Tech closes a long week by running through the Blue Hose

Tevin Washington on a 59-yard touchdown keeper. (AP photo by John Bazemore)

Quarterback Tevin Washington on a 59-yard touchdown run. (AP photo by John Bazemore)

In football parlance, it was a short week. In reality, it was a week — six days, actually — of excruciating length. Georgia Tech returned from its overtime Labor Day loss in Blacksburg, Va., at 4 a.m. Tuesday, and then the Jackets had to wait until 7 p.m. Saturday for toe again to meet leather.

Saturday night’s foe was rather less imposing than Virginia Tech. In the Presbyterian Blue Hose’s’ most recent dances with ACC opposition, they’d lost 58-21 (to Clemson in 2010) and 53-13 (to Wake Forest, same year). There was no way in this or any other world that Georgia Tech was going to lose this game. At issue was whether it could shake off its post-Hokie blues and look like a team capable of making something from a season that started with a wrenching defeat.

Speaking of blues: The Jackets, whose official colors are old gold and white, wore blue jerseys with the white honeycomb helmets they’d sported in Blacksburg, and the effect was, shall we say, underwhelming. Nothing about those uniforms made you think, “Georgia Tech.” So much for building the ol’ brand.

The game itself was more representative of the program Paul Johnson has built. The Jackets rushed for 282 yards in the first half. (They’d managed only 288 yards total in four quarters plus OT against Virginia Tech.) Zach Laskey broke a tackle and popped a 56-yard touchdown run on Tech’s first series, and that was encouraging. The Jackets’ longest gain from scrimmage on Labor Day had been a 22-yard Tevin Washington scramble.

Same week, different opponent: Against Presbyterian the Jackets had eight plays of  39 or more yards. Afterward Tech coach Paul Johnson said: “When  you’re playing someone who’s physically overmatched, you’re going to hit some big plays.”

Overall, Johnson was pleased with the victory — the final score was 59-3, and the Jackets gained 712 yards — but not ecstatic. “It was OK in spots,” he said of his offensive. “We were sloppy.”

But then, a bit later: “I don’t care who you play — if you’re getting that many big plays you’re doing something right.”

Laskey finished the night with 116 yards, which was likewise newsworthy. Only once last season did a B-back have a 100-yard game, this after three seasons in which Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Allen routinely did the deed. As David Sims, last year’s B-back, said last month: “This offense works best when the B-back is having big games, like Jonathan and Anthony did.”

Other good signs: A Tech wide receiver caught a pass — that hadn’t happened against Virginia Tech — and Tevin Washington hit wideout Jeremy Moore on a deep ball. Less good: Two of the three quarterbacks Tech deployed (Washington and Synjyn Days) lost fumbles, and the heralded redshirt freshman Vad Lee’s first collegiate series was blighted by two dropped passes.

It was 24-0 at the half, and it should have been worse. Days’ fumble might easily have been ruled a Tech touchdown — he appeared to break the plane before losing his grip — instead of a Presbyterian recovery and a subsequent 91-yard return. No big deal, though. The Tech defense held the Blue Hose (who actually do wear blue hose) on fourth-and-goal. For the second time in six days, Al Groh’s men looked rather stout.

By the third quarter, nearly everything Tech did looked good. The Jackets scored three touchdowns in the period, the first on Washington’s pass to Robert Godhigh, the second on a Lee sneak, the third on Lee’s 82-yard throw to receiver Jeff Greene. On the quarter’s final snap, Lee nearly broke an 85-yard touchdown run but was tripped at Hose 6.  (As it was, the 79-yard gain was the longest non-scoring rush in Institute annals.) Tech fans have waited long to see if Lee was equal to his hype, and on this night he didn’t disappoint.

Said Lee: “I’m happy to have had the opportunity to make big plays and show my ability.”

Then again, this was only Presbyterian, which has the smallest enrollment (1,200) of any Division 1 program. The schedule toughens next week. Tech plays Virginia, and the Cavaliers dealt the 2011 Jackets their first loss. Then comes Miami, which beat Tech last year, too. By the close of business Sept. 22, the Jackets will already have played three of their five in-division games.

