There’s no stopping Georgia Tech this time around

Jonathan Dwyer ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns -- and his team is on a run of eight straight wins.

Jonathan Dwyer ran for two touchdowns, and Georgia Tech is on run of eight straight wins.

DURHAM, N.C. — Don’t misunderstand. It’s not like Georgia Tech reached some new plateau Saturday. This isn’t the first time the Jackets have won 10 games in a season, nor the first time they’ve clinched a berth in the ACC title game, nor certainly the first time they’ve beaten Duke.

But there is a difference in 2009. A different feel about what’s going on. A different expectation for what comes next. A 10-1 record, a trip to Tampa, a 49-10 win over Duke — this is not as good as it’s going to get for Tech. There is no ceiling. Only three more potential wins.

“We’re not satisfied,” running back Jonathan Dwyer said. “We won the ACC Coastal Division today, and, don’t get me wrong, that’s good and we’re going to celebrate. But we haven’t finished what our main goals were, which is to win the ACC and be in a BCS bowl game, and then win the BCS bowl game. And right now our minds are on Georgia.”

Even Paul Johnson found it difficult to be upset about too much Saturday.

Even Paul Johnson found it difficult to be upset about too much Saturday.

Their minds were on Georgia three years ago. Just not like now. In 2006, the Jackets thumped Duke, 49-21. But even at 9-2, Chan Gailey didn’t have universal support. Even at 9-2, there was an uncertainty about the team, and the head coach, among the fan base.

In the next three games, it was reaffirmed why. The Jackets lost to Georgia (again). Then they lost to loss to Wake Forest in a dreary ACC championship game (9-6). Then they lost to West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. A 9-2 record with a No. 16 ranking turned into 9-5 and a mile from the top 25.

Gailey was given one more season by the new athletics director, Dan Radakovich. Then he was gone. Radakovich wanted a coach who would elevate the Jackets to higher ground and excite the fan base. When he hired Navy’s Paul Johnson, it was like plugging the program into a wall socket. Johnson has coached 24 games. He is 19-5. Cue the trumpets.

“Sure,” Johnson said when asked if he thought this was possible so soon. “We just missed it last year. … The thing these guys have done is they’ve bought in and worked hard. Sometimes I get after them. I got in the face of a couple of them today, even when the score got to be [one-sided]. They’ve learned to accept that and go on. Other kids might not. So my hats off to them. They’ve earned it.”

The Jackets stumbled out of the gate, falling behind 10-0. “We didn’t adjust,” Johnson said later, “we just started playing better.”

Duke punted on its next four possessions. Tech scored touchdowns on four of its next five. Game over.

Backups took over in the third quarter when the score grew to 42-10. It was welcome time off for the starters, who’ve labored for 16 straight weeks of practices and 11 straight games without a bye. Now, they can embrace the bye week before the Georgia game. The season could not have unfolded any better since that loss at Miami in Week 3. Tech has strung together eight straight wins and climbed to seventh in the rankings.

“We were devastated after losing that game,” said Dwyer, who in the past four games has rushed for 610 yards and six touchdowns. “Coach told us at that time that the good teams don’t lose two games in a row, and we’ve used that as momentum ever since.”

Long after the game, you could still hear Tech players shouting from outside the locker room.

“We’re excited,” Johnson said. “A lot of people have doubted them along the way, especially early. And they’ve just been  resilient. Sometimes it’s not pretty, and they do some dumb things. But the bottom line is they found a way to win.”

Three years ago, we stopped counting wins after the Duke game. Nothing suggests that’s going to happen this time.

355 comments Add your comment

gt_rulez

November 14th, 2009
5:09 pm

GT92

November 14th, 2009
5:13 pm

Way to go Jackets!

gotech610

November 14th, 2009
5:15 pm

gt76

November 14th, 2009
5:15 pm

all the way to Miami this year….MNC next year

David

November 14th, 2009
5:16 pm

I’m third! Crush em Jackets!

David

November 14th, 2009
5:17 pm

5th works. I’m still nervous about Georgia.

Bozydeco

November 14th, 2009
5:18 pm

Not bad for a “high school offense”… lol. Way to go Tech from an Auburn fan. You earned your success.

GT_Alum 07

November 14th, 2009
5:18 pm

Get your tickets to Tampa! Represent! We can’t let those orange clad Tiger-lovers fill the whole stadium! Make it a Christmas present! GO JACKETS!

Kane337

November 14th, 2009
5:23 pm

Great job Jackets!!!

Greg

November 14th, 2009
5:23 pm

There must be a way to stop that damn option. If you know it, shhhhhh!!!!

