Give Tech 66 points and 768 yards. Give Tech’s coach 5 stars

This is how it began. There would be much more. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

This is how it began. There'd be much more. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

The first three touchdown drives required a total of 10 plays, which by Georgia Tech standards was positively ponderous. To score its next three touchdowns, the Jackets needed only six plays, and right about then you could hear the Jackets’ demanding coach grunting to himself: “That’s more like it.”

Six touchdowns. Sixteen plays, total. Think about that.

Think about the high-school offense that will never work in big-time college football — except when it stacks 66 points and 768 yards on a team from another BCS league, a team that not incidentally beat Tech a year ago. Think about what Paul Johnson has done with no Joshua Nesbitt, no Jonathan Dwyer, no Demaryius Thomas, no Anthony Allen. In three games, here’s what his spread option has wrought:

An average of 59.3 points and 675.3 yards. Think about that.

No, Tech hasn’t played the world’s most arduous schedule, but still … those numbers against air would be impressive. These have been compiled against opponents who come equipped with scholarship players and scouting reports, and it hasn’t mattered. When Tech takes the ball, it scores. Sometimes it scores so fast you’d swear you were watching a highlight tape and not a real game in real time.

Said Tevin Washington, the quarterback: “Sometimes we amaze ourselves.”

We’ve all seen Johnson and his offense at work. Even so, these three games have been astonishing. Three weeks running Tech has arrayed itself for the first snap, and three weeks running the first snap has yielded a touchdown: A 5-yard toss sweep against Western Carolina, a 59-yard pass against Middle Tennessee and now a 95-yard counter against Kansas. (Johnson: “We knew from last year that [the Jayhawks] would cheat to the motion.”)

In three games, Tech has scored 10 touchdowns on plays from beyond midfield. This is not the triple option as Darrell Royal and Barry Switzer knew the triple option. This is the triple option as reconstructed by a shrewd man who has taken a scheme and dragged it into the 21st century.

You can say what you will about Johnson, and much of it would be correct: He’s cocky, and he doesn’t care much about conventional wisdom or recruiting rankings, and he hasn’t yet won a bowl game at Tech, but … give the man his due. He’s a great play-designer, a great play-caller, a great play-tweaker. One PJ wrinkle, and somebody’s running for miles.

What transpired Saturday wasn’t quite perfection, but it was close. Tech had the ball 12 times. It allowed the clock to expire at game’s end. Of the 11 times it tried to score, it succeeded all but once. Of those 11 drives, the shortest netted 43 yards — and that was the one that ended with a punt.

Two backs broke 100 yards rushing. (Orwin Smith, who’d gone for 95 on the game’s first play, did it on his second carry, which represents the minimum number of attempts for breaking 100.) Two more went for 70-plus yards. Yet another had 68. Washington threw only seven passes, but averaged 41 yards per pass completion.

These were crazy numbers, and in the third quarter the whole thing got certifiably insane. Tech scored on its first snap of the second half, Embry Peeples swooping 63 yards. The Jackets needed four plays to go 74 yards the next time, Smith catching a play-action pass from Washington. Next possession: One play, one pass, one Roddy Jones touchdown. Up 24-17 at the half, Tech led 45-17 with barely half the quarter gone.

“As for us being a high-school offense … we just put up 700 yards,” Washington said. “If it works on this level, it works on any level.”

The 768 total yards? A school record. The 604 yards rushing? Ditto. But the goofiest number was this: Tech had the ball for 27 minutes and 37 seconds. It lost, if that’s the proper word, the time of possession and outgained its opponent by 406 yards.

Said Johnson, coming as close to gushing as he ever has or will: “We played fairly well the whole game on offense.”

Fairly well. Apt description.

I don’t know how good this Tech team is, and you don’t, either. (We’ll learn more when North Carolina arrives next weekend.) I don’t know if Johnson will win another ACC championship, and you don’t, either. But I do know this: The guy in charge can run an offense like nobody I’ve ever seen, and there’s not a five-star recruit in this mix. Just a five-star football coach.

