For Jackets, Sun Bowl win means plenty





EL PASO, Texas – It was a non-New Year’s Day bowl game between teams with disappointing seasons. But for Georgia Tech, it ended up being so much more than that.

Most significantly, the Yellow Jackets’ 21-7 win over USC on Monday brought an end to their seven-game bowl losing streak, the nation’s second-longest active streak. It gave coach Paul Johnson his first bowl win at Tech. It probably ranks as Tech’s second biggest non-conference win in Johnson’s tenure, following the 2008 victory over Georgia.

Given the weight lifted from Tech’s shoulders, said offensive tackle Will Jackson, “It feels like we just won the national championship.”

The highlights were many. Quarterback Tevin Washington, maligned as unable to deliver in the clutch, came through with a touchdown drive that raised Tech’s advantage to two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter and then led two more that produced no points but swallowed up eight minutes of the fourth quarter.

Said Washington, “It feels real good, because we’ve been preaching all bowl practice, just finish.”

Washington also entered the Tech record books with a third-quarter touchdown that made him the single-season leader for touchdowns (20), rushing touchdowns (20) and points scored (120), breaking Robert Lavette’s records in each category with 19, 19 and 114, respectively.

The team, which had given up fourth-quarter leads to lose to Virginia Tech and Miami in overtime, not to mention last year against Utah here, held firm.

Said defensive end Izaan Cross, “At halftime, we had a little talk. Can’t let up. We’ve been in this situation numerous times where it’s been one or two plays that’s messed up the game for us when we played so well but we didn’t come out with the victory.”

For cornerback Louis Young, who missed the Sun Bowl last year with an NCAA suspension and struggled through an injury-filled season, the game was rife with personal meaning.

“To come out here and get this win, words can’t explain it really,” he said.

The senior class, like Johnson, won its first bowl game after a run in which it won an ACC title and played for another, but hadn’t won in a bowl. After three bowl losses, Cross, a team captain, stood on an on-field stage to receive the Sun Bowl trophy.

Said Cross, “For me to experience that at the Sun Bowl, that was awesome.”

A season that has had plenty of bumps — a fired defensive coordinator, a fourth consecutive loss to Georgia, an embarrassing 21-point home loss to Middle Tennessee State, derision from fans and media for going to a bowl game with a losing record — ended with a trophy and a win over one of the biggest names in college football.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

140 comments Add your comment

gt40pinhd

December 31st, 2012
10:28 pm

it was a great defensive effort.
la papers talked about barkley not playing, about usc having bad luck this year, not really anything about the sun bowl and tech..
the loss couldn’t be better for the university of spoiled children!

GT-UT

December 31st, 2012
10:33 pm

old tech grad

December 31st, 2012
10:34 pm

great win. Out here from Ohio for the Rose Parade and herd some people in the resturant bad mouthing Tech. It sure is great they won.

GT-UT

December 31st, 2012
10:36 pm

Oh, just for the record…I AM PROUD OF THE DEFENSE!! Great effort! Best game all year for you all. Can’t tell you how many folks at work were pulling for you! They hate USC. And they ate not even Tech fans. Kelly for D Cord anyone?

Jamaaliver

December 31st, 2012
10:36 pm

Great win, guys. Way to finish the season strong. So happy for the seniors.

Can’t wait till next year, the offense is gonna be something special with Vad Lee as the starting QB.

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

December 31st, 2012
10:38 pm

I’m excited about the possibilities for next season. The Jackets’ biggest problem over the last few years (in my opinion) has been the inability of our defense to put forth a good effort for four consecutive quarters. Over the last two games, they’ve actually played well for SIX consecutive quarters. We’ve got very few graduating seniors on this year’s team, and there is a lot of talent returning on both sides of the ball. I fully expect us to play in next year’s ACCCG, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Jackets in the Orange Bowl in 2014.

