Tech notes: Golden delivers again

Georgia Tech returner Jamal Golden came through with another big special-teams play, this one a 56-yard punt return at the start of the third quarter. Golden took the punt on one hop at the Tech 43 and burst through a seam and down the right sideline, getting stopped just shy of the goal line.

Quarterback Tevin Washington scored two plays later to give Tech a 14-7 lead over USC that held up the rest of the day.

“He under-kicked his coverage,” Golden said. “I was thinking, catch it on one hop and try to make it to the end zone.”

It was nearly his third return for a score this season. Golden broke Tech’s 14-year drought on kickoff returns by taking back two long runs for scores this season.

Golden also played more snaps on defense than usual. With safety Isaiah Johnson out for the game with a leg injury, Chris Milton started in his place, but Milton was forced out with an undisclosed injury. Golden, who typically plays cornerback, worked at safety.

“I was not going to be the guy to let my team down,” Golden said.

Just short: With six carries in the Sun Bowl, Tech A-back Orwin Smith would have become the school’s all-time leading in yards-per-carry average for all players with 200 carries. He got just four carries. He finishes with a 9.3 yards-per-carry average on 198 attempts.

“I feel like A.P.,” he said with a laugh, a reference to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who came up nine yards short of the NFL single-season rushing record Sunday.

Regardless, Smith played a crucial role in the game with his 17-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter that put Tech up 21-7. Smith left the game in the first half after dislocating his shoulder.

After missing the Georgia and ACC Championship game with an ankle injury, he wondered if his Tech career would end with his missing almost all of his last three games. However, team doctor John Xerogeanes worked his shoulder back into place and he played the second half.

“I just kind of prayed on it and just took the chance and went back out there,” he said.

Monkey off back: Coach Paul Johnson earned his first bowl win at Tech after losing his first four. He has received plenty of criticism from fans and media for Tech’s inability to win in the postseason, but he downplayed the personal significance of the win.

“I’m happy for these guys,” he said, referring to the players. “I don’t worry about that stuff. I think I’m happy for our players and the Georgia Tech fans and everybody involved.”

Remarkable run: Going back to the second half of the ACC championship game against Florida State, Tech allowed seven points in its final six quarters of the season. It’s no small achievement given that FSU is ranked No. 12 in the country in scoring offense and USC is No. 34.

Furthermore, Tech played Monday without Johnson, the team’s leading tackler, and also much of the game without outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, the team’s best pass rusher. He was forced from the game with an arm injury.

Not bad work for a defense that had given up 40 points in three consecutive games earlier in the season and six times in all. The longest play Tech allowed was a 25-yard run by Silas Redd.

“We didn’t cause them any issues, but at the end of the day, they didn’t miss any tackles,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “They tackled really well.”

Golden credited interim defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, who took over for Al Groh after the sixth game of the season.

“He’s the reason we played like we did in the second half of the Florida State game and the bowl game,” Golden said.

Etc.: Cornerback Rod Sweeting was named MVP. Center Jay Finch was named the lineman of the game. Golden was named special-teams player of the game. … Attendance for the game was 47,922. Capacity is 50,426. … Tech wore gold helmets, blue jerseys and white pants, the first time it wore that combination. … The officiating crew, which had to reverse itself early in the game with it incorrectly ruled a USC field goal as good, was supplied by the Big Ten.

33 comments Add your comment

old tech grad

December 31st, 2012
10:37 pm

First? Great Win.

If do right, no can defense

December 31st, 2012
10:41 pm

Well done jackets. It was clear from the body language and off-field behavior who really wanted the win.

Also, I have never seen as clueless a coach as Kiffen among all GT’s opponent coaches since CPJ arrived in ‘08. In his wraparound shades (what for? It was mostly cloudy.), big black parka, and laminated playsheet from which he was calling the same ineffective plays again and again, I don’t he cut a very credible figure as a coach to his 4 and 5 star talent. Wittek started the game ok, but horrible playcalling and the blustery conditions sapped his confidence and ability, and the second half he was simply going through the motions.

But credit goes to our defense, especially in the absence of top playmakers Attaochu and I. Johnson. Cross and Dieke tipped a lot of passes, Watts stepped up as the role of the primary attacking linebacker, Nealy got some crucial breaks, and Sweeting led the secondary. However, I think USC missed a trick by not going deep more (wasted two awesome receivers) and not calling the hurry-up, with which we’ve had problems all season. Though that’s hard to accomplish with an inexperienced QB.

