We’re live: Can Georgia Tech change the course of history?

1962_Georgia-Tech_vs_Alabama

In case you're wondering what the game program looked like in 1962.

Hello. Are you up for a little history lesson tonight?

Georgia Tech will battle more than just the No. 4 team in the nation when it meets Virginia Tech in a key ACC Coastal Division game. The Yellow Jackets will try to reverse a trend that began, well, during the Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Dodd administrations.

Tech last defeated a top 5 team at home in 1962. The Jackets were unranked when they stunned coach Bear Bryant and No. 1 Alabama, 7-6. Little did they know that would be Tech’s last home upset of one of the nation’s elite for a while. Ready? Tech has gone 0-17-1 at home against top 5 teams since. The most recent meeting was a 14-10 loss to Notre Dame in 2006 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.  (The lone tie, 3-3, in the 18-game streak came against Notre Dame in 1980.)

The flip side is Tech has beaten top 5 teams on the road more recently. The last coming only four seasons ago at No. 3 Miami, 14-10.

Here’s the list of Georgia Tech home games vs. No. 5 teams since 1962. Apologies for revisiting inglorious history. I’ll get to something more positive in a minute.

1962 Alabama (1)    W 7-6
1964 Alabama (2)    L 7-24
1971 Auburn(5)      L 14-31
1973 USC (1)        L 6-23
1974 Notre Dame (2) L 7-31
1976 Pittsburgh (3) L 14-42
1979 Alabama (2)    L 6-30
1980 Notre Dame (1) T 3-3
1981 Georgia (3)    L 7-44
1982 Alabama (4)    L 7-45
1983 N.Carolina (5) L 21-38
1983 Auburn (5)     L 13-31
1987 Auburn (5)     L 10-20
1996 Florida St.(3) L 3-49
1997 N.Carolina (5) L 13-16
2000 Florida St.(2) L 21-26
2003 Georgia (5)    L 17-24
2004 Miami (4)      L 3-27
2006 Notre Dame (2) L 10-14

OK. That’s enough about the past. Let’s talk about tonight. I believe Georgia Tech has a real shot at an upset. The biggest reason is quarterback Josh Nesbitt. As I mentioned in a column earlier in the week, Nesbitt has not only rushed for 290 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games, he has completed 22 of 33 passes for 486 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He gives a run-dominated offense a dangerous passing option. Barring turnovers, that means this game is competitive.

The other big factor, obviously, is Tech’s ravaged defense. But the Jackets largely have been shredded by stronger passing teams, like Miami and Florida State. While Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor is good, he has not proven to be nearly on the level of Miami’s Jacory Harris or Florida State’s Christian Ponder.

When I spoke with Jackets coach Paul Johnson earlier in the week about the defense, he touched on all the familiar themes: “We’re not paying fast. We’re making too many mistakes. Sometimes we’re just getting beat but more times than not we’re our own worst enemy. So we have to simplify things and make sure guys understand what we’re trying to do. Any time there’s doubt in a guy’s mind, it’s hard to play fast.”

Does Johnson believe Tech will have to rely on its offense to outscore opponents the rest of the season?

“I don’t think so,” he said. “We may have to win some games like that. But we may have to win some, 10-7. You just never know which one it’s going to be. We’ll get it fixed. If I saw something I didn’t think we could fix, I’d be more worried.”

So that’s it. I’ll be back in a bit to start the live blogging but feel free to weigh in with your pregame thoughts.

The question of the night: Can Tech change history.

A couple of photos to help you get your game face on . . .

tech 001

tech 004

737 comments Add your comment

Jeff Schultz

October 17th, 2009
4:37 pm

Speaking right now to Dan Radakovich. We’re reliving days at Long Beach State. He told me he’s the one who killed football (after I left, of course).

Bobby

October 17th, 2009
4:41 pm

First on the left wing blog!

Heath

October 17th, 2009
4:42 pm

I guess that makes you first Jeff…

KB81

October 17th, 2009
4:42 pm

Perspective. I want to win tonight. It’d be huge. A great game would be a plus if we lose. A bad loss would be sad. But when the night is done, I’ve got my teeth, I’m not laying asphalt Monday morning, and I don’t have to hunt for my food. It’s nice to watch a game and not have my personal worth determined by some kid who fumbles a pitch or can’t catch a ball. Perspective.

Tony

October 17th, 2009
4:49 pm

Interesting that texas barely beat okay without Bradford for 3+ quarters. Sure seems to me Texas is equal to Miami. Makes me think all the talk about the acc being down is a joke. We have 3 teams that imo are as good as anyone in the country.. Especially seeing fla struggle now.

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:15 pm

JS states the obvious about Rush Limbaugh and all the sudden this is a left wing blog? Let’s not pretend to know too much about a sportswriter’s political views.

THWVT

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:16 pm

Are you kidding? 3pt spread on this game. VT by 21 and the gnats go cry in their facebooks.

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:17 pm

So is the stadium going to be anywhere near capacity for this game?

calvin

October 17th, 2009
5:18 pm

I hope Jeff will tell us if the game is a sell-out tonight, after all.
I suspect it will be, but will Schultz admit it?

Then maybe he could lose that “worse than disappointed” feeling.