Falcon 34

November 14th, 2009
5:23 pm

From a Georgia grad and fan: Congratulations to Georgia Tech, their fans, and Coach Johnson & his staff!

Great season represented by toughness, grit, and determination. Something that my team used to do until Brian Van Gorder left Athens, and now we’re reduced to a hapless, undisciplined, and soft UGA team under Richt. Expect to win BIG against my Dawgs in Atlanta and rush for over 400+ yards with 50+ points.

In all truthfulness, congratulations on an excellent season and fully expect to win the ACC Title. Envious of what Coach Johnson has established in Atlanta.

revwreck

November 14th, 2009
5:24 pm

i just hope we get some respect..If the mutts did what we did today channel 5 would have a two hour special tonight titled “The road to the SEC championship” Our guys did great and we are proud.

Paddy

November 14th, 2009
5:25 pm

And a big tip of the cap to coach and his players. You have captured the interest of football fans in the state of Ga. Not an easy accomplishment by no means! A great story!

DMWC

November 14th, 2009
5:27 pm

Classy remarks, Falcon 34.

This is a fun team to watch and an easy team to root for. Most excited I’ve been about Tech football since ‘90.

georgia tech breakin neckz

November 14th, 2009
5:27 pm

coastal division champs next up georgia go tech

bamayellowjacket

November 14th, 2009
5:27 pm

See you in Tampa!

Chan Gailey

November 14th, 2009
5:28 pm

Maybe if I DID have universal support, like you all seem to be giving Paul Johnson just because he got lucky on a couple dumb fourth down calls, we WOULD have beaten Georgia and Wake forest in 2006. This is unbelievable. Wait until you don’t have my recruits any more…. they would be in the top 3 in the country if they were actually running the offense they were recruited for!

Tampa Bound!

November 14th, 2009
5:29 pm

Way to go Jackets!

You went out and took the Coastal. You didn’t have go through any sort of tiebreakers, or hope someone loses; you seized the day!

Now we get to go to Tampa! What an awesome season so far, but you have some work left to do to make this really special!

Beat UGA, then beat the Atlantic!

GT J

November 14th, 2009
5:32 pm

bozydeco CPJ turned down the Auburn job last year. What does that say about your program. Oh yeah, GT has beat AU the past 2 times they have played. I seriously doubt it would go any different if they played in the near future.

SouthCarolinaJacket

November 14th, 2009
5:33 pm

Just loving it. Listening to the Jawja tailgate show this afternoon was amusing. They tried to find everything in college football but GEORGIA Tech to talk about. Hey fellas – the elephant is in the room and ain’t going away. Almost slipped up when they were reminiscing the impressive TTech win last week. Number 7 and head’n up is a hard thing to ignore.

GT For You And Me

November 14th, 2009
5:34 pm

Way to go JACKETS!!!!!!!!!!!! We will crush GEEEOOOORRRRGGGGIIIIAAAAAA!!!!!!! Bank on it$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

George P Burdell

November 14th, 2009
5:35 pm

I got my tickets to the ACC championship! Go Jackets! THWG!

Tech75

November 14th, 2009
5:35 pm

Let’s worry about UGA. Forget the rest.

You can have the ACC CG, the bowl and all the rest.

Beat GA.

Period.

Tech82

November 14th, 2009
5:35 pm

This team is definitely growing. Today, we crushed a team when we were supposed to. That’s been a problem for Tech in the past.

Take a much deserved break, Jackets. Come back in a few days and get ready to crush the next team that you’re supposed to. It’s time to beat Georgia like a rented mule.

GO JACKETS! THWG!

Chan Gailey

November 14th, 2009
5:36 pm

GT will begin preparing for Clemson again… remember Calvin Johnson’s freshman year against them in 04? Wouldn’t have been possible without me!

Buzz29

November 14th, 2009
5:37 pm

I hope our momentum isn’t affected by the bye week. Full Steam Ahead Jackets!

revwreck

November 14th, 2009
5:40 pm

still dont think clemson is any better than first time we played. they didnt look all that great today and got one really bad call in their favor. Nesbitt is light years better than the first time we played them, he had no passing game at all in the first game..

Tech75

November 14th, 2009
5:41 pm

Bye week will let nagging injuries heal. Enthusiasm will be hard to control. This team will be sky-high for UGA, that will be the challenge – to control it.

DamYankee

November 14th, 2009
5:41 pm

Chan Gailey – WTF? Are you anti-Tech, pro-Gailey or just someone who’d bitch if he was hung with a new rope? What does it say about a coach that he took someone else’s recruits, put them in an unfamiliar offense and won his conference in the second year? STFU!