By Mark Bradley

381 comments Add your comment

mmgtfan

September 17th, 2011
5:40 pm

Mark Bradley

September 17th, 2011
5:44 pm

Didn’t we do this once before, mmgtfan?

Kudos for the second time in five hours.

@DanWeiner

September 17th, 2011
5:44 pm

I’d like to see Tech do that against a real team like Coastal Carolina.

mmgtfan

September 17th, 2011
5:45 pm

Love Saturdays where I do nothing except watch college football and wait on Bradley’s articles

Freshmaker

September 17th, 2011
5:45 pm

Great win by the Jackets. They’re crushing the teams they’re supposed to beat. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going once the schedule gets a bit tougher.

Eastside Jacket

September 17th, 2011
5:46 pm

This offense is AMAZING !!!!

ChippyTricks

September 17th, 2011
5:51 pm

Yeah the offense looks great but it has every year with the exception of 2010. Defense was pretty pathetic in the first half and there is no pass rush. Don’t see how this GT team can get past 8-4. Then again 8-4 is better than most predicted.

Jack

September 17th, 2011
5:52 pm

Record yardage? More than the Cumberland game?

Somewhere over the Dwayne Bowe

September 17th, 2011
5:52 pm

This offense is never going to work. Wait, what?

JACKETTE

September 17th, 2011
5:54 pm

having gone to the Kansas game last year, this was bittersweet….thank you Jackets, your discipline is paying off, except no less but to be the best, OUTSTANDING and JOB WELL DONE

Outside Observer

September 17th, 2011
5:57 pm

Well, the “high school offense” has been pretty successful in the past. It has been pretty successful this season. I would be willing to bet it will be successful in the future as well. CPJ has filled the offense with athletes, and they are looking very good so far. Next week will be a good measuring stick. The defense needs help though. Second half was better, but we can’t come out flat against good teams. GT will get as far as their defense can take them. Right, I’m not sure how far that will be. Next week should be interesting. Go Jackets!

joe schmoe

September 17th, 2011
5:58 pm

Love the UGA fans coming out of hiding, thumping their chest after beating east west directional, and trolling tech blogs.

Eastside Jacket

September 17th, 2011
5:58 pm

604 yards RUSHING ??? Close to 800 total ??? That has to be a misprint ???

Birmingham Jacket

September 17th, 2011
5:59 pm

Excellent analysis, as usual, Bradley.

Q:

1. Were you at the game? Plenty of seats to be had.

2. Don’t you think if Tech defected to the Big-10 we would put more butts in seats?

Snellville Jacket

September 17th, 2011
6:00 pm

What a performance – Go Tech!!!

Ol'JacketFan

September 17th, 2011
6:02 pm

Overall I was pleased with the special teams play and, once adjustments were made, the defense. I know the level of competition the last 3 weeks but to put up over 750 yards of total offense against any competition is enough said. Been watching the NC/VA game, NC’s d line looks good but if the o line, a backs and wideouts block like they did today it’s hard to envision this offense being stopped. I still think Coach Groh has some things about this defense he hasn’t shown yet, mainly because he hasn’t had to thanks to the “high school” offense. It’s fun to be a Jacket an right now and I look forward to the rest of the year. Mark, thanks for all the comments today!

Simple

September 17th, 2011
6:08 pm

Joshua Nesbitt was a WARRIOR and a great punishing runner, but he couldn’t hit the side of a BIG BARN. Tevin simply throws a very catchable ball!! Not a strong arm but he is accurate and puts the right amount of air under the ball………look to see if this is a fluke against three terrible defenses or not? UNC will be a lot better on D.

Saban

September 17th, 2011
6:11 pm

Great Game Jackets.

Just a lot of fun to watch.

Elmer

September 17th, 2011
6:13 pm

I guess we’ll know more in a week, but it does look promising. Excellent writing by the way, a pleasure to read. I agree with one of the posters who said the defense will be the limiting factor for Tech. (And for all I know that will come along as the season goes on).

