-yard run down the sideline.

“He’s been practicing better, focused,” Johnson said of Days. “I was proud of him. He came out and played really well.”

With his 89 rushing yards, Smith increased his career total to 1,680 and passed Jimmy Lincoln for 20th all-time on Tech’s career rushing list. With 127 all-purpose yards, Smith now has 4,033, which surpasses Jonathan Dwyer for fifth place in Tech history in that category.

“This game, we happened to get key blocks and get guys on the perimeter going,” Smith said.

5. Maryland defensive end Joe Vellano, who piled up 20 tackles against Tech last season, managed only one assisted tackle Saturday. Tech often ran left away from Vellano or ran to the perimeter on runs to the right. Offensive tackle Morgan Bailey was often successful steering him clear of the action.

“They went away from stuff that they usually do, so we had to kind of adjust on the fly,” Vellano said.

6. Washington scored his 16th rushing touchdown of the season, the third-most rushing touchdowns scored in a season by a Tech player. It was also his 34th career rushing touchdown, leaving him one shy of Joshua Nesbitt’s Tech and ACC record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.

7. Outside linebacker Brandon Watts left the game with an upper-extremity injury and did not return. Johnson said “we think he’ll be O.K.” Washington and Attaochu both did not participate in post-game interviews because they were receiving medical treatment. Johnson said that Washington “got dinged a little bit” and did not have a report on Attaochu.

8. Acting athletic director Paul Griffin accompanied the team. Griffin, who happens to be a Maryland grad, is now 1-0 as athletic director. … ESPN has until noon Sunday to determine the kickoff time for the Tech-North Carolina game Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

23 comments Add your comment

Tech Fan Since 1950

November 3rd, 2012
9:22 pm

We had a great time in DC this week seeing the sites of Washington. However, the best part was seeing the Jackets get the win on the road. Hats off to the Tech fans there. They were enthusiastic and loud. Maryland has a beautiful campus with nice facilities. The ACC has a group of fine universities with great venues. ACC and Tech fans should be very proud of the conference. I hope more Tech folks will attend more home games, but also go on the road to support the Jackets when they can.

...Take The Wheel

November 3rd, 2012
10:01 pm

Great job by a dynamic player! I always feel better when he is having a good game! Keep up the good works JA! Stayed fired up!! ACC Coastal looks very real!!!!

I love Jan Kemp

November 3rd, 2012
10:25 pm

Ken, great job as always. Does Tech REALLY have a shot at the Coastal? How does it have to play out?

If do right, no can defense

November 3rd, 2012
11:00 pm

Second that… how exactly would the scenario play out? i’m sure it would involve Duke beating Miami though.

Jacket Man

November 3rd, 2012
11:03 pm

Tech has to beat North Carolina and Duke and Miami has to lose or declare themselves ineligible, and VA Tech has to lose because they have the tie breaker (I think). ;-)

I love Jan Kemp

November 3rd, 2012
11:04 pm

Go LSYew! beat Bammy!

[...] Tech notes: Attaochu explodes in return homeAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Georgia Tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu called it emotional and exciting to play at Maryland, five minutes away from where he grew up. Emotion and excitement suit him well. Playing in front of family and friends, Attaochu … [...]

I love Jan Kemp

November 3rd, 2012
11:08 pm

Miami SHOULD declare themselves ineligible! CHEATERS! They shouldve gotten the death penalty!

I love Jan Kemp

November 3rd, 2012
11:36 pm

VaTech WILL lose another, they play FSU.

Stephen CC

November 3rd, 2012
11:37 pm

Congratulations, Jackets, on a good win. Let’s keep it going! GO JACKETS!!!

Houlihan McGee

November 4th, 2012
12:50 am

In the event of a three-way (or more) tie, I believe they look at head-to-head records of the teams in the tie first. After that, I believe it is the record in the division. I do not know if North Carolina would be used since they are ineligible; it makes sense both ways. Tech beating Duke would give them 4 losses, dropping out of the tie. With two more ACC wins, Tech would most likely be in a three-way tie with North Carolina and Miami (assuming Miami loses to either Uva or Duke, which is another major assumption). It is extremely unlikely we win any of the tie-breakers. I think the goal they are talking about is tying for the division crown, not necessarily being the division rep in the title game.

Stinger 1

November 4th, 2012
5:29 am

@12:50: I would say its very unlikely that Miami loses to UVA or Duke. Pencil Miami as Coastal Div. Champion.

UGA = Yawn

November 4th, 2012
8:13 am

Forget about the scenarios – - – please! We were beating Miami by a hundred points and lost. And, we were beating VT with less than a minute left and lost. We DO NOT deserve to go. Miami or VT should probably go.


November 4th, 2012
9:02 am

Boy, Tech sure does give a new meaning to the term special teams.

Jacket Fan

November 4th, 2012
9:26 am

Its “Jimy” Lincoln.

Road Scholar

November 4th, 2012
10:10 am

The kickers legs appear “dead”. They cannot get the kick-offs to the end-zone, let alone high enough to give the kickoff team more time to defend better. On the first extra point attempt, Scully did not follow through.


November 4th, 2012
10:28 am

More Days! He has done well everytime he’s given the oppurtunity. I don’t understand CPJ not using him more.

The Necromacer

November 4th, 2012
10:32 am

Tech has at least two kickers on scholarship and another one committed for next season. CPJ needs to pull a Nick Saban.

As a Tech fan for many years I will predict the UGA game. Tech scores a late TD to tie the score 27-27 but then misses the extra point attempt sending the game into OT. While in OT Washington throws an interception. UGA kicks a FG and wins.

Triple Floption Lives in ATL

November 4th, 2012
11:57 am

The Ga game will not be close……….

Biff Pocoroba

November 4th, 2012
1:27 pm

Scully needs to become a cheerleader with his girlfriend and not be on the field anymore. Just go for 2 or let someone else kick.
Shalala is going to declare Miami ineligible for a bowl or the ACC championship game to appease the NCAA investigators and hope they don’t come down too hard on them.

Ken Sugiura

November 4th, 2012
2:31 pm

I love jan kemp – it’s possible. the most likely scenario would require tech to run the table to finish at 5-3 (which would knock out duke in the process) and virginia tech and miami both finishing at 4-4 or worse. virginia tech is at 2-3 in the league and could easily take loss no. 4 against florida state thursday. miami has duke and virginia left and is 4-2. however, miami has not announced whether or not it will self-impose a bowl ban as an ncaa sanction. if they do, they’ll be ineligible to play for the coastal title, which would open a door for tech.

dry dirt road

November 4th, 2012
5:59 pm

Well Tech could and usually does beat Duke and NC, and of course they could beat Georgia by playing inspired enough. They have new unis that were supposed to inspire. The only snag was the MT game, and if Tech ended up at 5-3, that game might turn small bowls off. They might pick a small team to play instead of Tech since Tech lost to a small team, and actually was blown out by a small team, David and Goliath style. Tech beats Virginia and gets bowled over by an aggro MT team at BD.


November 5th, 2012
2:03 pm

Great game for Tech. They needed it. Next week is a bigger challenge. They need to play well against a UNC team that has the offense to win.