Our offense was not spectacular; just good enough to win the game. I think the Vad-Tevin mentoring process throughout the season worked out really well in this game. Tevin was genuinely happy on the sidelines when Vad got things going in the first half. I think this rotation policy in the last 6-7 games will pay off handsomely in the spring.

Special teams were decent, but stupid penalties towards the end were disappointing. I can understand though that the players were very nervous going into the 4th quarter (they were in a similar position last year when they failed to hold off a late comeback charge by Utah). Also they were quite giddy/excited – we hadn’t won a bowl game in 8 years, after all.

Charles Kelly is a decent and hardworking coach: you could tell from the tears in his eyes at the end of the game how much this job means to him. I’m sure with solid recruiting he can turn out to be a great defensive coach.

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

December 31st, 2012
10:45 pm

Without the shoulder injury, it’s almost certain that Orwin would have gotten enough carries to earn his place in the ACC record book. Nevertheless, he’s had a great career and I wish him the greatest success in the future … wherever and whatever that future may hold. I appreciate the athletic and academic success of Orwin, Tevin, Izaan, and the rest of this year’s senior class. I hope our younger players will follow their example, practice hard, study hard, and give their best efforts both on the field and in the classroom.

Georgia Tech Old Timer

December 31st, 2012
11:16 pm

Great job – players and coaches! A much needed win for the program and something to build off next year! Thanks for the effort EVERYONE gave and for being focused on every play – offense, defense and special teams!

5150 UOAD

December 31st, 2012
11:53 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

I love the Jackets and glad they worked hard to win this game.

5150 UOAD

January 1st, 2013
12:02 am

Happy New Year everybody……even Haters


January 1st, 2013
12:05 am

Great game! These guys make us proud to be a Jacket.


January 1st, 2013
12:59 am

I loved this win even more with al lof the experts picking USC. Just shows that playing hard and smart will win over talent alone. With around 16 starters returning and a more favorable schedule, I think 2013 could be a very nice season.


January 1st, 2013
1:27 am

Any bowl win is great…this one is special as it breaks the bowl drought and it was against a big-name opponent in USC.

With Clemson beating LSU in the Chicken sandwich bowl, its turning into a decent year for the ACC.


January 1st, 2013
1:46 am

My hat is off to the coaching staff. Especially the defensive group. They took an absolute disaster and gave the guys the confidence to be better that they were. This team has gotten better each and every game the last half of the season. What a positive note to end on this year. This effort is what makes champions. I believe they will look back on this victory as a start of a new era for GT. One where they do what it takes to win and start believing in their ability. GREAT EFFORT.


January 1st, 2013
1:58 am

Proud of our Jackets!!! Our guys played hard and played to win. We obviously wanted to win more than they did and our team gave it their all. Thanks GT football team for a great game and well deserved win! Go Jackets!

West Coast Jacket

January 1st, 2013
3:17 am

Today is a celebration day. Congrats to all players and coaches, especially the defense and Coach Kelley. Tomorrow CPJ and the staff should relax and enjoy. Then hit the recruiting trail and bring in some defensive studs!


January 1st, 2013
4:34 am

A bowl win feels great. The young men got the monkey off their back!!


January 1st, 2013
4:36 am

Orwin may not have reached the record books, but he’ll be fondly remembered. From his first game to his last, he always played hard and performed well. As a GT fan, I’ll never forget him. The other seniors I am thinking of off the top of my head are Uzzi, Cross and Barnes. I think these are the 3 most likely to make it in the NFL from this year’s class. Best of luck to them. I do hope Orwin finds a spot somewhere as well. Can’t forget Tevin leaving. He wasn’t a physical warrior like Nesbitt, but he wasn’t as bad as some fans portrayed him to be. He had his flaws, but he had strengths as well. He won’t be remembered as fondly as other GT qbs who reached higher plateaus, but he played with dignity and he won’t be forgotten. Looking at other seniors, Chris Jackson is done, and while he never reached the lofty expectations based on his initial recruiting rankings, I applaud him for finishing the job at GT and never quitting. Sweeting is done too. He’ll be missed. I think he’s had his share of ups and downs, but he’s been a strong point in the defense throughout his career. The same can be said for McRae on the O-line. He’s never been considered in the same breath as Uzzi, but he’s played in just as many games, and has helped keep the line together throughout his tenure. Then there is Munroe, Morgan and Tanner. All have played and all have done what has been asked. And finally there is Paige who never saw significant time on O, but I do remember hearing his name on special teams.

