Tech loses bragging rights, chance for something special

Look a little different than the end of last year's Tech-Georgia game? The Jackets won't soon forget this. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Look a little different than the end of last year's Tech-Georgia game? The Jackets lost to the Bulldogs, 30-24, and they won't soon forget this. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@AJC)

Signs of change were everywhere.

Bobby Dodd’s stands weren’t half-red. Thus, the game didn’t have the usual neutral-site feel to it. Bowl officials didn’t jam the press box. What for? Georgia Tech’s future was fairly simple, and Georgia’s was fairly depressing. The Jackets could be headed to the Orange Bowl, a game with history. The Bulldogs could be headed to the PapaJohns.com Bowl, a game with anchovies. The Dogs even had a temp-Uga on the sideline.

But if the Jackets feel like they just got knocked back in time, there’s a reason.

A year ago, they stunned Georgia at home and tore branches off the sacred hedges. On Saturday, with an eight-game winning streak and a fantasy season unfolding, they fell behind early to the Bulldogs 17-3 and fell short in a comeback. They lost 30-24.

The 12 months of bragging just kicked off from the other direction.

It doesn’t mean Tech can’t win the ACC title. It doesn’t mean the Jackets can’t play in Miami and finish 12-2. But this one will sting for a year because this is one most expected they would win. They were playing a mediocre Georgia team coming off  a loss to Kentucky, and it doesn’t get much worse than that.

Tech coach Paul Johnson downplayed the significance of this game earlier in the week. He believes everybody should focus on the big picture, and that picture includes conference championships and competing for BCS bowls, not just bragging rights over big brother from Athens. “I don’t want to leave the wrong impression because I do realize that the game is important and I know for a lot of our fans that this is the game they want to win,” Johnson said. “[But] we want to get to the point where our program is bigger than one game. We want to win the game, but we want to do some other things that just beating Georgia won’t do for you.”

And Johnson’s right. Tech’s season is about more than beating Georgia. But beating Georgia ranks pretty high.

Bottom line: This was the Jackets’ chance to take charge, and they failed.

Josh Nesbitt left the game early with a sprained ankle but returned later. (AP photo)

Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt left the game in the first quarter with a sprained ankle but returned later. (AP photo)

This won’t do much to boost morale in the ACC’s offices, either. The conference’s two championship game entries, Tech and Clemson (to South Carolina), both closed the regular season with losses to SEC rivals.

Tech trailed 17-3 at halftime. It clawed back to within 30-24 in the fourth quarter after a touchdown run by Josh Nesbitt, who keyed the comeback when he returned from an ankle injury. When Georgia’s Blair Walsh missed a 55-yard field goal attempt with three minutes remaining, it gave them one last chance. But a dropped pass by Demaryius Thomas at the Dogs’ 35 ended the final threat.

There was a general consensus that this would be a high-scoring game, with the game’s two defensive coordinators, Georgia’s Willie Martinez and Tech’s Dave Wommack, taking turns absorbing blows like those old inflatable clowns that keep bouncing back up after being punched. (In Martinez’s case, there’s no guarantee he’ll be bouncing back up after the season.)

What nobody figured: At halftime, Tech would be trailing 17-3 and its run-dominated offense — one of the top units in the nation — would be outrushed by Georgia 204-80. (On second thought, maybe it’s Wommack who won’t be bouncing back up.) That kept the Jackets’ offense off the field.

Not only was Tech limited to four possessions, it lost Nesbitt, who might as well be this team’s transmission. When he suffered a sprained ankle with 1:03 left in the first quarter, every projection about this game changed. He tested the injury on the sideline, eventually went into the locker room, presumably for a wonder cure, and returned during the second. But backup Jaybo Shaw ran the next possession and threw an interception, which the Bulldogs turned into a touchdown and the 17-3 halftime lead.

But Nesbitt played Tech’s final possession of the half, not looking full-speed, and then returned strong in the third quarter. He led the Jackets to touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half  (including a 77-yard scoring pass to Thomas). But the Dogs’ responded with touchdown and field-goal drives and held a 27-17 lead. If nothing else, it had turned into the game most expected.

But the end wasn’t what Tech players or fans expected. Last year was about getting attention. This year has been proving their worth. It can still be a great season. But not nearly as great it could have been.

1,802 comments Add your comment

Saint Simons

November 28th, 2009
11:40 pm

i hate my life

waaaaaaaaaaah

BG

November 28th, 2009
11:41 pm

UGA owns Tech. Always has always will!! 30 to 24 Go DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE GHOST OF UGA V11

November 28th, 2009
11:42 pm

30-24 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

TAKE THAT SAINT SIMONS

Who's Your Daddy

November 28th, 2009
11:42 pm

Jeff, Sorry you got your feelings hurt. You are pissed off that Georgia won so now you have nothing negative to write. You loser!!!! Go kick rocks…you bum.

GEORGIA WIN!!!! GEORGIA WIN!!!!.

icedawg

November 28th, 2009
11:42 pm

Run Dawg, run. See the Dawg run. Nuf said.

techie on the coast

November 28th, 2009
11:42 pm

congrats UGAY….man that sux but they worked their plan…only complaint from me was that the refs did’t call holding or blocks in the back on Ga all night….piss…..Congrats UGA

Saint UGAVII

November 28th, 2009
11:42 pm

AAA Division Champions…hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

30-24 hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

THE GHOST OF UGA V11

November 28th, 2009
11:42 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAH30-24HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

AJ

November 28th, 2009
11:43 pm

WOW!!! Who woulda thunk!!! Good season Tech. But it has been a rocky road this year for UGA and play they way they did…WOW

baconboy

November 28th, 2009
11:43 pm

Georgia Tech and Clemson will now play for 5th place in the SEC East.

blueheaD

November 28th, 2009
11:43 pm

Hey SaintSimons, 30-24 hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

The State Championship is back in its rightful place. Goodnight Locusts.