Winning the Coastal Division would have been much easier had Tech held its lead in Blacksburg, but that chance was wasted. Now the Jackets must buckle down and give themselves a chance should Virginia Tech mess up and lose twice to ACC opponents. The schedule isn’t terrible, and much can happen over these next 10 weeks.

Lest Tech doubt, it can find verification 75 miles to the East. This time a year ago, Georgia was 0-2 and had lost at home to South Carolina. But the Bulldogs steadied themselves and ran the regular-season table and watched as the Gamecocks tripped twice. Come December, the Bulldogs were playing for the SEC title. As much as it might pain the Jackets to draw strength from the hated mutts, there are worse role models to be found.

By Mark Bradley

89 comments Add your comment

Mike Lum

September 8th, 2012
10:09 pm

I like what I see from Vad Lee.

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2012
10:15 pm

Vad Lee is the future of this offense!

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2012
10:18 pm

Welll damn, didn’t get the shutout!

GT Girl

September 8th, 2012
10:21 pm

I know! Darn it!

GT Letterwinner

September 8th, 2012
10:22 pm

Coach Johnson had them ready, and played lots of guys. More work to do on passing game, but total offense speaks volumes about how our timing is coming together. Defense is going to be our rock all season.

And with 5 seconds to go, Presbyterian finally accomplishes what they first started trying to do 77 years ago…score against GaTech.

THWG

GT Girl

September 8th, 2012
10:23 pm

Now if the dwags will lose it will be a great night! GO Jackets!

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2012
10:25 pm

206-3 all time score between GT and the Blue Hose ;-)

GT Girl

September 8th, 2012
10:26 pm

Wow! Now if Mizzou can beat the dwags it will be an even better night!

Sting'Em Jackets

September 8th, 2012
10:28 pm

I’m impressed with the D. Don’t know what you can determine from this game except that you played a lot of guys, and you didn’t have any stress. That was needed after a physical opener. Now let’s get payback against Virginia next week.

Ignition

September 8th, 2012
10:29 pm

The Institute won a NC in navy blue jerseys …

clayfield

September 8th, 2012
10:30 pm

I liked the uni’s. Glad to see the team take out some frustrations tonight. Get focused on UVA.

LongBeachJacket

September 8th, 2012
10:30 pm

Good job Jackets! Take’m one a time here on out…. That said. Based on what else I saw today the standard is to finish September 4-1. Less than that would be disappointing. I”m optimistic. Get ready for UVa this week. Should be a tough game. Always is. Go Jackets!

Birmingham Jacket

September 8th, 2012
10:35 pm

bat0894

September 8th, 2012
10:52 pm

Was anyone wearing no. 40 tonight?

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2012
10:54 pm

Hard to get an overall read given the level of competition but a few things stand out. (1) hustle level, when Synjyn “fumbled” in the endzoe and the PC DB went the other way he was chased down, no give up no quit on the play (2) defensive intensity was up through out the enitre game (3) much better blocking by the wide receivers and play side A backs. (4) better O line play. The level of competition is going up and now its up to the coaches and players to raise their level of play as they go forward.

Now on to Vad Lee, his physical tools are impressive. His throw to Jeff Greene was on a line, timely and in rythm. You can see he has good mechanics and footwork. On his long you can his stride and quickness. No question he is very physically gifted. He had some mis reads but more res and film work will take care of that issue. I expect CJ to work him into the lineup more and more over the next few weeks. He is going to be a difference maker and I am excited to see him grow up as Tech’s QB/

For all the despair and naysayers and assorted trolls from this week I say Tech’s going to be okay this seasons and for seasons to come.

Go Jackets! Beat the Wahoos!

Mark Bradley

September 8th, 2012
10:57 pm

Rod Sweeting wore No. 40.

gt40pinhd

September 8th, 2012
10:59 pm

didn’t get the game here on the left coast. glad to hear the result. to bad we had to start against vt. finally, i hope cpj uses vad lee more!

fuzzybee78

September 8th, 2012
11:00 pm

Vad Lee is a big time player but if you watched closely he is still green. Stumbled on execution of several plays. Upside is big no doubt. I see a little of what CPJ is seeing. Still green on the base offense. He will get more time , the future looks bright!