Looking ahead, I see maybe 4 players who should even consider looking into entering the NFL early, but I think at least 3 of them are stretches at this point. So even assuming 4 of the current Jr’s are lost, that still leaves 19 SR’s next year. The recruiting class is small this year, but next year, with the potential for 23 SR’s or even just 19, means that the recruiting class will be larger. It looks like CPJ’s redshirting plan will be in full effect next year. This is yet another reason why I think college coaches at non-powerhouses(meaning the top 5-10 schools) need at least 6-7-8 years before they can be accurately judged(I’m very happy to have CPJ, but I was willing to give Chan another year, even though I didn’t have much faith in him). CPJ will have his deepest team next year of his tenure. The 2008 and 2009 teams had stars from the last two Gailey classes, but they weren’t as deep as next year’s team will be. The question for CPJ going forward will be whether he has stars on both sides of the ball going forward. I think there are already some stars on the team who should(or in some cases will) be returning next year. The issue for me is that CPJ finally has the depth he’s wanted starting next year(his 6th). In my opinion, this means that he should get something like 3 more years to see what he can do with depth, not only on the playing field, but also with the ability to recruit 25 players/yr. with the knowledge that the next season will also allow the recruiting of 25 players. Only now are we seeing his 2009/2010 classes mature(which were larger than 2011, 2012). But he’s finally been able to catch up to his redshirting plans and get the classes evened out in numbers starting next year. This is a different trcik from recruiting to GSU where they are able to get the high profile D-1AA recruits every year and reload without evening out the numbers and different from Navy where no players leave early. I’m looking at keeping CPJ into year 8 before I start to call for his head(unless something goes terribly wrong the next two years).


January 1st, 2013
7:43 am

Congrats to Uzzi, TW, Smith, Sweeting, Barnes and Cross for going out with a big win. They all made big plays at key moments in the game.

Kudos to the wind and the UCLA dude that crushed Barkley’s shoulder. We’ll take a bowl win any way we can get it at this point.

Holy cow what an incompetent offficiating crew. Maybe we shouldn’t join the B10 after all.

Golden is a playmaker, simple as that. Sure hope Milton is ready for spring ball.

Think we will get a rematch at home with the Hokies on Labor Day?

Tokyo jacket

January 1st, 2013
8:16 am

@BW, good points. I’m still boy sure Tech has the 3 or 4 stars needed for a 10-win season. Vad Lee is a star in the making. Bostic has shown a burst. On D, Attouchu is probably a star. Golden is very solid. Other than that I think we have a lot of solid role players. I’m not sure that’s enough. I don’t see any Anthony Allen, Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryus Thomas, Morgan Burnett, Michael Johnson, or Derrick Morgan type players on the roster. That’s my only knock against Charles Kelley. I’m not sure he can bring in the right talent for major success. In my perfect world Kelley stays on as assistant head coach and we hire Giff Smith as our DC and recruiting coordinator. Under Smith, we put a DL in the NFL every year and landed some major talent at the end of his tenure. He is VERY connected in georgia high schools.

This team played outstanding against USC. But they don’t have the talent to win a game where they come out flat, UF had a MTSU game against BGSU and South Carolina had one against Wofford. The difference is we lost because we didn’t have the talent to compensate for a lack of effort. The team showed yesterday they can be competitive with nfl laden teams when they’re dialed in.

How bout them BEES!

January 1st, 2013
8:17 am

YES !!! Great win.

The Good Word

January 1st, 2013
8:30 am

Ended the season on a high note… Finally! I can’t wait for September. Let’s fill BDS to cheer the Brave and Bold!


January 1st, 2013
8:36 am

Now its time to get some GOOD defensive line recruits, a good pass rush is all our team needs, we can eat up clock and yds and score with vad under center for the next 3 years. Fish-fry, gewt us some good down lineman and we are back in the top 25 easy….

happy new ear

January 1st, 2013
9:13 am

B backs had a great game…kept the chains moving. TW had a good game but I’m glad he is done.
Is PJ ever “happy” during a game?