DAMN GOOD JACKETS

December 31st, 2012
10:38 pm

anytime you beat USC Trojans, you’ve done something…from the espn blogs, there were alot of football fans across the nation congratulating GT as well,,…

Jamal, you’re the Golden one

gt40pinhd

December 31st, 2012
10:39 pm

i have several christmas cards with handwritten notes: “sc will crush tech”.
i will quietly remind my friends: SCOREBOARD!
even cbs had specials on usc but nothing on tech.
i know many sc alums who want kiffin gone!!!!!!

DAMN GOOD JACKETS

December 31st, 2012
10:41 pm

if anyone recorded the game, please download it and post it on youtube, thank you thank you

tottenhamspur

December 31st, 2012
10:41 pm

agreat win for Tech. Coach Johnson really needs a good 2013 season. Maybe i can still believe that we areon the correct coarse as a school and footballprogram

DAMN GOOD JACKETS

December 31st, 2012
10:44 pm

just when you think you have seen it all, I still cannot believe GT had to call for a review on that USC FG kick that went to the left. Why don’t they just hire refs from the School of the Blind and let the seeing eye dogs make the call…GEEZ

Ekim56

December 31st, 2012
10:45 pm

Great turnaround for a season that at 2-4 looked to be a complete bust. I’m proud for the guys.

East Atlanta Ron

December 31st, 2012
10:47 pm

Let’s not be delusional… USC cared nothing about this game and the team Tech defeated was nowhere near a powerhouse. It’s a nice win not a great win. Next year, Tech will still lose 5 to 6 games and Paul Johnson will be one year closer to being dismissed.

gt40pinhd

December 31st, 2012
10:53 pm

east atl: not very positive here.
even cpj said he will pass more next year with vad lee as qb. more passes will open up the run even more! come on, think positive.

Pope UGA XXIII

December 31st, 2012
10:55 pm

My name pretty much says it all, but congrats to Tech on beating USC.
Other than Spurrier, there aren’t many bigger jerks than Lane Kiffin, so
on the occasional game when I pull for Tech, this one was most enjoyable.

Ekim56

December 31st, 2012
10:55 pm

Nobody’s being delusional. The season ended up much better than anyone had a right to expect as of October 15.

I disagree that USC didn’t care about the game. They didn’t think they needed to show up against Tech. Tech proved them wrong. That is a credit to the players and coaching staff.

And indeed, Ron, next year at this time we will all be one year closer to being dead. Or dismissed. Whatever.

Captainlecture

December 31st, 2012
10:56 pm

Yo! E(ast) A(tlanta) R(on), be an ear not an a–.

Georgia Tech Old Timer

December 31st, 2012
10:56 pm

AWESOME WIN!!! Let’s see if you guys can keep the same focus and drive that won the game today – going forward into next year and start re-building this program to the level it once used to be in the 1950’s – 60’s. I keep saying that a great part of this game is mental and you guys finally bought in to the concept today.

gt40pinhd

December 31st, 2012
11:14 pm

pope uga: i expect you guys to crush neb.
you were one play (mistake) from playing nd for the championship!

GT-UT

December 31st, 2012
11:16 pm

How about that pistol formation and the spread look?? I really don’t think that CPJ is as much TO as some might think. We might be surprised next year!!

gt40pinhd

December 31st, 2012
11:23 pm

i don’t like the po. takes away the fullback dive. that quick hitting dive makes the dl think really quickly. (is that bad grammar, yep, engineer).
i thought cpj called an excellent game today. lots of traps, dives, counters, and quick counters. misdirection was important today. usc has a LOT of speed.

Techster

December 31st, 2012
11:26 pm

ACC takes down a Pac 10 team (GT over USC) and a SEC team (Clemson over LSU).

jacket backer

December 31st, 2012
11:29 pm

Nice day for the ACC with wins over USC and LSU……Congrats Clemson….

Go Jackets!

5150 UOAD

December 31st, 2012
11:36 pm

The world is right Tech, Clemson & VPI all win for the ACC.

gt97inTX

December 31st, 2012
11:43 pm

i wished that i would had remembered the game was on. Oh well!