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 17th, 2011
6:14 pm

GEORGIA TECH’s offense put on a blast of scoring like I have never seen in college football before. They scored so fast on long plays that it would make your head spin. Can’t wait for NC next week. 3-0 GT is ” ROCKING THE HOUSE.”

Richard Alpert

September 17th, 2011
6:14 pm

Great job Tech! Too bad 1-2 Georgia is going whip your @ss in November as always. Suck it nerds.

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 17th, 2011
6:16 pm

Thanks Mark, you finally wrote an article suitable for framing.

AGTFan

September 17th, 2011
6:19 pm

768 yards total offense. 604 yards rushing. 66 points and the coach says, “We played fairly well the whole game on offense.” I wonder what it looks like when they play very well for a whole game? What would it look like for CPJ to say we played great?

REW

September 17th, 2011
6:20 pm

Excellent column – I would also like to take this time to welcome Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Stinger2

September 17th, 2011
6:20 pm

Why is everyone so impressed? Running up the score on a weak opponent by keeping the starting QB in too long
then going for 1st down with huge lead?
At least they were probably not aware that the modern day GT scoring record is 70 points against (of all teams Navy. Saved us further embarassment. What goes around comes around

flats

September 17th, 2011
6:21 pm

768 yards? That’s about a half mile of running up and down the field!

Reality

September 17th, 2011
6:23 pm

Suddently Pitt, Syracuse, and Texas all want to be in the ACC!! LOL!

And pitiful SEC still thinks that they can steal an ACC team? Dream on….

OldTimer

September 17th, 2011
6:24 pm

I love CPJ’s attitude. It’s all about doing your homework. You’re never too old to learn something. And benefit from it.

GT Geo

September 17th, 2011
6:24 pm

Was fortunate enough to be at the game….only negative thing I can say is that I didn’t appreciate the jerk two rows behind us using inappropriate language–especially since there were children around (including my 6 year old son attending his first GT/college football game). Some people are just rude. Other than that….604 yards rushing and 766 yards total against a FBS (D1-A) school from the Big 12 is pretty good. And yet the puppies from Athens get the headlines and the front pages….even though they played what many people are referring to as a “high school” team from SC. How many yards did they have? Hmmmm……..GOOOO JACKETS!

Jacket Fan

September 17th, 2011
6:25 pm

The pass rush group in the third quarter – I think it was Kitchen, Dieke, and not sure of the two others – fixed the problem. It will be interesting to see if it continues to work against Renner. Heck of a nice game on the Flats. Go Jackets!

GIVE ME A BREAK

September 17th, 2011
6:25 pm

REW, I heard that when we got home from the game. Where did that come from? That was kind of a shock.

Richard Alpert

September 17th, 2011
6:26 pm

GEO, Tech has ONE victory since the Clinton administration, and that one came down to the last minute. Hmmmmm…….. GO DAWGS

Somewhere over the Dwayne Bowe

September 17th, 2011
6:28 pm

So I guess it didn’t count, Richard!

James

September 17th, 2011
6:29 pm

This is not a reason to predict a lopsided win for Tech over Carolina, but the Heels have not looked very good in any of their games this year.

Tech has been better in each game, and the special teams finally got to join the party. Also, Defense for the second half was great.

I didn’t watch too hard last year because the jackets were painful to watch. Are there new wrinkles in the offense? I think I saw several counters, tosses, and QB fake/reverse style plays that I have seen either sparingly or not at all over the past few years. Was that stuff new or did I just miss it last year?

Oh yeah, loved the passes straight over the middle to A-backs. Give lanky Stephen Hill credit as well–he didn’t have any bombs come his way, but he did a great job blocking downfield. Actually–Everyone did!

790 the zone

September 17th, 2011
6:30 pm

Who would win right now? Georgia or Georgia Tech?

