Tech is bound for a bowl, and maybe for the ACC title game

They're Ramblin' Wrecks from Georgia Tech, and they're happy. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

They're Ramblin' Wrecks from Georgia Tech, and they're rather happy. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

A season going wrong has started to see almost everything go right. Georgia Tech can do no worse than tie for the Coastal Division title, and it mightn’t have to share. “We still have all our goals on the board,” quarterback Tevin Washington said Saturday, and if you don’t count winning the national championship, he’s absolutely correct.

Tech can play for the ACC title on Dec. 1 if Miami loses at Duke next week or if the Hurricanes, owing to pending NCAA sanctions, recuse themselves from postseason play. Even if Tech doesn’t land in the conference championship game, it knows now it will grace some brand of bowl. Six weeks ago, none of this was a certainty. Six weeks ago, these Yellow Jackets could have been staring at 4-8.

But now, having beaten Duke 42-24 on Saturday, they’re above .500 for the first time since Sept. 22, and they’re headed for Athens next week on what you’d have to call a high. It would be a massive upset if the Jackets unhorsed mighty Georgia in Sanford Stadium, but it’s something of a upset that this team is bowl-eligible.

“The way the season started, everyone wrote us off,” coach Paul Johnson said. “I’m proud of these guys.”

This isn’t the best Tech team Johnson has had, but it’s the only one that began a season 2-4 and saw its defensive coordinator canned at the midpoint. It’s hard to know exactly how much the Jackets have improved since that stumbling start — the schedule has softened, which never hurts — but it’s clear they haven’t quit on their coach or themselves. In mid-October, nobody knew if a reeling Tech would stand up or fall flat.

“Things just kind of worked out for us,” said Washington, a senior who played his final game at Bobby Dodd Stadium, passing for three touchdowns and running for a fourth.

Said Ray Beno, an offensive tackle who made the game’s biggest reception (!!!): “The first half of the season, things didn’t go our way.”

Thus has been Tech football 2012. Nothing went right at the start — overtime losses to Coastal Division opposition, the egregious non-performance against Middle Tennessee — but a new wind seems to have positioned itself at the Jackets’ back. It’s true what they say about luck being the residue of design, but sometimes luck is so flat-out hilarious that it can only be described as … luck.

Back to Beno: On third-and-8 on the opening series of a second half of a game that hadn’t (and wouldn’t) see many punts, the left tackle was supposed to block Duke’s right cornerback. Alas, Beno failed to reach his target. “A missed assignment on my part,” he would say.

With nothing else to do, Beno drifted into the flat, where Washington’s pass arrived high and bounced off wideout Chris Jackson. Whereupon Beno seized the carom and tucked the ball under his arm and ran, miracle of miracles, in the proper direction. (Students of Tech lore will know this isn’t always a given. Playing against the Jackets in the 1929 Rose Bowl, a California center named Roy Riegels gathered up a fumble and ran 69 yards the wrong way.)

Said Beno, who allowed that he had never carried the ball in a game in his life: “Either way, I was going to some end zone.”

Ray “Right Way” Beno not only got his bearings, but gained the requisite yardage for a fairly essential first down. Duly energized, Tech would score the touchdown that built, for the first time all day, a double-digit lead. “It was huge,” Johnson said, speaking of Beno’s conversion. “Sometimes you need something like that.”

Let’s not go crazy here. Being 6-5 and alone atop, if only for the moment, the ACC Coastal isn’t to be confused with winning the SEC West. Even Johnson conceded as much. “Did the season turn out the way we wanted?” he said. “Not to this point.”

But credit this coach and these Jackets for keeping at it when it wasn’t clear that keeping at it would yield much of anything. “It’s not in my nature to give up,” Johnson said, and apparently it’s not in these players’ nature, either.

The guess here is that perseverance will have a reward. The guess here is that, if it ties Tech for first, Miami will indeed step aside and leave the Coastal Division title to the Jackets. And who’s to say that wouldn’t be the right result? Who’s to say, as of late November, Georgia Tech isn’t the best of a motley Coastal crew?

Nobody will be picking Tech to win in Athens, or in Charlotte against Florida State if it comes to that, or maybe even in the Orange Bowl. So what? As Johnson said, speaking of bowls: “Our goal coming into this season was to win a bowl, and you’ve got to get into one to win one.”

Six weeks ago, Tech was going nowhere. Today the Jackets know they’ll have somewhere to go beyond Athens, and possibly somewhere very nice.

Further reading: Tevin says farewell, Tech plays D and Johnson warns Miami.

By Mark Bradley

123 comments Add your comment

mmgtfan

November 17th, 2012
8:44 pm

fazemike

November 17th, 2012
8:44 pm

first! Tech SuX

fazemike

November 17th, 2012
8:44 pm

first! Tech SuX

GT Newnan

November 17th, 2012
8:46 pm

Proud of the seniors on their day, especially Tevin. Hope we show up with passion in Athens next week at the track meet.