Dan

November 28th, 2009
11:43 pm

u should loser. what is that 8 of 9 and last year was a fluke. your blogging rights should be revoked! (Hahaahahahahahahahahahahah)

SAINT SIMONS DOES M

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Larry

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

Our worst team in years went into your house and smacked you in the mouth. Have fun in your conference championship for losers next week, losers. Tech sucks. The fact that you have to wallow in this for the next year makes me so happy.

30-24. Deal with it. Overrated Loser Nerds.

Dave

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

Give us your lunch money nerds!!!

kerryb

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

fss

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

The ACC CHampionship: Worth 4th or 5th place in the SEC East. Stoopid nerds.

Who's Your Daddy

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

Saint Simons…go kick rocks and jump off a bridge YOU BUM. 30-24 HAHAHAHAHA

m and saint simons eat $heite

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

stick that 45 to 42 up your 30 to 24 a$$ hahahhahahahahahaah

archangeladidas

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

Its ironic how you gt fans wanted uga to beat UF. Now you just loss to that same sorry uga team. So sad! Get out of the top 10 and stay out! GO GATORS!!!

AJ

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

I guess St Simons can not go to the tickle pile tonite…

To He%% With Yellow Fuzz

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

UGA beating Tech is not as bad for tech when they realize that the lower half of the SEC east beat the “best” of the ACC today. After our running attack, the ACC stands for All Coast is Clear! Oh yeah, screw MB, JS, yellow fuzz, M, cuz, and oh yeah St. Simmons!

Cumberland Island

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

((((((((((30-24)))))))))HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHHAAHAH

Don’t worry, I will be back every day.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Dayman

November 28th, 2009
11:44 pm

Saint UGAVII

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

I got 99 problems but a bee ain’t one!

David

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

Yes BG, you own us. Yes, you’ve won 8 of 10. And, yes, I do want fries with that.

GaDawg

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

St Simons eating some CROW!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

gss303

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

I bet the ACC championship is already sold out. Two great ACC schools will battle.

BAMADAWG

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

I CAN’T HELP MY SELF; 30-24 HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHA

Raiderbeater

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

30-24………

Down Year………

Never Trailed……..

Nice Try Nerds……hope you liked your “up” year.

SAINT SIMONS DOES M

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

BEND OVER TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yung dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

ive not been much for commenting but…. LETS GO GEORGIA!!!! WHEW!!!!! 330 YARDS??? wait wait wait… i think im seeing backwards nope!! i seeing straight!! this almost makes me forgive all of the horrible things ive seen this season! almost…

BG

November 28th, 2009
11:45 pm

GO DAWGS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mikey

November 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

M..where are you?
I thought the SEC was weak.
Well, The weak SEC just beat the 2 ACCCG contenders and just for show, they beat the other ACC team today to make it a perfect 3-0 for the day.
ACC= Joke.

C.Spiller

November 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

Man, it will be great to pad my Heisman stats next week against the ACC coastal champion mighty bees. That SEC is crazy, man… CRAZY GOOD! ZAM

Real Rich

November 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

In “honor” of Saint Simons:
(((((((30-24))))))) Hahahahahahahahahahaha
(((((((#7 ranking — gone))))))) Hahahahahahaha

Opinion

November 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

Have fun at the Music City Bowl !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saint Simons

November 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

I am a loser just like the GT Football team.

UGA 30 -GT 24

HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

G. Dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

Hey Saint Simons: I’ll only do this one time, not 364 like you. So listen closely….
30-24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kah3sav

November 28th, 2009
11:46 pm

Once again the world spins in greased grooves!

Stop Whining

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

techie on the coast

November 28th, 2009
11:42 pm
congrats UGAY….man that sux but they worked their plan…only complaint from me was that the refs did’t call holding or blocks in the back on Ga all night….piss…..Congrats UGA

How about all the chop blocks on the nerds?

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kerryb

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

Tech nerds, we’ve had to listen to your crap all year from your fluky win. Now order is restored. You can all now go back into your closets. Enjoy your trop across the street to the Georgia dome after Clemson beats you. HA HA Ha Ha

killerJ

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

Turnovers,Turnovers, Cost Us Thirteen Points.Good Game Pups.On To Tampa For The Real prize! I Don,t Think Thomas Wil Drop Another One,That Hurt.

techie on the coast

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

all in all very fun game …..we didnt win but I like close rivalry games……This is all ways the best game of the year. Uga controlled the ball and earned the win….can’t wait till next year…

JM

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

30-24 MORE TO COME NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doesn’t sound so good when the shoe’s on the other foot, does it, Saint Simons? Well, your utter lack of humility hasn’t been forgotten. Expect to hear those words every day for the next 365 days,

Damn, this one feels good.

bluecole

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

And where are you playing Dec. 5th? Thought so. . . . . .

SAINT SIMONS DOES M

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

364 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHHAAHAHHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Cuz

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

Jackets, I said that paybacks were Hades. I guess yellow fuzz and m finnally believe what I said.

AJ

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

be interesting to see what tech mites come on blog…or they are weasling back into the wood work.

Safety Dawg

November 28th, 2009
11:47 pm

NEWS FLASH: ACC CHAMPIONSHIP to be renamed BATTLE OF THE STATE RUNNER UPS. Tickets now buy one, get three free!