ATHENS – It likely wouldn’t have made a difference, but Georgia Tech played Saturday without its top offensive player. A-back Orwin Smith watched the game from the sideline after suffering an ankle injury in the Yellow Jackets’ win over Duke last Saturday.
Smith had been considered a game-time decision.
“I guess with the trainers, they decided he couldn’t go,” coach Paul Johnson said.
Entering the game, Smith was Tech’s leading rusher at 673 yards and had a 9.0 yards-per-carry average. A-backs B.J. Bostic, Synjyn Days and Deon Hill played in his place. A-back Robert Godhigh had six carries for 44 yards and five receptions for 66 yards. The five catches were the most by a Tech player this season.
“His contribution would have been positive, but I don’t think it would have boiled down to just one person on the field making plays,” quarterback Tevin Washington said. “It’s got to be a whole collective offense.”
Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu also was hampered, dealing with the flu bug that has gone around the team the past two weeks. Attaochu played and did not seem to suffer ill effects. He had six tackles, including Tech’s only sack.
2. The Tech offense had two gadget plays it tried to spring upon Georgia, but both were foiled. Just before a third-and-10 play from the Georgia 26-yard line on the Jackets’ second drive, Georgia called timeout, but not before Tech had snapped the ball and quarterback Tevin Washington tossed the ball to Days. It appeared that Days, a converted quarterback, was preparing to throw the ball on a possible option pass.
Asked if that was the case, Johnson replied, “Possibly.”
After the timeout, Tech then used offensive tackle Ray Beno on a tackle-eligible play. Washington lofted a pass to Beno, who last week caught a tipped pass and turned it into a crucial first down. However, Beno was stopped short of the first down.
“It’s something that we work on probably once or twice every week,” B-back David Sims said. “It’s been in the system for as long as I’ve been here. It probably would have worked a little better, (but) the timing was just a little too fast.”
3. Tech’s bowl options appear that they’ve been reduced to two. Either Tech wins the ACC Championship and goes to the Orange Bowl, or it loses and heads to the Sun Bowl for the second consecutive year. After the BCS bowls, the ACC bowl selection order is the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl (formerly the Champs Sports Bowl) and the Sun Bowl.
The ACC runner-up can do no worse than the Sun Bowl, and it appears the Chick-fil-A and Russell Athletic would target N.C. State (7-5) and Virginia Tech (6-6) ahead of the Jackets. Last week, in discussing Tech, Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan noted the importance of securing a team with a winning record for its game. If Tech loses to Florida State, it will be 6-7.
To protect against the possibility of the Jackets losing to Florida State in the ACC Championship and dropping to 6-7, Tech could file a bowl-eligibility waiver with the NCAA as early as Monday. UCLA sought and received a waiver last year, when it went into the Pac-12 Championship game at 6-6, then lost to Oregon to fall to 6-7. Tech, ACC and bowl officials were confident that a Tech petition would be granted, given the precedent.
“We’ve still got a lot to play for,” Washington said.
4. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray’s 82.4 completion percentage was the highest for a quarterback against Tech (minimum 10 attempts) since at least 1971. … Tech had two turnovers in a half for the first time since the Middle Tennessee State game. … Tech was held without a touchdown in a half for the second time this season (the first time was against BYU). … Tech failed to force a turnover for the first time since the season opener against Virginia Tech. … Georgia’s 7.7 yards-per-play average was the highest by an opponent this season.
Etc.: Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi did not finish the game. Johnson said he was not aware of an injury. Washington injured his right wrist and was X-rayed after the game. Washington said he was fine. … Inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy wore No. 40 in honor of former linebacker and team captain Julian Burnett.