On the same rectangular patch of Bermuda grass where shock, embarrassment and disappointment visited in earlier weeks, Georgia Tech celebrated.
On a brisk late-autumn afternoon, the Yellow Jackets’ reclamation of the 2012 season continued in the form of a 42-24 victory against Duke on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. In the final home game of the season, Tech continued its improvement in the second half of the season with a victory that may even secure itself a spot in the ACC Championship game, a destination all but unimaginable just a few weeks ago.
“After the way the season started and everybody kind of wrote it off, I’m proud of these guys for hanging in there and fighting and getting it done,” coach Paul Johnson said.
With high-level execution of the spread-option offense (13 of 20 on third downs) and a strong second half of defense (seven points on four Duke possessions after halftime), the Jackets claimed their fourth win in the past five games. Their performance Saturday demonstrated Tech to be a different outfit than the one that gave away an overtime loss to Miami, sleepwalked through a 21-point loss to Middle Tennessee State and was trounced by BYU, all at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“Coming back to this predicament we were in, we wanted to finish off the season on a good note,” safety Isaiah Johnson said. “That really drives us.”
With the win, the Jackets claim at least a share of the ACC Coastal Division title. They could receive even better news as early as Sunday. Miami, having earned bowl eligibility Saturday with a 40-9 win over South Florida, has said it will announce its plans on a possible postseason ban in anticipation of NCAA sanctions after it becomes eligible.
- Ken Sugiura of the AJC staff