Meanwhile, Tech, Johnson have nothing to complain about

Georgia Tech quarterback had four touchdowns (two running, two passing) in a win over Middle Tennessee State. (AP photo)

Tevin Washington had four touchdowns (two running, two passing) in an easy win.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Pssst. Paul Johnson to Georgia.

Kidding. Just trying to get your attention.

While Athens is on fire, Georgia Tech is … well, on fire.

OK, so maybe we’re not talking apples-to-apples here. More like melons to pits. Georgia has played (and lost to) two ranked teams. Georgia Tech has played (and dismembered) two opponents that could qualify as a charitable write-offs.

But the Jackets are showing signs that they could make things interesting in the ACC this season. After pounding Western Carolina 63-21 last week, the Yellow Jackets came back to body slam Middle Tennessee State 49-21. (They led 28-0 only three minutes into the second quarter, then took off the gas, perhaps fearing the Blue Raiders would not show up for next season’s comic relief in Atlanta.)

So that’s 112 points and 1,258 yards in offense in two weeks. Granted, when a team from a major conference opens with two lopsided victories over a I-AA team and a Sun Belt team, it’s premature to project a BCS bowl. You would expect the old guys from fire hall 17 to be next up on the schedule. (Close: It’s Kansas.) But if an offense is operating at that high of an efficiency rate — and suddenly has shown the ability to hurt opposing defenses with the pass — it means something.

“We’ll see how we do when the competition gets a little tougher,” coach Paul Johnson said. “We started out well, came out with good intensity and then toward the end of the first half, we lost our focus a little bit. But we came back out after halftime and reasserted our dominance.”

Dominance and the Jackets didn’t intersect last season. They finished 6-7.

The pluses this year start with the play of Washington at quarterback. His first two pass attempts went for 73- and 71-yard touchdown passes. NASA is still calculating his quarterback rating.

The Jackets didn’t just pile up the points early, they scored in different ways.

First possession (touchdown, one play, 73 yards): Johnson suspected he might get a favorable matchup on the first play from scrimmage – the smallish but speedy Zenon vs. a linebacker – and that’s what happened. From the Jackets’ 27, Washington hit him on a little wheel route on the left side, and Zenon then outran the Blue Raiders’ defense to the end zone to make the score 7-0 just 14 seconds into the game.

Second possession (touchdown, 17-98): The Jackets’ offensive line just pounded Middle Tennessee State up front. Every yard came via the run.

Third possession (touchdown, one-71). Washington spotted an open Stephen Hill over the middle. Defenders must’ve believed he had some contagious disease because nobody came with a five feet of him. He was gone.

Fourth possession (touchdown, 7-90). Washington to Hill for 43 yards was the highlight. (Washington’s yard per throw dropped on that.).

Welcome to the Air Johnson offense.

Washington took over for the departed Joshua Nesbitt. He’s playing the position better — at least more like a quarterback. Nesbitt was a tough kid, one who ran the triple option well. He played through injuries. But he couldn’t throw a lick, and when the Jackets lost wide receiver Demaryius Thomas off the team two years ago, Tech didn’t have another receiver to make him look even semi-good. This season, Tech’s combination of Washington-to-Hill may turn into one of the ACC’s top duos.

Johnson also showed a little attitude near the end of the game. He had backup Synjyn Days attempt a team pass to Zenon in the final seconds. Presumably, it was in response to the Raiders having an onside kick and calling a timeout so they score a late meaningless touchdown.

Johnson smiled when asked about the pass.

“No. I just wanted to give him a chance to throw the ball,” he said.

Right.

When you win, it’s all funny.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

126 comments Add your comment

Owen Tew

September 10th, 2011
10:35 pm

I’m Jawja’s biggest fan! Go Mutts!

