Georgia Tech shows its upside in win — and it’s impressive

Orwin Smith takes off for 77-yard touchdown run, part of Tech's first-half explosion. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Orwin Smith's 77-yard touchdown run was part of Tech's first-half assault. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

The first play went for 70 yards and a touchdown. The third play went for 77 yards and a touchdown. The fourth play went for 60 yards. No touchdown. (Virginia’s defense celebrates this small victory, then two minutes later gives up a touchdown.)

Remember 2008, when Paul Johnson brought this scattering-fire-ants-looking offense to Georgia Tech, and the Jackets won games scoring 41, 38, 31, 41 and 45 points, the last coming in Athens?

Remember 2009, when the numbers just got more stupid (49, 49, 39 … 56?), and Tech fans tore down the goal posts after an upset of No. 4 Virginia Tech, and Johnson was viewed as some borderline deity on The Flats for winning the ACC title in only his second season?

That’s sort of what it looked like Saturday. Maybe the ramifications weren’t as great. Virginia, the afternoon sacrifice, wasn’t ranked. There was no title clinched. Tech isn’t even in first place today.

But the Jackets’ 56-20 body-slam of Virginia was significant in other ways. Most notably, it momentarily stuffed all whines and questions about whether the program is headed in the wrong direction. It also suggested something about this team’s high ceiling.

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” quarterback Tevin Washington said after rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for another. “When something goes wrong, just learn. We learned something when we lost at Virginia Tech. It just showed us how even when you have a team down late, you can’t let up. You have to keep playing like it’s 0-0. That’s what we did today. I have a really good feeling about this team. I feel like if we can play with that kind of attitude every week, we can be really good.”

Tech led 14-0 4:29 into the game and 35-7 at halftime. It was 49-7 in the fourth before the foot came off the pedal. It’s not likely going to be that easy against Miami next week, or certainly in a few weeks at Clemson. But if this was the Jackets’ upside, they’re going to be a player in the ACC this season.

Note: Pittsburgh 35, Virginia Tech 17. It’s an open race in the Coastal Division.

Players were motivated watching clips of last season’s 24-21 loss to Virginia in Charlottesville, when the Cavaliers rushed for 274 yards. Washington referenced the contrasting scenes of the two sidelines in the final seconds, and Johnson later: “I heard a long time ago: Revenge is a great motivator for those who care. We were embarrassed the way we played up there.”

The defense, looking more comfortable now in the 3-4, was physical. Virginia was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 in the second quarter (when the blowout was only 28-7). Players were inspired in part by watching a tape of the 1985 Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns middleweight title fight the night before.

“That got me real excited,” cornerback Louis Young said. “We knocked them down and had them on the ropes a lot today. … We were going to stalk them the whole game. Last year, if you look the film, they threw a lot of punches at us early and we didn’t come back at them.”

There was no letup Saturday. It was an important response in the conference to the overtime loss at Virginia Tech two weeks ago. The Jackets scored touchdowns on their first four possessions. Three of their first four offensive plays from scrimmage covered 207 yards, approaching their entire output in Blacksburg (288).

Their first offensive play was a 70-yard touchdown pass fromWashington to Zack Laskey. Their third play was a 77-yard touchdown run by Orwin Smith. Their fourth play was a 60-yard run by Washington, setting up another score. By halftime, Tech had 386 yards in offense, give or take a furlong.

It was a difficult to tell exactly what Virginia’s defensive strategy was, but it appeared to center on their ability to tear the helmet off Washington’s head. They did it twice, forcing him to the sideline to sit out plays because of the NCAA’s inane new rule. (Didn’t matter. The Jackets scored touchdowns on both drives.)

Asked if he felt the helmet grabs were intentional, Washington: “Yeah, and I told the officials. I don’t like that rule.”

Johnson’s pointed observation: “Funny how that happened near the goal line.”

Not that it made a difference.

By Jeff Schultz

EARLIER: 3 thoughts on Georgia Tech’s win over Virginia


215 comments Add your comment

Not Disappointed

September 15th, 2012
9:01 pm

It was an awesome Game! I believe Tevin can actually throw a ball! Ramblin Wreck!

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:02 pm

You can always trust CPJ to give a good one liner as a quote. Love having him here on the flats. Great game Jackets!!!!

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:03 pm

You’re seeing a team grow up and mature right before your eyes. The difference in the team’s attitude, outlook is apparent and it’s going to be fun to see it continue as the season goes along. I am not a seer but I do feel the Jackets are heading toward good things :-)

Go Jackets! Humble the “u”!

Jason

September 15th, 2012
9:05 pm

Funny some idiot uga fan was on the game blog and said middle tenn was a cupcake. They beat ugas opponent, the mighty fla owls, last week by 2 tds 28-14. And uga is ahead by that score in the second qtr. Uga is the most overrated piece of garbage in college football. They will lose at least 3 games.