5150 UOAD

December 31st, 2012
11:43 pm

P.O.A.Hater…………All the haters can go cheer for a SEC team of your choosing. Players Graduating & making the Dean’s List and we still made the ACC CG(even with other teams issues) and we WON our Bowl game……….P.O.A. Hater

wow...

December 31st, 2012
11:44 pm

Johnson told reporters coming out at the half that Lee would start the second and go from there. What actually happened? He lied, and instead put in Washington to get his token 1 yard TD run so that he could break a record that he doesn’t deserve. Of his 20 TDs this year an outstanding 11 game from 1 yard out and 15 were of 4 yards or less. The happiest part about the USC game is that it’s the last time anyone has to watch that selfish player play football ever again.

Dawgs

December 31st, 2012
11:46 pm

And How does Clempson ACC team Beat a beloved SEC team like LSU….Bowl season is looking pretty downdown

LeftCoastCS

December 31st, 2012
11:48 pm

I am a Tech grad and lifelong fan. I was at the coliseum in 1969 and saw Tech lose. Since then I married a USC lady and have been a USC ticket holder for many years. USC is a fine school with great traditions. It is a great academic institution and has a beautiful campus. I hated that my two teams played each other but found I had to root for Tech. I was proud of the team. I wish them luck for next year and if they make the Orange Bowl I’ll be there as I was at the ice bowl. Come next September I will be rooting for the Trojans and hope they don’t play Tech again.

Big B

December 31st, 2012
11:53 pm

5150 UOAD

January 1st, 2013
12:01 am

Happy New Year everybody.

pine

January 1st, 2013
12:59 am

Not sure who you are talking about “wow…” TW is the most unselfish player on offense. In fact thank God we had him today to bail out Vad Lee after an interception and a lost fumbe.Perhaps your misguided furor all year is misdirected and should be placed on poor defensive play all year except for the second half of FSU and all day today.TW’s stats don’t lie and his rank for many categories for a GT QB and an ACC qb are in the top ten career wise in most categories. Thanks for your sacrifice Tevin Washington. We appreciate your hard work over the years, your class and dignity as well in playing thru many games when the defense and special teams often failed the offense.

GTFan

January 1st, 2013
12:59 am

Hey wow guy, he put in Washington on that 1 yard play, and al those others, precisely because of his success doing so. Washington makes good reads, he’s just not the super athlete. I by no means was impress by the game. Players quit before the whistle. Shows that CPJ has no control over players and cant motivate them to give their best. Defense played well, but no QB pressure. Lots of bad pases and dropped balls contributed as much as the tips and INTs. I would love to see CPJ as out OC and a HC that can inspire players, make good hires (DC, special teams) and recruit A KICKER!
Coach Kelly needs to stay. Not sure if as DC, but he needs to stay. Anyone that dreses their daughter as a Yellow Jacket needs to remain part of the Tech family. He has good contributions to the program and we need to find a place for him. Happy New Year to everyone!

GTFan

January 1st, 2013
1:02 am

Totally agree with Pine. His unselfishness to continue being a leader and giving his best, regardless of fans asking for him to get benched, and actually getting benched, to come out as if nothing happened shows amazing character and UNSELFISHNESS

Diablo69

January 1st, 2013
1:14 am

At the beginning of the season If someone had offered up that Tech would lose by 6 to FSU in the ACC championship game and beat Southern Cal by 2 touchdowns in a bowl game I’m guessing most people would have taken that no questions asked. What a long strange trip it’s been this year.

GTGirl

January 1st, 2013
1:50 am

Congratulations to CPJ and our GT football team! What a great win for our guys.
Hope Coach Kelly gets to remain as DC.; Proud of Clemson beating LSU too. Go ACC!
Tech roundball starts back up on Wed. Go Jackets!! Happy New Year!

wow...

January 1st, 2013
2:09 am

you mean Tevin has great success getting one yard on 3 tries? You don’t say. How will we ever replace that kind of ability. 11. I repeat 11 one yard TD runs. You know how many our bbacks got? none. not a single one. The last two weeks have been the most blatant display of favoritism and outright lying I’ve ever seen by a coach. Against FSU we would definitely see both QBs. Only saw one. Against USC Lee was going to start and go from there. Nope. Another lie. All to get Tevin his precious one yard TD that he is so good at getting.