GT97

September 8th, 2012
11:02 pm

You mean there are some bloggers on here tonight actually to some degree bragging about our win! Can’t quiet figure that out.

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2012
11:04 pm

LA Monroe just beat AR in OT LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fuzzybee78

September 8th, 2012
11:05 pm

Lets give the taken for granted senior QB some love— Tevin looked pretty good too, definitely ran well and his passing has improved.

MaconGTFan

September 8th, 2012
11:07 pm

Finally got to see Vad Lee and must say, it was worth the weight. The long pass to Greene was on the money and probably the prettiest pass a Tech QB has thrown in years. Hope he’s starting by the end of the season. And who says Tech can’t win in the blue jerseys.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2012
11:09 pm

fuzzybee you’re right, TW had a prtty solid game and he’s earned the starting job. I am very proud of him as the QB and a quality young man.

Ol'JacketFan

September 8th, 2012
11:12 pm

MB did you see where Otis Brumby passed away? He was such a fixture in Cobb Country and the MDJ, knew him all my life.

lewisbuzzard

September 8th, 2012
11:12 pm

Was at the game and the thing I was impressed by most with Vad was how the team reacted to him. He is going to be super. I heard his post game interview and he is class through and through. Really proud we have him on the flats. Also Laskey is going to be huge at the B back spot for the rest of the season barring injury. Also the D play a lot of kids and there are some fine players waiting in the wings, I know the competition is going to amp up, but I see good things happening with the program. Go Jackets!

MAD BRO

September 8th, 2012
11:21 pm

TW looks “OK” just like always. He just doesn’t have the spark that our team needs to break out onto the next level. Vad is sooo much quicker on his feet. You can see it in the way he moves around the pocket and in his break away speed. I just don’t see the downside to Vad compared to TW.

ylojkt

September 8th, 2012
11:37 pm

Looked good tonight, glad to see the option get back on track. Now go get UVA!

ylojkt

September 8th, 2012
11:59 pm

Hmm, last post didn’t show up. Hope the Jackets put it on UVA next. Good work in todays tune-up, keep the option rolling.
It’s obvious that CPJ has put more work in on the passing game now that the team has gotten capable with the option read and blocking scheme. It’s nice to see some balance in that regard, and Days and Lee looked good as well. Lots of playing time for the bench today, which is a huge positive for the long season. All in all, a good effort and enjoyable to watch, except for the horrid jerseys, wish those things would go right in the trash.
Also MB, any insight into why our field wasn’t painted tonight? Did the weather earlier affect our plans? With the bad jerseys and the unpainted field, it made us look like a high school team.

ylojkt

September 9th, 2012
12:01 am

What’s with the filter tonight, Mark? I post on Jackets blogs all the time, yet two posts don’t even register tonight.

Jeff

September 9th, 2012
12:03 am

Dumb article. Hater.

Bobo

September 9th, 2012
12:07 am

The system definitely worked in this one and will work 7 or 8 more times this season. However, I’m still feeling a bit ‘meh’ with our talent level. Johnson is a great coach, particularly with adjustments. However, a good recruiter he ain’t….and I’m afraid it’s starting to catch up with us. For instance, there are very few (if any) other good D-1 schools where Tevin Washington is a starting caliber QB. After tonight, I’m all for pulling the plug on Washington at the slightest screw-up and handing the keys to the car to either Days or Lee. Both guys, in the long run, will be much better players. Laskey is looking pretty good, but we’ve got to get Orwin Smith going. In all seriousness, we don’t really have a good running back….just a bunch of okay players….which are what 2 and 3 star recruits turn out to be. As much as Gailey sucked at X’s and O’s, at least he pulled in NFL backs. PJ needs to think about hiring a recruiting coordinator and paying him top dollar.

Bobo

September 9th, 2012
12:08 am

Enter your comments here

THWGT

September 9th, 2012
12:08 am

Wow…what channel was the game on? I couldn’t find it…

Ol'JacketFan

September 9th, 2012
12:12 am

I see some folks are quite challenged with their lack of techical skills LOL!

macaac

September 9th, 2012
12:25 am

who the hell is presbyterian?