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:07 pm

I want to beat Miami more than just about any team on the schedule. I’m sick of them beating us when they are clearly not the better team. If we can beat them soundly next week, we have a chance to potentially run the table to the UGA game, and then anything can happen. Never know what can happen, haha.

SatchelBuzz

September 15th, 2012
9:07 pm

Trippy Mane,…..next.THWG!

Doug the Jacket

September 15th, 2012
9:09 pm

GREAT GAME! Good article Jeff…..

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:10 pm

So typical.
But u know what will happen next week or in 2 or 3 weeks. They will play against a team with more than a week to prepare and boom…it’s back to no execution an ugly loss. Always happens with gt. right now the on;ly teams that should have a chance are clem and uga but tech will manage to lose one to someone else they always do.

RecentWreck

September 15th, 2012
9:10 pm

Good article, great win… Maybe we’ll finally break the streak of the Tech-Tech victor winning the Coastal

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:12 pm

Wow Greg such insight! Tell us where you coach again? LOL!!!!!!!!!!

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:12 pm

Way to be positive Greg. Glad to have you as a fan. Hopefully the sarcasm is translating decently. It doesn’t hurt to, you know, actually act like a fan (assuming you aren’t a UGA troll just trying to push buttons)

Not Disappointed

September 15th, 2012
9:13 pm

Great Article Jeff!

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:14 pm

Oh, and great article Jeff. Hopefully the Jackets will actually reach for that ceiling this season, and we can get a product similar to the 2009 season when everything is said and done.

Delbert D.

September 15th, 2012
9:15 pm

Who is that guy Yuell Munroe that the ESPN people keep talking about? Something about SEC and overtime?

Delbert D.

September 15th, 2012
9:17 pm

OJF – Sounds like he’s too ashamed to post as atl x-men.

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:18 pm

LOL@ Delbert, could be! That moron was on before the game spouting off, not so much now

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:26 pm

Ol jacket
I’m just using the obvious observation. It’s only happened for the past 20 years. Moron. Tech always loses to a team they should beat. Tell me when that doesn’t happen. As bad as unc looks now, I’ll pick that one as a loss. Funny how a game like this and you ignore the facts. VT getting blown out by 0-2 pitt.

Big Crimson 75

September 15th, 2012
9:27 pm

Hahahahaha…
The dwags are beside themselves!!!
The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!

collegeballfan

September 15th, 2012
9:27 pm

Basics. The GT OL blocked the Virginia defense. When that happens GT usually wins the game. Jackson at RT made the block of his career on the long Smith run – totally sealed off the inside of the UVA defense.

The GT defense played a solid game.

DS CE'91

September 15th, 2012
9:30 pm

Now THAT is what we needed!! Too bad some folks (who purport to be Tech Fans, no less) just can’t handle it when the Jackets perform well:

If we win, the other team SUX;
If we lose, we SUCK.

Haters gonna hate, is all I’m sayin’

GO JACKETS!! Get ready for the Canes!

DS CE'91

September 15th, 2012
9:32 pm

GREAT downfield blocking today…

Jk

September 15th, 2012
9:32 pm

Revenge is a great motivator for those who care. We were embarrassed the way we played up there

That’s funny. I’ve read countless times on this blog where the brilliant george stein idiot says revenge doesn’t play a factor. So I guess he disagrees with the coach.

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:33 pm

Greg past results are not a guarantee of future performance. I prefer to look at this team in 2012 and go from there. That’s what a real fan does. Not sit there with a woe is me attitude that oh no the sky is falling. I have watched Tech football for a long time both good and bad. I’ve always rooted for them to win and when it doesn’t happen I am disappointed. They played a helluva game today and it deserves to be celebrated not denigrated. If you’re truly a fan you’d know that but your comments tend to make one think you’re not a Tech fan but merely a sad troll.

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:35 pm

Oh BTW Greg the name calling is so mature of you LOL!!!

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:35 pm

So that’s all it is collegeball? So I guess some games, they decide NOT to block. LOL
It’s uva not being prepared. Last year they had an extra week. VT had an entire off season. Geez you’d think some gt fans could recognize the obvious.

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:36 pm

Preach it OLJ. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:37 pm

Here we go with the “preparation” argument. 10-10 in those games, and seven of those losses are against ranked teams. Tell me Greg, how many teams have great success against RANKED teams that have extra time to prepare.

Long Beach Jacket

September 15th, 2012
9:39 pm

Great win by the Jackets! Great win. Put it in the books and get back to work. Expect Miami to be tough. They have good players (don’t be fooled by the bad outting at KSU). Jackets need to be focused and ready. Congratulations to the players and staff on a job well done. btw – it is OBVIOUS Tech has plenty of talent on both sides. Enough talent + good preparation and execution = lots of wins. I stand by my preseason prediction – this team will be 10-2 after the first 12 games…..

