I’ve given myself 24 hours to chew on this one…a personal rule that I apply after tough losses.
Can’t lay this one on Scott Blair and the missed PAT.
Blair didn’t choose to go for it on 4th and two on the UGA 19 yard line. We have to kick the FG there, take the points, and kicked off to UGA again.
Blair didn’t fumble the ball on the UGA five yard line after the defense stopped UGA three and out and GT got the ball at midfield. Score should have been 10-0 at that point…but it wasn’t…it was still 0-0.
Blair didn’t fumble the ball on the UGA 13 yard line after special teams forced a turnover and gave the offense the ball on the UGA 34. It was 21-21 at that point and GT squandered the chance to make it at least 24-21 while taking the lead.
Blair didn’t pitch the most costly fumble to an a-back that was about to get plastered. UGA picked that one up and returned it 18 yards for a TD and the ultimate margin of victory.
Sure…Blair missed a routine PAT attempt after Tech valiantly fought through all the other errors and managed to push UGA to the wall.
But this was a team loss…offense putting the ball on the ground, defense giving up big plays on the ground and the air, and special teams missing the opportunity to tie things up.
Richt Knows He Escaped With This One
With the exception of Johnson’s decision to go for it early on the UGA 19, I thought he flat out schooled the UGA coaches in most phases of the game.
He made Grantham look foolish by running up 512 yards of offense (92 plays, 32 first downs, 411 rushing yards, and 7 of 12 on third down conversions). And he did it all with his second string quarterback…
He made Richt look foolish late in the game when he told the GT defense to let UGA score. I’d already told my wife that UGA could just kneel the ball a few times and run out the clock. We had no way to stop it. But Richt decided to run a play without telling his offense to stay in bounds and keep the clock running no matter what. When Ealy rumbled into the endzone I was astonished…UGA had just done the ONLY thing possible to keep GT in the game.
And lets not forget Richt’s decision to go for it on 4th and 1 at the GT 23…up by a point, why not kick the FG and make the lead four rather than a single point. He basically gave the Jackets the ball back, close enough to win with a FG, with 2:53 on the clock. Tech stalled on offense but that decision smelled distinctly similar to a decision Jim Donnan once made…
Make no mistake…the Jackets were a better coached football team overall. Paul Johnson did more with his resources than Mark Richt did.
Johnson’s Scheme Vindicated
This game should put to bed all the talk of Johnson relying on Gailey’s recruits to win and the fact that Tech will slide into oblivion once Joshua Nesbitt leaves. Tevin Washington is one of Johnson’s recruits and he ran the offense extremely well under very tough circumstances. He never faltered, despite the fumbles and bad breaks, and he brought the Jackets back from deficits twice.
Tech fans are excited about the upcoming 2011 QB competition as Washington will be pushed by a handful of athletic Paul Johnson QB recruits.
All Bowls Are Good
There is no such thing as a bad bowl. They all provide a reward for the players, a chance for the fans to watch more football, and extra practices for the development of young players.
This is especially true in Tech’s case.
Washington will benefit from the extra work and with a little luck, we’ll see Nesbitt get some snaps if he’s healthy in late December.