GT For You And Me

November 14th, 2009
5:41 pm

BC has a say so in the Atlantic. Go BC….

Tech82

November 14th, 2009
5:41 pm

Chan – You’re an idiot. That’s why you’re unemployed.

Chuck

November 14th, 2009
5:41 pm

From a hardcore UGA fan, congrats to Tech for a great season. I don’t expect it to get any worse in Atlanta in 2 weeks, either. By the way, that UGA basketball promo pop-up when you open the sports section is annoying to the nth degree. Nothing could be more irrelevant now than that. I’d trade an NCAA Championship in basketball for just one football win over Florida. Are you listening, Mr. Evans?

Tech75

November 14th, 2009
5:42 pm

Signing off, celebrating at Killer Creek tonight!

CPJ

November 14th, 2009
5:43 pm

Not that ANYONE who knows about Tech football doesn’t ALREADY know this, but Coach Paul Johnson > Chan Gailey

Tech82

November 14th, 2009
5:44 pm

Miami is getting spanked by UNC. We’re going to win the Coastal by two games.

jacketbacker

November 14th, 2009
5:45 pm

Congrats CPJ and the entire Tech team!…..Enjoy the off week and then get ready for the state championship!……Then its on to Tampa!!!…….Goooooo Jackets!!

Tech82

November 14th, 2009
5:46 pm

CPJ writes: “Coach Paul Johnson > Chan Gailey”

Correction – Coach Paul Johnson > any other coach in the country. National Coach of the Year!!!!!!!

John Heisman

November 14th, 2009
5:46 pm

Congrats to Coach Johnson on a great season so far. You’ve still got a lot more to do though, starting with the school in Athens in two weeks. I hear you like a tough challenge. How about you beat my 222-0 record against UGA? Think you can handle that with your high school offense?

Chan Gailey

November 14th, 2009
5:47 pm

No, everyone was out against me from day 1. How could I expect to succeed with such low expectations? Meanwhile from the moment CPJ was hired, the entire tech nation was in love with him. You should have given me more of a chance. Things would have worked out in year 6 of my regime.

jacketbacker

November 14th, 2009
5:48 pm

oh, to the UGA fans who offered congrats…thanks!…..that was class…..

Chan Gailey

November 14th, 2009
5:48 pm

And I won’t be unemployed for long. I’ve been speaking with ND’s AD. Charlie is history. Chan and Jon will be reunited at last!!

Tech82

November 14th, 2009
5:49 pm

Chan – Look at the bright side. I hear UGA is going to induct you into their Ring of Honor.

Chan Gailey

November 14th, 2009
5:50 pm

And if that falls through, I’ll be coordinating UGA’s offense in 2010. Bobo’s as good as gone, and between Richt, Martinez and me, Georgia could have the best coaching staff in the country. Aaron Murray’s going to be a jacket killer!

Dawg-Hatin' Jacket

November 14th, 2009
5:54 pm

Congratulations Yellow Jackets. You have given us an incredible season so far. Still work to do, but we’re proud beyond words of you guys. Now focus on UGAg and finish the drill in Tampa. THWG!

John Heisman

November 14th, 2009
5:58 pm

And yes I know the 222-0 was against Cumberland, but I had a good reason for doing that to them. And that was long before the pups decided to beat Tech 51-7 in 2002. That should be reason enough to take the challenge. I want to see you get all the way turnt up CPJ!

GTAlum

November 14th, 2009
6:02 pm

Guys, I think Chan has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. Can’t you recognize sarcasm?

LAKE OCONEE DAWG

November 14th, 2009
6:04 pm

Can’t believe Tech could score 49 points against those animals Duke had playing defense….Hope Paul gets another raise so he can pay me that $5 Nassau he lost to me and Bohannon some years ago in Statesboro…Hats off to the Jackets…

Joe Schmoe

November 14th, 2009
6:09 pm

Im ready to get crunk in two weeks in section 132 @BDS! Hope its under the lights, with a national spot light.

Mark Richt

November 14th, 2009
6:24 pm

God willing, in two weeks my Dawgs will be ready to play, God willing.

DawgPound

November 14th, 2009
6:26 pm

Congrats to the Jackets. Let’s hope my Dawgs deliver tonight and against Kentucky. Then we can renew that Old Fashioned Hate game rivalry. CPJ is the real deal, I wish it wasn’t true but he is. I still think we will have a great and close game. Go Dawgs!!!