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:39 pm

@ GTPhenom, it’s just the big lie, repeat long enough and loud enough folks will tend to believe without checking the facts!

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:39 pm

Greg, why bother being a fan if you are going to be this damn negative after a big win. Takes all the fun out of being a fan in the first place, lol

GTPhenom

September 15th, 2012
9:41 pm

Exactly OLJ. No one ever looks at the actual facts behind the numbers. Too many trolls use that argument, and it just gets old. LBJ, I said 9-3 if we lost the VT game, but I’m starting to reconsider, haha

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:43 pm

I’m no seer but I would not be surprised with a 9-3 regular season. It could be much better :-)

CigarDawg

September 15th, 2012
9:46 pm

The pathetic participation on the GT blogs proves they are a waste of time. Why does AJC even bother to have a reporter at these games?

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:47 pm

Well phenom, you proved my point in being a da in doing so. Against good comp with some time, gt’s offense no va!
It’s amazing how you guys cheer on games like today when you know the inevitable is coming. And it always does. 2 wins 5 losses to end the season last year. Yeah, nice track record.

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:49 pm

Well CigarDawg you’re here, I’m sure the AJC thanks you for your participation!

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:50 pm

Yep, it’s confirmed Greg is sad lonely little troll………so sorry for you

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:50 pm

Ol jacket
Past results are always a guarantee of future results against tech. I’ll be here with wins and when they do the expected and lose a few games they shouldn’t, I’l remind you of your pom pom waving idiocy.

Paul in NH

September 15th, 2012
9:51 pm

Jeff
Nic column. I already have the recorded fights lined up for the team to watch before 2 of GT’s biggest games
Clemson – The Thrilla in Manila (Ali-Frazier III) – two rivals leave it all in th ring
UGA – The Rumble in the Jungle (Ali-Foreman) – overwhelming favorite goes down.

Paul in NH

September 15th, 2012
9:53 pm

“Past results are always a guarantee of future results against tech”

Didn’t UVA beat GT easily in 2011? How did that effect the result today?

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:53 pm

Okay Greg whatever you say little man, keep the faith bro and BTW don’t let the door hit you in the arse on your way out ;-)

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:53 pm

Ol jacket what is your definition of a troll? Seems to me you’re loser since you’ve spent ur whole day on here? I mean wtf? Do you not have a gf? Facts, those pesky facts, always get in the way of some of you gt pom pom waving clueless idiots. Everyone but YOU knows gt will finish with at least 4 losses this year but you drink the spiked kool aid like 2010 and 2011 and think you’re invincible. Amazing how you myrmidoms never learn.

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:54 pm

@ Paul, very fitting to say the least!

jackette

September 15th, 2012
9:55 pm

if next week’s game vs Miami isn’t a sellout, then that would be a shame on the fans…sick of losing to Miami and I am sure that is coming to an end…..go Jackets

bet you the helmet rule won’t last the entire season because some player somewhere will get severly injured by the opponents yanking his helmet off and that will end that…

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:55 pm

Paul I didn’t make that statement, BUT how has gt fared against uva @ uva over the past 20 years? That’s what i thought. Keep drinking the spiked punch. When November comes and gt has 3 losses approaching the ga game, you’ll be reminded again of how inane you are.

Oh That Guy

September 15th, 2012
9:56 pm

Where is that WNE guy? Not gona come on here and whine about how giving up the last second TD shows that we didn’t play until the end?

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:58 pm

of course it wont be a sellout jackette. unless gt does like the fed and prints more tickets at a very cheap rate. lol

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
9:59 pm

LOL@ Greg, such a little temper trantum! Is time for mommy to tuck you in?????? Are you sure you’re old enough to be playing on the computer? Perhaps you’re using another handle other your non de plume of GT 1990?

Paul in NH

September 15th, 2012
10:02 pm

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:50 pm
Ol jacket
Past results are always a guarantee of future results against tech
—-
Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:55 pm
Paul I didn’t make that statement
——-
Greg – You should tell the AJC that someone has hijacked your handle – Because the “Greg” at 9:50PM made a statement that the “Greg” at 9:55PM claims he didn’t make.

Paul in NH

September 15th, 2012
10:04 pm

Greg

September 15th, 2012
9:58 pm
of course it wont be a sellout jackette. unless gt does like the fed and prints more tickets at a very cheap rate. lol
———-
This is, without a doubt, one of the more moronic postings I have ever read. Does this child named Greg realize that the more tickets that are issued the LESS likely it is to sell them all.

Ol'JacketFan

September 15th, 2012
10:06 pm

@ Paul, common sense and rational thinking do not appear to be his strong suit.