January 1st, 2013
9:22 am

a comment from one usc trojan fan on espn blog:

What a joke, I’m a usc fan and I’m glad and happy georgia tech won. Usc had 0 fucccking business and interest being there. Good riddance to this year of shtholes! Fuccck tj mcdonald, huge bust in the draft if anyone takes him. Congrats to gtech and that player that cursed on live national tv! AWOOOOOOOOO!
3 fans like this.


January 1st, 2013
9:25 am


We do need some better recruiting, hope CPJ will make that happen in staff changes

Geez how could a ref call a FG on a kick that was wide to the left? Big 10 refs? It would have been better to pick then out of the School for the Blind conference and let the seeing eye dogs make the calls


January 1st, 2013
9:28 am

I’m glad for the tears in the coaches eyes after the game, I had tears as well but some of the coaching this season has been horrendous and losing to MTSU, BYU and overtime to MIami to name a few was too much…………………………………………….


January 1st, 2013
10:05 am

If USC did not act like they wanted to be there, the Big 10 refs looked as if they were lost in the first 5 minutes of the game. How do you need to go to the video to see that the USC attempt at a FG was wide left? All you do is look up at the ball and the goal post, I mean, even a UGA grad knows how to do this! Refs almost took over in 2nd half with all the Tech Penalties at the end. I mean some real touch fouls, the NCAA refs this bowl season have really been stinkers. Nice Tech Win, something to build on for 2013, but Vad Lee has to protect the football more, needs some maturing for sure!

Jacket Detective

January 1st, 2013
10:38 am

And I thought I was longwinded.
We have gone through too many coaches.
Bud Carson came within a play of beating Uga three in a row.
He went on to be the D coor of the 4 time champion Steelers.
We needed to spend extra money to get a top O coordinator.
But the fans angered by his first three years were determined to sack him.
I can’t see how we have hired anyone else better.
Ross u say.
Look at all 5 years of Ross without the excusemaking.
And then Ross had questionable ethics in getting Swilling to play another year to his disadvantage and split himself when the big money came his way.
But if he was so great, why didn’t Homer raise his pay enough to keep him?
We can’t afford to match a pro team?
Actually we can’t afford not to.
Think how much easier the recruiting would have been if we kept Ross.
I’m hoping the turnaround continues next year and if u do actually look at our history for once, u will see the turnaround for Ross started in 1989.
Though he still lost to Duke for the third straight time.


January 1st, 2013
10:41 am

Jacket Detective

January 1st, 2013
10:56 am

Al Groh managed to wreck two programs: Virginia’s and ours.
After all the millions he had made coaching football, he would not give his Alma Mater a break and insisted on every last dime on his contract.
Red flag, right there.
Going around the ACC hoping to be hired when someone’s D coordinator gets fired.
What a guy!
Red flag number 2.
Wonder if he shook Wommack hand when he visited our practices while hoping he was canned.
He should not have been allowed to do so.
With a better D coordinator, I wonder how different and likely better the last 3 years would have been.

Jacket Detective

January 1st, 2013
10:57 am

The last two games are a clue.

5150 UOAD

January 1st, 2013
10:59 am

January 1st, 2013
10:41 am

USC’s post game comments:

that was great! How many times did Kiffin say the Cold weather and Wind were factors in the US loss?

Road Scholar

January 1st, 2013
11:10 am

The whole defense and David Sims should have been the players of the game! That was the best Defensive back performance for the entire year! Of course Lane Kiffin and their qb had something to do with it.

It’s great to be a fuzzy bee! Oh He!! yes!

Keepin' It Real

January 1st, 2013
12:48 pm

After the loss to LSU in the Chick-fil-A bowl a couple of years ago, CPJ said: “it doesn’t matter what type of scheme you run when you are getting man-handled up front.” GT simple man-handled USC. GT put up just as many point and allowed as few just as Notre Dame did against USC earlier this year. What happened to all those first and second round draft picks USC supposedly have on defense? Sorry Coach Lame, both teams played in the same weather conditions. IJS

...Take The Wheel

January 1st, 2013
3:04 pm

I hope vad lives up to the hype next year (or Justin Thomas). There should really be no excuse not to. The defense has turned the corner. Special teams are doing much better. And the players come back with momentum. We will see cme September!!


January 3rd, 2013
3:34 pm

Orwin would have had the record if he didn’t get hurt.

Regardless, he will be remembered for all the great runs he made the past 4 years!