Paul's Johnson

September 10th, 2011
10:36 pm

THE BIG R

September 10th, 2011
10:37 pm

FIRST? CHANCE TO HAVE BIGGER SEASON THAN EXPECTED. JUST STAY UNDER THE RADAR. AND KEEP WORKING AND GET BETTER EACH GAME

GTJackets86

September 10th, 2011
10:41 pm

I love seeing the passing game work like this. Stephen Hill looks a lot more focused this year and its paying off! Kansas will provide more of a test next week, hope the offense continues to roll and the defense can keep forcing turnovers!! Go Jackets!!

Supersize that order, mutt

September 10th, 2011
10:44 pm

I’m loving this team :)

Buzz-on

September 10th, 2011
10:45 pm

And let’s all send Ms. Dinich a can of spinach! She might want to do her homework if she wants to upgrade her meals!!

Supersize that order, mutt

September 10th, 2011
10:47 pm

Buzz-on, let her keep picking against Tech. We always win when she does. hehe

GT GRAD

September 10th, 2011
10:49 pm

Thanks Coach PJ……..true GT fans appreciate you.

Go GT!!

gt81

September 10th, 2011
10:54 pm

execution and focus is light years ahead of last year and that makes the Jackets a threat to win on any given day. love the fact that Vlad may not be needed this year and can be redshirted for the future. GO JACKETS!

G.Wally

September 10th, 2011
10:57 pm

This tech blog looks pretty boring.

JSS

September 10th, 2011
11:02 pm

Wow, somebody actually went there! How are things over on the suicide watch, oops I mean the UGA Blog?

Dawg-Hatin' Jacket

September 10th, 2011
11:10 pm

Focus!

Oh yeah, mutts, 42-45. And I’m not talking about the last time you lost to GT. THWG.

smitty

September 10th, 2011
11:10 pm

gt is running on a new rare gas, zenon……PJ has installed a real passing game, a lethal weapon to go
with the option which makes GT a completely different team this year……i even saw a shovel pass…. defense looks improved……maybe a lot……team looks quicker, more disciplined……days looked good in the backup QB role but needs to learn to pitch the ball on occasion…….hill, perkins, sims, etc are studs…….but shhhhhh…….lets not say too much just yet………lets fly under the radar a bit longer….
and give the damn ball to orwin…….

YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS UP

September 10th, 2011
11:12 pm

wow and that ESPN idiot Heather Dinich said the Jackets would lose, keep up the good work with that moron on that ACC blog

BUZZ 2011

September 10th, 2011
11:16 pm

This team is real and the ACC knows it.. I think the other team in Georgia may
be getting a hiny as well.. We have a quarterback and a real good back up quarterback
as well.. Last week a poll was shown on an ACC game listing 5 teams that should win
the ACC title.. GT wasn’t even listed …It is early but you have to wonder???????/

miles from my home

September 10th, 2011
11:33 pm

I feel like the last two teams have been glorified high school football games. The color and the camera work was shoddy, and Tech made the competition look silly. While the coverage and competition has been lacking, I like this approach to the season. Getting the 2 Ws for this young team has been nothing but positive. This week the team looked better than last week. And the competition gets a little better next week, and the week after, and I hope this team gets better each week as well. Something tells me they will. Well done Mr. Johnson and Jackets.

Techdude

September 10th, 2011
11:50 pm

” Yea but will still beat Tech.” LOL whatever helps them feel good about losing.

JacketFan

September 10th, 2011
11:58 pm

Funny, dawg fans laugh because our blog isn’t lighting up … yet, we’re nerds on the computers. Just back from MTSU. Great experience. Go JACKETS! THWG!

Hairy Dawg

September 11th, 2011
12:07 am

You Techies with the high schooler gimmickey offense does OK againts the high school teams. When you got to face a real teams with the SEC speed then you lose like the stinkys you are.

Ben Gunby

September 11th, 2011
12:16 am

Right Hairy Dawg…..Because Tech’s offense clearly has been completely stifled by UGA since Paul Johnson arrived.

GT '93

September 11th, 2011
12:19 am

Johnson to UGA, I’m afraid.

Total Bad Ass.

GT '93

September 11th, 2011
12:21 am

Hairy dawg

Youre a loser.

Check the scoreboard.