THE BIG R

September 17th, 2011
6:31 pm

WIN THE FIRST FIVE AND HAVE GOOD CHANCE OF WIINNING 9 OR 10..GOT TO GET BETTER ON”D’

Richard Alpert

September 17th, 2011
6:31 pm

Oh it counted, nothing ruins our season like a loss to you nerds. It’s just funny how technologically advanced you geniuses claim to be but wonder why you can’t make the front page of the ajc sports page if UGA is playing too. Even with a ticked off fan base, mediocre playcalling, and a coach that has forgotten how to beat the big boys, you will ALWAYS be second in the state (and third if Ga Southern keeps it up) HA! Suck it nerds. Reggie Ball for Heisman!

JayHawk

September 17th, 2011
6:31 pm

See you on the court.

GT Alum

September 17th, 2011
6:32 pm

Birmingham Jacket -

You can stop beating the Big 10 drum. The ACC has teams wanting to join, and it sounds like the teams that are there are committed. (They just voted unanimously to basically double the fee for leaving the conference.) The ACC signed a big contract with ESPN that they will renegotiate for even more money when the conference grows. Tech isn’t going to the Big 10.

Somewhere over the Dwayne Bowe

September 17th, 2011
6:33 pm

We know why, Richard. Y’all have more Wal-Mart fans. This is not new.

But,,,but,,,but,,

September 17th, 2011
6:33 pm

We went out and kicked some butt today, didn’t we. 59 to 0 over carolina. What,,what did you say? Oh my, Pulpwood, you say it wasn’t South Carolina. But, but, I thought you said that Mr. Adams, the president, said he was giving us another chance. Oh you, mean we beat Myrtle Beach Carolina. Ouuu, sorry. I’ll go back in the trailer and get us a beer.

WONDERFUL WIN FOR GT!!!! OFFENSE LOOKING GREAT!!! I belive the defense will get better as the season progresses.

Don’t those Georgie fans and blogs make you laugh? They’re hysterical.

C from Marietta

September 17th, 2011
6:35 pm

I am a UGA fan and I took my GT father to the game today. Even this Dawg can say Tech was impressive. Good win guys.

reebok

September 17th, 2011
6:35 pm

We just CRUSHED a 2-0 team that beat us last year. That’s an awesome day. Now the ACC schedule starts, and the Tar Heels are coming to town. It’s time to quit fooling around and FILL UP BOBBY DODD STADIUM, TECH FANS!!!!!

Ramblnwrek

September 17th, 2011
6:36 pm

Is the option offense, or a version of it, the offense Nebraska used when it won like 3 National Championships in the 90s. How quickly we forget.

Go Tech!

James

September 17th, 2011
6:36 pm

PS no turnovers!

I Tell You What

September 17th, 2011
6:37 pm

I purchased my 3-game triple option package earlier in the week. I BELIEVE IN THE JACKETS!!! CAN YOU SAY YELLOW —— JACKETS? Great win Coach,,,great win by the players.

GT Alum

September 17th, 2011
6:37 pm

Stinger2 -

So, what, CPJ was supposed to send Days out there and tell him to start taking knees before the end of the 3rd quarter? I was surprised when he went for the pass first play after we stopped fourth down. I don’t know if them going for it on fourth down rubbed him the wrong way or what. But, after that, we didn’t do anything fancy. He was just trying to run the clock.

REW

September 17th, 2011
6:37 pm

@ give me a break – guess its been in the works behind the curtain for a while – looks like done deal. Also presidents unanimously approved upping ACC exit fee to $20 million, so no SEC poaching.

Richard Alpert

September 17th, 2011
6:38 pm

Tech fans had more bloggers after UGA’s loss to Boise St. than any win you’ve had this year.

Dragoncon is over, move out of your parents’ basement, turn off World of Warcraft, lose the Darth Vader costume, and get a damn life nerds.

Reggie Ball for Heisman, FOUR MORE YEARS!!!

JacketFan

September 17th, 2011
6:39 pm

GEO … LOL. Tevin was out of the game before the end of the 3rd Qtr. Our 2nd stringers put up one of the three TDs in the 3rd and then lead the team in the 4th until our 4th string QB came in to close things out.