This post is an adjunct to the Georgia Tech column off today’s game, which can be found here.
1. Paul Johnson’s first tactical error came before the game began. Georgia Tech won the coin toss and chose to defer its choice until the second half. This is, we must note, standard coaching procedure. But this was not a standard game. The Yellow Jackets’ only hope rested on their offense and its capacity to steal an early lead and then play keep-away. Instead Johnson chose to put his special teams and his defense on the field first. Malcolm Mitchell returned the kickoff past midfield. Georgia led 7-0 after 63 seconds. When finally Tech exercised its option at the start of the third quarter, it trailed 28-3. Asked about his decision to defer, Johnson said: “Pick your half. They’re going to get it sometime.”
2. Time of possession can be the world’s most misleading statistic. The Jackets held the ball for 21 minutes and 22 seconds of the first half but were outscored by 25 points. The Jackets’ offense did not punt in the first half; neither did it score a touchdown. It mustered 238 first-half yards, which is pretty darn good, but only three points, which was deficient to requirements on a day when Georgia was scoring four touchdowns in five first-half tries. A fumble — actually Bacarri Rambo’s snatch of the ball from Robert Godhigh — defused Tech’s first drive, and an intercepted Vad Lee pass snuffed the third. The half ended, fittingly, with a missed field goal.
3. There were surely fewer visiting fans on hand Saturday than for any Tech-Georgia game since … maybe ever. It was a source of great Bulldog glee that the Jackets returned nearly one-quarter of their allotment of 8,000 tickets, and apparently more than a few of those seats sold by Tech fell into enemy hands. Not counting the Tech band, there couldn’t have been 2,000 folks wearing gold in Sanford Stadium at the opening kickoff. It’s possible some Tech backers came incognito. If so, they made a wise decision.
By Mark Bradley