I'm just saying

September 11th, 2011
12:23 am

Hairy…first off…you must be a jawja grad…your grammar is indicative of ugump’s level education. Second, did Boise have SEC speed? Face it…ugump is the most overrated and underachieving program in the nation, but don’t fret you can still repeat as Fulmer Cup champs…give Crowell some time…he will be visiting the Athens jail soon enough.

GTinNashville

September 11th, 2011
12:27 am

I’m still scared by special teams. First 2 kickoffs went out of bounds, then on the 3rd we keep in in-bounds and MTSU beats our coverage and returns it to the 44! We’re not going to beat better competition if we keep giving them 60 yards or less to go. Can’t assume that we’ll score 50-60 points each game. Also, had a blast at the game and a great showing by Tech fans!

Footballrules

September 11th, 2011
12:30 am

Hairy dawg….Tech fans are “stinkys”? Hmmmmm….your school’s….let me reword that, UGA’s President Dr. Adams stated that they had to close several buildings on the north campus in Athens during home games. Said something about urination and defecation on the grounds by UGA’s fans, along with something like 70 tons of trash thrown on the ground.

macrotech

September 11th, 2011
12:32 am

“The stinkys” we are? SOMEONE’S stretching their vernacular!!!

Supersize that order, mutt

September 11th, 2011
12:46 am

AMSJacket

September 11th, 2011
12:47 am

Great column, Jeff!

I wished you hadn’t mentioned CPJ to Georgia, though, as they’re pretty short of other ideas at the moment…

Tech isn’t there yet but this is a lot better than last year already…

…and how about Wake beating NC State?

Supersize that order, mutt

September 11th, 2011
12:47 am

Hairy dawg, what language was that you were using? It sure didn’t look like the English language

JL

September 11th, 2011
1:05 am

I think Hairy Dawg was supposed to be a joke…

About as good a start as you can hope for. Special teams look a bit crappy though.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 11th, 2011
1:14 am

S. Hill looks stronger and maybe has developed into the go to guy. Washington is doing a great job. I hope Tech still has an attitude about the loss to Kansas. ” KEEP ROLLING YELLOW JACKETS ” Will be nice to be 3-0.

stiggywiggy

September 11th, 2011
1:20 am

So there’s more activity at dawg blogs than at Tech blogs. Hey dawg fans: There’s a simple reason for that, which your simpletons cannot grasp. THERE ARE MORE GEORGIA FANS THAN TECH FANS!. Wonder why? YOU HAVE A BIGGER SCHOOL. Big friggin’ deal. There are more Chinese than Americans. I guess that makes them superior. Imagine some idiot bragging to a friend that he has more people at his family reunions.

The funny thing is that you dawgies are actually PROUD of being one small peabrained element assimilated into a hunkering mass of nosepicking rednecks.

5150 UOAD

September 11th, 2011
1:29 am

DAMN how much Trash is on the campus tonight? Caleb King & Washed-up Ealey have something to do on SUNDAY now.

Go Tech

September 11th, 2011
1:35 am

Response to “I’m just saying”: Don’t call out Fulmer, he won a national championship. Top that.

Moorman

September 11th, 2011
1:43 am

Say this about johnson… He KNOWS what he is doing. While evey other school in the nation tries to spread you out and trick you with play options, he chooses to instead, embrace a basic smash mouthed veer attack and beat u into submiddion. I love it…..

GT Trumpet

September 11th, 2011
1:47 am

I really like how we are going about scheduling this year. Sure we aren’t playing any big OOC teams except that other “”school” in Athens. However getting some confidence for this young team and ratcheting up the competition each week is working wonders so far. Based on what I’ve seen so far from the rest of the ACC, UNC barely getting winning against Rutgers, climpsun barely getting away from Wofford, etc, we just might have a chance this year at winning something big. But everyone is right, just stay under the radar for now, no one knows about us yet. :D

Jay

September 11th, 2011
2:44 am

Wow what a win. I tried to tell you ajc dolts that cpj would get a qb who could pass when needed. Now we have it. After watching vt struggle to score and beat a team that sc scored 56 on, and miami with their problems and unc struggling to beat rutgers, this division is ours. The question now is do we go undefeated. Can’t wait to put another grand on them. How’s that prediction going Heather??? No respect still….Purdue needed a last second field goal block to beat them at home. We demolish them at their place and it really was worse. Now it’s KU. I see revenge and another beat down. Glad that ku receiver is on the falcons now!

former1990GtPlayer

September 11th, 2011
3:13 am

we will find out how good we are once we play NC. Kansas is not a good team. They weren’t a good team when we lost to them last year.