Wreckmaniac

October 17th, 2009
5:21 pm

I’ll pull out my two rules that seem to always apply in situations like this.
1. RealTech must score first
2. PhonyTech must be stopped on their first two possessions.

DoctorJ

October 17th, 2009
5:22 pm

Hey, Jeff Schultz, I think Tech has beaten a top 5 team at home since 1962! I attended the Thursday night game against Virginia, which was ranked #1 at the time, and which Tech beat with a last-second field goal. So it has been done at least slightly more recently.

snapshot

October 17th, 2009
5:23 pm

We are not picked to win, we are not supposed to win, and the only ones that think we can win are the Tech faithful. Any team can beat any other team on any given Saturday.
Go Yellow Jackets!!!!!!!and to Hell with Georgie.

superDawg

October 17th, 2009
5:26 pm

Enter your comments here

U-no

October 17th, 2009
5:26 pm

As far as average points scored for or against Tech is scoring an average of 32.2 points per game the opposition 26.5. So, for the year Tech is out-scoring the opposition by a touchdown each game they play. I know this means little or nothing in the long run, but I would bet that Tech wins tonight by a touchdown. It should be another high scoring affair not all that different from the FSU game.

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:27 pm

Urban Tech versus Rural Tech.

Bob

October 17th, 2009
5:27 pm

Don’t sugar coat this Jeff. Its called CHOKING. Georgia Tech always chokes when the lights are on. The lights are on tonight. Hokies roll.

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:27 pm

Oh, and Congrats UGA on your impressive victory over the Vanderbilt University fighting Commodores.

superDawg

October 17th, 2009
5:27 pm

I’m waiting.

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:27 pm

That’s right snappy. You’re picked to lose, but only by 3 pts. I hope you’re a top 10 team when Georgie gits a’holt of ya. We’ll be pulling for you for this reason, on this given Saturday.

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:28 pm

I would bet Tech wins by a touchdown also. Gee, this is easy.

U-no

October 17th, 2009
5:29 pm

The pups are feeling their oats tonight. That was a great win over a very tough opponent. Florida is next puppies!

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:29 pm

UGA’s blog was fired up with fans 30 mins before kick off. Where are the GT fans? Someone pull the fire alarm in the library.

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:30 pm

Thanks here we…. We will take whatever we can get.

Go Jackets.

superDawg

October 17th, 2009
5:30 pm

VT=Virginia Tech. GT=Goomer Tek.

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

October 17th, 2009
5:30 pm

Looking forward to a good game. Go Jackets!

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:31 pm

Only U-no and I know. Kick it Dave Mason….

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:32 pm

My head today says the final will be VT 31 GT 24

My heart says GT 38 VT 35

U-no

October 17th, 2009
5:32 pm

Take some asprin and go with your heart!

Asheville Dawg

October 17th, 2009
5:33 pm

Get real Jeff,Tech will lose tonight then beat UGA just to make us miserable for the holidays.

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:34 pm

good advice.

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:35 pm

Thinks with your head. Put a bill on VT then buy a round of drinks for your fellow gnats tonight.

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:35 pm

Tech will beat those pretenders from Virginia. Bank on it.

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:36 pm

that’s NATS reggie. gee, you can’t count OR spell.

Bob

October 17th, 2009
5:37 pm

Oh, and lol @ Jeff apogizing for saying something negative about the almighty Yellow Jackets. Good lord. You drag UGA through the mud on a near daily basis. No apologies needed however. UGA fans aren’t sensitive insecure crybabies like Tech fans.

U-no

October 17th, 2009
5:37 pm

The English language can be very tricky!

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:37 pm

VT aint no FSU son. Nesbitt gets hokied multiple times tonight.

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:37 pm

G-nats, like O-possum.

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:38 pm

I cried when Ol Yeller died.

Jackets keep rollin

October 17th, 2009
5:39 pm

GO TECH! send home the hokes!

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:40 pm

HWGA why don’t you go to the card catalog and find a book about flying insects. Hint in the Dipterid suborder Nematocera.

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:41 pm

i think the Good tech wins if it fumbles no more than once and Bay-Bay has at least 100 yds & 1 TD receiving… but really what do I know?

U-no

October 17th, 2009
5:42 pm

Reggie is our resident entomologist!

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:42 pm

Well you sure can’t spell.

Reuben Houston

October 17th, 2009
5:43 pm

Who needs some weed?

Here we go again

October 17th, 2009
5:44 pm

Reggie, why don’t YOU go read some sports message boards (far more reliable than card catalogs) and realize that UGA fans typically like to make fun of Tech fans by referring to them as NATS (the North Avenue Trade School). But thanks for the entomology lesson.

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:44 pm

U-no I am. Cuz is our resident idiot. Sorry you have to be something I guess.

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:45 pm

The Institute will be heard from tonight!

Cuz

October 17th, 2009
5:45 pm

My village misses me.

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:46 pm

booo hoo, boo hoo, I’m a gnat.

I’ll leave you cry babies alone…

Reggie Ball

October 17th, 2009
5:47 pm

I’ll end by saying you guys had better show up on field and not have any empty seats. This is a huge game and your chance to move up in the polls. Don’t blow it like we did against LSU.