Frist!

November 17th, 2012
8:48 pm

ref

November 17th, 2012
8:50 pm

how long can miami wait to declare what they will do? what a sham the NCAA is – letting UM even have a say in the matter is laughable. it sounds like the tail is wagging the dog here.

BeauvighnBeauvighnBeauvighn

November 17th, 2012
8:51 pm

You can bite it Bark Madley. You have been hating Tech all season so don’t jump back on the bandwagon now. Why don’t you go see if Richt needs you to clean out his garage or something

ref

November 17th, 2012
8:52 pm

PS the camouflage looks dumb and the whole “lets honor the military” with stupid uniforms is played out and looks comical. I dont see it as honoring anything. just selling more gear for nike, adidas, russell, and under armour.

GFF

November 17th, 2012
8:53 pm

ACC is a joke! Has Coach Doubtfire won a bowl while at Tech?

jo

November 17th, 2012
8:55 pm

Gutsy performance by Tech. I bet the puppies will be in for more of a game than they wanted. They only pulled away from gso today after a few suspect calls. Watch Tech pile up at least 35points next week so the mutts had better be ready to play Offense.

Arno

November 17th, 2012
8:55 pm

The next Ron Howard movie: Ray “Right Way” Beno springs Tech to the ACC championship. Seriously–congrats to the team that kept pushing.

DDPO

November 17th, 2012
8:56 pm

If Tech loses their next two games, they will finish 6-7.

Will they go a bowl if they have a losing record?

xx

November 17th, 2012
8:56 pm

GFF is fazemike’s cholo.

Max Sizemore

November 17th, 2012
9:03 pm

A 6-8 finish is the most likely. Would Tech fans be happy with that?

Mark Bradley

November 17th, 2012
9:04 pm

Yes, they will go to a bowl at 6-7. UCLA did it last season after losing in the Pac-12 title game.

Mark Bradley

November 17th, 2012
9:05 pm

Kudos, mmgtfan.

spider

November 17th, 2012
9:14 pm

uga qb will throw for at least 500 yards next week, tech pass defense is pathetic.

ramblingbuzz

November 17th, 2012
9:14 pm

Crazy things can happen on a football field. Like Beno catching a deflection and making a first down. Or GT beating UGA next week. Not likely but who knows?

Dog kicker

November 17th, 2012
9:26 pm

Play the game. The high school “O” will score some points on Ga’s “D” the game will be won or lost based on if the Jackets “D” can slow Ga’s “O” down

Skeptic

November 17th, 2012
9:27 pm

I’m a helluva engineer.

And, I dig the camo wraps in the picture. When I was there, Tech had the biggest ROTC operation in the state. Even UGA sent students there for some satellite military classes.

Like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear!!!! (as long as there’s come Coke-cola in there)

GOTTA BELIEVE

November 17th, 2012
9:29 pm

last time GT won at Athens in 08 UGA was preranked no 1. Now at no. 5 or higher, this is going to be the same atmosphere. The Jackets made a comeback of a season and can make a comeback of a game once again between the hedges. Look out……………………….

Skeptic

November 17th, 2012
9:34 pm

I drink my whiskey clear because I make it myself!!!! Top that, boys!! Revenuer take note. You’ll never find me.

yeller bug

November 17th, 2012
9:42 pm

Fazemike–a double squared mistake–if you understand the math.

No way spider—Murray will not even top 400 yds passing. 398 yds?–yeah, that’s possible.

Hey, kept the bowl eligible streak going and maybe we stumble across the finish line in first place in the coastal. Now, try to come up with some trick plays, devious schemes and whatever CPJ can concoct to pull a season-saving upset next week.

Skeptic

November 17th, 2012
9:43 pm

UGA coat-tail trolls

I got some Bourbon County, GA land, close to Yazoo river to sell cheap. Like you mentioned, you and your roommate can take it in the rear way on out yonder. $100/acre

ylojkt

November 17th, 2012
9:46 pm

Vad and Tevin in rotation against the mutts? I’m loving it. I watched the first half of the mutts game today before the Tech game started. GSU should have been up 14 -10 at the half and was giving the dwags as much as they could handle. I suspect more tomfoolery like the cut block called that kept GSU from having first and goal at the 2 is what happened in the second half. Don’t know though, I was watching the Jackets play some good football during the rest of that game.
Tevin gave the mutts a lot to consider today with his passing. Bet their coaches are shaking their heads trying to get this one defended with a short week of practice.

Jacket Man

November 17th, 2012
9:55 pm

Mark, it looks like you need to seriously screen some of these comments and ban some of these offensive posters. This is going well beyond just baiting each other now, it’s racist and gay bashing.

collegeballfan

November 17th, 2012
9:58 pm

If the GT OL can block UGA they have a chance to score enough points to win the game. If not, they will not.

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 17th, 2012
9:59 pm

Doubt the pups will be able to keep up.