WAKE UP

September 11th, 2011
3:40 am

Wait until tech plays a real team. Quit scheduling cinderella teams.

lewisbuzzard

September 11th, 2011
6:07 am

Hey WAKE UP. Couldn’t sleep after that second loss off the season?

Stinger2

September 11th, 2011
6:28 am

Good to be 2-0. Better teams ahead in our schedule. Take it one week at a time and work on mistakes made in previous games. That is the winning formula.

collegeballfan

September 11th, 2011
6:33 am

The defense needs more work. People are running the football on Tech just like last year.

The kickoff coverage team is as bad as last season.

Buckle on your hats next Saturday. Kansas took Northern Illinois 45 – 42.

What’s up with this 45 – 42 stuff? That the new “cool” score?

Turnt_Up!

September 11th, 2011
6:41 am

Dream Team is 0-2 so far. Too bad you actually have to play the games!
Paul has the team humming with focus early in the season. With a more balanced attack on offense than in previous years, will bw hard to defend. We have got to improve on kickoffs. How is it that CPJ’s 1st scholly kicker can’t kick it into endzone or inside the 5? Hello Heather Diminish, stop your hating and start learning how to analyze football…

Ben

September 11th, 2011
6:46 am

I’ll wait till we beat some real teams before I go crazy celebrating.

TO Jacket

September 11th, 2011
6:48 am

Hey, every D1 (traditionalist) college team should have a pre-season schedule…CPJ, keep mixing it up on O… work out your stunts on D…The Power Rangers from Athens assumed they would ready to eat at the big boy table (not so much)…the only thing I hate about the Uga-ly decline is it’s impact on Richt… I said all along he had too much character to be part of the Bulldog nation…once again the Bulldog nation shows it’s class… Go Jackets!

Lattimore

September 11th, 2011
7:02 am

Hey Tech fans…..I am still running…THWG!

mowreck

September 11th, 2011
7:07 am

Don’t get crazy, lots of games to go. I want to see Washngton throw under pressure. I mean I think I could have gotten it to Tony on that first play. But, lets give him Wash credit, he play very, very good at the start. His decision-making was on the money. Also glad he can make that pitch outside that he made to Smith. Good play to make on the team that loads up on the inside to stop the option. Course, a few more touchdown passes will stop that also. Looking forward to next week, we owe them jayhawks a lickin. GO JACKETS!!

snapshot

September 11th, 2011
7:24 am

We have a great coach building a program that will be awesome to watch. This team has not been tested completely. Our defense has a ways to go but the offense is beginning to really click. Kansas will be another test. Lets sit back and enjoy. Go Yellow Jackets!!!!!

GT71

September 11th, 2011
7:26 am

Yep, TEch’s schedule is like Calculus – it gets harder the further you get into it.
But if you saw UNC you know we can be 4-0 if we RUN THE OFFENSE and the D keeps improving.
THWG – wait, they may be there already…

William Casey

September 11th, 2011
7:45 am

Although the win came against a team with a team with a very inexperienced defense, the thing I liked about our offense was that GT operated with precision. Very few mistakes and exceptional blocking on the perimeter. Stephen Hill seems to be aggressively going after the ball rather than simply waiting for it to get to him as was often the case last year. Washington seems comfortable running the offense. Days seems to have the same “smash mouth” running ability we enjoyed with Nesbitt. Guardedly optimistic here since the ACC doesn’t seem to be strong except for FSU.