Tech notes: Defense revives in second half

1. Georgia Tech’s defensive performance looked a bit like its work last Saturday – much better after halftime.

Tech allowed Duke to score two touchdowns and a field goal on four first-half possessions, not including a one-play possession to end the half. After halftime, Tech allowed a touchdown drive on the Blue Devils’ first series of the third quarter, but their final three possessions ended with a punt, a failed fake punt and an interception.

Last week against North Carolina, Tech allowed 36 points and 382 yards in the first half and the first play of the second half. After that, the Jackets gave up 14 points (including a touchdown scored by the UNC defense) and 115 yards.

“We basically wanted to stay patient,” said outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, who had two sacks and five tackles. It was his second multi-sack game in the past three games. “Take everything series for series and drive for drive. When the time is right, when the moment is right, we closed out the game regardless of what happened in the first half.”

Tech finished with four sacks, tying the season high set against Maryland.

2. Perhaps the most memorable play of the game was authored by offensive tackle Ray Beno on the opening drive of the second half. On a 3rd-and-7 from the Tech 28-yard line, quarterback Tevin Washington fired a pass to the sideline to wide receiver Chris Jackson, who couldn’t come down with the ball. It ended up in the hands of Beno, who broke a tackle and charged nine yards for a first down. In typical offensive lineman modesty, Beno owned up to two things – first, he was in position to make the catch because he’d missed a block, and second, it was the first time he’d carried the ball in a game, ever.

“All I know is that the ball popped out of Chris Jackson’s hands and I said, ‘Hey, we need a big play right now,’” Beno said. “I just took it and ran with it. Luckily, we got the first down.”

3. Before the team had even left the locker room after the game, the subject of its next opponent had already been addressed. Tech plays Georgia in Sanford Stadium next Saturday, hoping to stop its run of 10 losses in the past 11 games between the two archrivals.

“This is like momentum, really, to keep the team’s spirits up because hate week is next week,” nose tackle T.J. Barnes said. “We’ll try to learn from this win and try to get this last Georgia victory for me and the seniors.

4. Tech won its ninth consecutive game over Duke. It was also the Jackets’ 17th win in the last 18 years. Duke has not won at Bobby Dodd Stadium since 1994, coach Bill Lewis’ final year and the last year before this season that the Blue Devils were bowl eligible.

5. Tech continued its run of proficient ball security, with no turnovers in 86 plays. Last week, Tech had one turnover against North Carolina. Duke had one turnover, an interception.

“Generally, when you play a team that runs this offense, they’re going to make a mistake,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “They’re going to fumble a snap, they’re going to fumble the exchange, they’re going to pitch one on the ground. They did not. I told Coach (Paul) Johnson after the game that they played exceptionally on offense taking care of the ball.”

6. A-back Orwin Smith left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. Johnson did not know after the game if he would be available for the Georgia game. … Scouts from the Chick-fil-A, Belk and Independence bowls attended the game. … Duke wide receiver Conner Vernon set two ACC records Saturday. First, he caught a pass in his 46th consecutive game. Second, he had 38 yards’ worth of catches, which made him the league’s all-time leader in career receiving yardage. He passed Florida State standout Peter Warrick, who finished with 3,517. … The team’s 12 seniors were honored before the game with their families. Also included in the ceremony was Julian Burnett, the former linebacker and team captain who suffered a career-ending neck injury in the Sun Bowl last year. … Defensive end Izaan Cross, a team captain, did not play because of a high fever. A flu bug had been going around the team this week. He was replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Adam Gotsis, who recorded his first career sack.

27 comments Add your comment

John T

November 18th, 2012
12:33 am

First? sorry felt like I had to say that. Great game all around. There definitely was a difference in the defense in the second half.


November 18th, 2012
12:34 am


November 18th, 2012
12:34 am

First! Go Jackets! THWG!

John T

November 18th, 2012
12:35 am

Oh, and to the guy behind me in section 203 who kept asking “What is Tevin doing in the game” over and over at the start of the second half. He was playing Quarterback. We are fortunate to have two guys who can get it done. Go Jackets, beat the Dawgs!!


November 18th, 2012
1:05 am

Go jackets and beat them dogs.

Jacket Time

November 18th, 2012
1:09 am

Yeah TW had a great game! Good to see him have an awesome final home game! A little bothered that Beno’s play did not make sports center top 10. It was much better than a few of those plays but we all know the truth.


November 18th, 2012
1:10 am

John T : same thing in 204U. Folks in front of me were complaing when TW started, then happy when VL came in. My admonition to let te coach make the decision after VL’s two series. Obviously VL was not as sharp as in last 2 games. Glad that TW stayed and more than glad when I could say “see,,I told you so”.


November 18th, 2012
1:12 am

Ken,, go to sleep , man you work too hard!

West Coast Jacket

November 18th, 2012
2:16 am

Good win, needed win and I am proud that team did not quit after the bad mid season losses. But don’t think that Duke is in UGA’s class. Tech will have to play the game of the last few years to have any chance against the Dawgs. But, here’s hoping!


November 18th, 2012
3:39 am

A great win for the team and very glad to see Tevin play so well in his last game at BDS. It’s nice to be playing good football and winning in November. Let’s see what happens next week in COFH.

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

November 18th, 2012
6:27 am

There have been a few games this season (against UVA, Presbyterian, UNC, and DU) when the offense has played a full four quarters. I’m not sure the same can be said of the defense. We’ve had spurts (the middle of the Miami game, and the second halves of the UNC and DU games) where we’ve played well WITHIN the game … but I can’t recall a 4-quarter effort in any game this year. I’m hoping they are saving just such an effort for the game next week. If we could couple the offensive production of the last two weeks with a full four quarters of defense, then we could put an end to the Dogs’ hopes of a national championship.