But thank god that scrub is gone. The team will be better the instant he is gone.

5150 UOAD

January 1st, 2013
2:15 am

wow…..did you see Duke fumble away the Bowl Game against Cincy? 2 times a Duke RB fumbled the ball on the 3 yardline or closer. Tevin keeping those balls and getting the TD is what matters. Have you seen the Falcons not be able to get that yard or 2 for a TD or 1stdown? Tevin and CPJ were making a smart choice with the QB sneak.

JTH

January 1st, 2013
2:48 am

Way to win a game you had to beg to be in and didn’t earn to be in the first place. Who knew all it took to motivate Tech was to be late for dinner?

West Coast Jacket

January 1st, 2013
3:09 am

wow, hope you are feeling better after venting your speen. Tevin Washington is a good QB because he successfully executes CPJ’s play calls. Near the goal the fewer handoffs the better. Now, just have a glass of warm milk and get a nice long night’s sleep.

VancouversTechster

January 1st, 2013
4:09 am

After coming to Atlanta for the VaTech and UGa losses in ‘11 (should’ve come in for Clemson instead), it was refreshing to attend the Duke game this year, and a meaningful win, and catch the well-deserved win over USC (thank you Seattle tv). The main thing is that this is a team on the ascent, and we should all look forward to a good recruiting year and minimum 8-win season in ‘13. Hope the Jackets will come out and play the Huskies some day. In the meantime, PLEASE beat those damn Hokies, eh!

Tokyo jacket

January 1st, 2013
7:21 am

@jth, doesn’t CPJ look like someone who gets motivated by dinner? :-)

Tokyo jacket

January 1st, 2013
7:30 am

@ Ken, if you ever get the chance, please pass on some thanks to Tevin Washington. The young man has worked extremely hard during his career at Tech. He has represented the program with class and dignity both on and off the field. Tevin has maintained the integrity of what it means to be a Tech graduate and I am happy for that. Best wishes to Mr. Washington in his next set of endeavors.

Congrats to all the seniors for starting a new bowl streak and ALL graduating. For the first time since Bush’s first term, Tech goes into the sunset with a win. I’m a happy camper.

Ken Sugiura

January 1st, 2013
8:09 am

Tokyo Jacket – I’ll try to make it happen.

Lee

January 1st, 2013
8:13 am

I agree with Tokyo jacket completely. Thank you Tevin.

ToeMeetsLeather

January 1st, 2013
8:22 am

Nice win to help build some momentum for spring ball and the 2013 season. With Thomas or Lee, CPJ will have a more explosive offense and hopefully sixteen starters back next year. We’ll need a couple of receivers to step up and production from a couple of the DLine RSFR to get back to Charlotte, but I think that is exactly what will happen.

Great job covering the Jackets this year Ken, already looking forward to your spring reports on the QB battle.

THWGT

January 1st, 2013
8:23 am

Congrats on the win. Try as I might I just couldn’t bring myself to pull for USC and Little Lane Kiffin – glad you guys spanked them!

Buzz-Off

January 1st, 2013
8:34 am

I hate the Jackets, but good job yesterday and they did exactly what I predicted 2 weeks ago. Check the files and you will see I said GT would win by 14 or more. There has never been a more unmotivated team playing in a bowl game than the Trojans. In addition, their offense is mediocre at best without Barkley. And the main reason I predicted GT to win big was because USC has one of the worse defenses against the run in the Country. My only mistake was I thought GT would score about 35-45 points and USC would get a few more.

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:37 am

Lucky their #1 Qb didn’t play. USC was toothless. Tech did play inspired, I’ll give them that, but that USC team quit weeks ago losing 4 of 5.

JB

January 1st, 2013
8:39 am

Johnson may get Kiffen fired. Losing to Tech after that collapse at year end may be the last straw.