Skeptic

November 17th, 2012
10:00 pm

Terrorist Roommate

Did an IP search and it came up Forsyth Co, GA–Samples, Junior.

Damn, son, I thought you was dead. I love Liberty Overalls, that’s my brand. Spit bottle fits right in the bib pocket.

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

dawgfan

November 17th, 2012
10:04 pm

Awwwww…..this is so cute. Techies are really excited about their 6-5 record. Congrats on the big year Techies!!!! You should make rings.

And here comes all the tough talk about UGA after a big win over…wait for it….DUKE. Oh dear Techies. When will you ever learn?

Georgia Tech=JOKE

NativeAtlantan

November 17th, 2012
10:04 pm

Mark – we’ve heard about the possibility of UMs self imposed bowl ban for a few weeks now. But I haven’t seenu toon of any kind of deadline. If they do indeed beat Duke, would they announce Saturday? Tech, or any team in that position, deserves to know ASAP if they are playing in CLT right?

Paul in NH

November 17th, 2012
10:07 pm

I am impressed how the team didn’t quit on the season.

Skeptic

November 17th, 2012
10:08 pm

Jacket Man

Lighten up. You’re commenting on a newspaper website that covers a lot of the state of GA. I don’t expect to see people wearing camo and dipping Skoal in your locale; don’t demand Poulley Fuissee sippers and Austin-mini drivers in mine

Skeptic

November 17th, 2012
10:11 pm

dawgfan

get back to work. fan a dawg

Weirder things have happened

November 17th, 2012
10:16 pm

It wasn’t that long ago that a 5-6 team went into a top 7 opponents stadium and won….so anything could happen, and maybe Tech will surprise?

Mark Bradley

November 17th, 2012
10:33 pm

I believe we will know Miami’s decision in the next 48 hours.

Buzzzed

November 17th, 2012
10:38 pm

Miami is expected to announce tomorrow, if they do at all, as they are now bowl eligible.

Paul in NH

November 17th, 2012
10:47 pm

You can’t self-impose a bowl ban until you are bowl eligible. Miami only became eligible with today’s win over USF. I think they owe it to their players to go for the ACC title. Then again, the current players are the last people that anyone worries about in CFB.

Drexel Gal

November 17th, 2012
10:56 pm

It would be fitting for the Jackets to go to the ACC championship game and Dan Rada-Moron at Clemson can’t.

Clem13

November 17th, 2012
11:00 pm

Ga Tech has played so poorly and represented the ACC so poorly that they should not accept any bowl game this year. Ga Tech usually gets blown out in their bowl game anyway.

Bill

November 17th, 2012
11:17 pm

Clem13..lol..man you play. never quit anything can happen.

UGA OWNS gtu

November 17th, 2012
11:17 pm

We OWN gtu… always have, always will.

BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA

Jefferson Davis Hogg

November 17th, 2012
11:17 pm

Anyone watching KSU and Baylor? Wow!. Congrats GT on your victory and turning around your season. You have got a little momentum now going into Athens next week. As for my Dawgs, I thought they handled the TO very well when all was said and done and this is not a dig but I thought GSU was probably better than GT. They are a physical squad. One thing for sure is that CPJ will attempt to throw the ball more on UGA than GSU did today. Both teams after today will know what adjustments to make for each other. Interesting chess match. I look for a closer than expected game for GT will get their yards. Turnovers will be critical. Go Dawgs!

Jefferson Davis Hogg

November 17th, 2012
11:18 pm

Oh, and now Oregon and Stanford tied up late!

Seriously

November 17th, 2012
11:19 pm

It was clear that Tevin cannot get the 1 or 2 hard yards when it matters against big bodies and UGA will stack the box and make him pay. Unless CPJ plays Vad the entire game, I don’t see GT hanging with them after the 2nd quarter. TW is just too small and his arm is HORRIBLE. He almost threw a pick 6 if it wasn’t for Beano Cook bailing him out. He overthrew Lasky by a country mile.

I realize I’m probably sounding like a d-ck for not giving TW credit when credit is due but I’m also not going to be one of these optimistic fans who think he can actually beat UGA with his size, speed and arm strength. Please play Vad if you want any shot at beating the Mutts.

GT Girl

November 17th, 2012
11:20 pm

Lots of trolls on this blog tonight. Dwags need to go back to their kennels. I BEE-lieve! What a great day for Tev, Orwin and the rest of our seniors. Go Jackets! THWG!!!

wreckbone

November 17th, 2012
11:22 pm

Kind of funny Clemson fan talking about bowl blow outs after your last year smack down.

Jefferson Davis Hogg

November 17th, 2012
11:23 pm

I don’t think Stanford can survive an overtime with the Duck’s

St Richt

November 17th, 2012
11:26 pm

Seriously I agree with you 100%! Vad Lee is our only hope against Georgia. And tevin would have never scored on that 4th down play against duke today in the first half. It’s the extra yard from tevin we have been missing in all our close losses this year. Vad is the future and the future is now.