After the BYU loss, I would never have thought that this Jacket team could finish the season at 9-5. While it’s still not probable, it is at least POSSIBLE. Let’s hope they can pull it off!

Offense Put Pressure on Duke Offense

November 18th, 2012
6:38 am

The ability of an offense to hog the ball and score almost every single possession puts tremendous pressure on an opposing offense, particularly if they fall behind by more than 1 score.

This phenomenon has helped our defense out tremendously in the second halves of the UNC and Duke games. Still one also has to give the defense credit. Also liked the stop on Duke’s first drive which allowed us to get a lead.

Island Jacket

November 18th, 2012
6:57 am

Great Game… Glad the Defense picked it up in the second half. Lets move of with a better performance next week.



November 18th, 2012
8:10 am

We really need to have Orwin back on the field next week.

Glad you brought us up to date on Cross Ken. I was worried he may not be available for the mutts. Sounds like he should be back.

Also Ken, by bringing up the (86) plays without a turnover, that was the “kiss of death” for our game in the cesspool. Is there any way you could update the article and leave that part out? TIC

Didn’t see enough from the defense yesterday for me to think we have a shot on the 24th, maybe they will step up and prove me wrong. THWG


November 18th, 2012
9:15 am

Guys made some plays in the 2nd half. Didn’t like seeing Renfree scramble up the mddle for 1st downs. Can’t forget to defense the QB.

GT Joe

November 18th, 2012
9:28 am

Nice game for Tevin versus an inferior opponent (as usual). Big boys next week though….does anyone think Tevin can beat uga?

vads lack of playing time hurts his preparation for uga, I guess CPJ is more concerned about loyalty to a senior qb than winning.

Tampa Wreck

November 18th, 2012
10:08 am

Joe.. Gotta give it a rest. I like Vad, and have been at front of the line wanting him to play more. That said, Teven played well yesterday and got the job done. Who’s to say whether Vad would have done better. He definitely didn’t look that great in the short series at the end of the first half, although I attributed much of that to the fact we abandoned our base offense, and tried to throw every down.

Let’s give CPJ the benefit of the doubt. I expect if Tevin comes in and goes three and out the first series next week, we will see Vad pretty fast, particularly if the dawgs score early, which we all know they likely will.

dry dirt road

November 18th, 2012
10:14 am

got my flu shot in October, didn’t even feel it, why wasn’t team forced to line up at infirmary where Chick Granning was laid up with broken jaw and get flu shots? why does team additionally avoid BD years yj in favor of small-winged Buzz? Chick had T-Club BD years yj on his T-Club jacket when giving Annette Funicello his autograph, as recently seen in Tech Topics alum mag; does Tech football have fear of shots and of BD years yj stinger and/or wings?; like I say, the flu shot for me didn’t sting at all

Tech First

November 18th, 2012
10:19 am

Back on tha map Shout out to Coach Kelly and tha D under 25pts now lets beat tha lady dawgs and we got a new d coor. back in tha top 25 Hey man who would of thought and tha ajc print tha lady dawgs have a chance to do what LETS GO KISS THEM IN THA MOUTH(Les Miles) THWG !!!

Sunbury Dawg

November 18th, 2012
10:33 am

Nov 24 2012………..The State championship game


November 18th, 2012
10:41 am

Getting back in the top 25 will take beating UGA, winning the ACCCG, and maybe winning a bowl.


November 18th, 2012
10:52 am

Great game…we can do it Sat. in Athens..Go Jackets!

yeller bug

November 18th, 2012
1:11 pm

We’ve lost a few this year that we were supposed to win—it’d be nice to win one where we’re supposed to lose—the next game being the optimal candidate!

Need a dwag-slobbering sloppy game from UGA and a near flawless game from us to win, but that’s well within the realm of possibility. Go JACKETS–BUZZ THEIR AZZ!

Great job this year Ken! Thanks for all your quality and quantity journalistic insights and efforts!

Houlihan McGee

November 18th, 2012
1:24 pm

GT Joe, perhaps Coach Johnson wanted to let Vad get some rest so he would be fresh for Uga. If you listened to the pregame show, you would have heard that Vad played more last week than he has in years. During his senior season in hs, he was rarely needed in the fourth quarter. Playing 3 1/2 quarters nearly wore him out, which could have made him less effective this week. Now, that will not be a problem for next week.

Ga Tech Old Timer

November 18th, 2012
1:50 pm

Why are there questions about Tevin playing the second half? If folks will go back to what CPJ has said all year about TW being the better QB when running the TO – and then think about the fact that the game was close most all the way through the fourth quater until the end – he was playing TW to RUN THE CLOCK and not allow Duke to have an opportunity to come back with their passing attack – which is really all they had and what we had trouble with for most all the game. I don’t have any doubt that VL could have played well in the second half – but TW played because he had a good first half and the better QB to close out the game.

It’s time to let CPJ be the coach and stop second guessing him on every play or every player.

1 4 GT

November 18th, 2012
10:06 pm

Well said GTOT!! In Vad’s interview with Wes, he said he rarely played more than 2 quarters in his senior year of highschool. And that he was exhausted at the end of the UNC game, though I couldn’t tell from my TV.

...Take The Wheel

November 18th, 2012
10:16 pm

I agree Old Tmer. CPJ is more capable of deciding who should play and when than most of these hindsight coaches posting comments here. I hope he continues to use them both effectively and to our advantage. They will need every weapon firing on all cylinders this week. But I do believe they can do it!!

Hopefully our guys are studying film on the South Carolina loss. Clearly they had UGAs number!