Mama Says

September 9th, 2012
12:44 am

Love it when the Mutts get on theTech blogs and dog our opponents. Makes me wonder if they remember playing Buffalo last week or if they know they play Fla. Atlantic next week.

Dumb dogs, just slobber and bark

Athens Campus Ninja

September 9th, 2012
12:54 am

Your right,Mama Says. Duke beat FIU by 20 last week. If we don’t at least equal that margin, it means we’re not as good as the Dookies.

Ol'JacketFan

September 9th, 2012
12:59 am

Hmmmm FIU vs FL Atlantic? I thought they were 2 separate schools?

GT1990

September 9th, 2012
1:52 am

@ Mark Bradley

I am happy that GT is using the blue a little more this year in their unis. You seem to be aganist the blue. Why is that?

Mark Bradley's assignment was go watch Georgie tek ?

September 9th, 2012
1:55 am

Nice assignment there Mark Bradley.

deano45

September 9th, 2012
3:18 am

Fire A-Cup he is not a pee wee coach. So let start the process of finding a real coach and send A-cup back to middle school.

SlimG

September 9th, 2012
3:38 am

I’m back…….Let’s start with a few things nobody wants to address. Last week at VT the great CPJ called a timeout before half with the opponent taking a knee. That’s class I tell ya…..and then taking the second half kickoff and moving the ball to midfield then the offense stalls. Why go for it? If that’s your strategy, why defer to the second half. Take the ball after winning the coin toss. Had a chance to flip the field and declined…….Not smart
When are we gonna get tired of bush league, smarta$$ antics and go back to pro style football and players. Chan wasn’t given this luxury……

Jack Bobeck

September 9th, 2012
5:38 am

Beating cream puffs is one thing, let’s see this effort in November, where Tech has lost its way the last few years. Beat UGA!

dc74

September 9th, 2012
5:59 am

The program Johnson has built wins 6 games a year and can’t win a bowl game.

Cutlass81

September 9th, 2012
6:09 am

I don’t care what anyone says. The jerseys reminded me of a retro looking jersey style with nice touches and looked good. If we have to wear a color, the light gold from the past 2 years doesn’t stand out well enough against white jerseys. The gold from the Gailey era was meh, and don’t even get me started on the mustard colored abominations. Most of our merchandise uses the navy blue anyways and the student body likes the color. Let the Alums who can afford to travel have their white and gold. They can keep their post Dodd years as well.

Cutlass81

September 9th, 2012
6:13 am

Slim. Chan never won an ACC title (the game was played. We beat Clemson not once but twice. Hang the NCAA and their horse crap rulings. Paul also hasn’t given us boring same day different s*** uninspired football like Chan did. When you got 7-4 every year of your tenure… there is a problem. He also lost to UGA for 7 straight years and never one a bowl game. He was given so much luxury. A QB could walk into his office and he’d be none the wiser. Oh wait, one did. His name was Troy Aikman. Perhaps you heard of him? Chan finished his career.

SlimG

September 9th, 2012
6:24 am

81. get your head out of the sand….CPJ only won his first year with chan’s players. Look at the talent or lack there of now. No pros on the team.

Cutlass81

September 9th, 2012
6:57 am

Slim, grow a pair and stop crying. Man has been there how many years? He needed time to find the tools he needed to build the program. The defense is finally in place a year ahead of Groh’s worst case scenario and the offense only real lack is a reliable QB which we may have. As for giving chan’s players credit, PJ had to fit players to the system. Lineman recruited for pro are pretty terrible for option football. Last 2 years showed the rebuilding needed. The first one for Al Groh and the next one to replace the loss of Nesbitt and pro talent. If all you have is your head stuck in the clouds, you can go join the Notre Dame fans. Dynasties are built. You aren’t good just cause your program is storied. Your program is storied, because you made it good.

HAL

September 9th, 2012
7:18 am

The difference this week over last is the talent level. If Tech had half the quality players UGA recruits what you saw last night would have been what you would have seen last week against VT. Until recruits understand that this offense with a high talent level is unstoppable and that if your really good the NFL will indeed find you,Tech will continue to struggle against top 25 opponents.