After last season’s upset loss in Lawrence, Kansas Coach Paul Johnson upheld nature’s law of lightning not striking twice by not only dismantling the Jayhawks, but for good measure setting an NCAA rushing record in the process. So now Kansas is going to be carried into the record books of college football as the Yellow Jackets averaged over twelve yards per rushing attempt on their way to piling up 768 yards of total offense on only 54 successful plays this past Saturday at BDS. They rushed for 604 yards to set an NCAA record of 12.1 yards per rushing attempt and the 768 total yards also set a GT record. Just a great effort by the entire team and coaching staff this game who are really showing the success that can be achieved through all of their collective hard work.
Considering that the compassionate Paul Johnson emptied his entire bench halfway through the 4th quarter, this offensive performance is quite impressive. The Yellow Jackets opening offensive possession of the game was A-Back Orwin Smith going 95 yards on a counter option for a touchdown and an instant 7 to 0 lead. The blocking was outstanding on that play as it was all day long, but the downfield blocking by the wide receivers was especially impressive. However, the Jayhawks answered back with a very nice 11 play 72 yard drive for a score of their own to knot up the game at 7 apiece.
Then on Georgia Tech’s next possession, a very aggressive defensive play by the Kansas safety set the tone for their demise the rest of the game. On a second down and 3 yards to go at the Jayhawks 29 yard line they successfully blitzed Tevin Washington resulting in a sack for an 11 yard loss. After an incomplete pass on the next play from the 40 yard line, Georgia Tech was forced to punt the ball. However mired deep in the aftermath of that safety blitz the Jayhawks did nothing more than to paint themselves into a corner with Coach Paul Johnson preparing to make them pay longer term for their decision to play aggressively with their safeties as he filed that one away for later use in this contest.
By not even trying to disguise their safeties alignment as they were both cheated up tight and playing at linebacker depth in order to provide run support against the triple option, they exposed a weakness to Coach Paul Johnson who is always strategizing how and where to attack next throughout the course of the football game. As soon as I saw that successful blitz, coupled with the Jayhawks continuous defensive lineup of basically playing 9 men in the box, it was only a matter of time before they paid the price for trying to thwart the triple option near the line of scrimmage. The remainder of the half was a back and forth scoring sequence as Tevin Washington missed on his next three pass attempts.
After kicking a field goal for the very first time this season to take a 24 to 14 lead and put a little bit of separation between us and the Jayhawks heading into halftime, we experienced another one of those; loss of focus and gave up 15 yards on a facemask penalty, followed up with a long 42 yard pass completion down the side line and now Kansas was down on our 16 yard line with two seconds remaining in the half. They kick a field that goes wide left but the Yellow Jackets are called for a running into the kicker penalty and on their second attempt five yards closer the Jayhawks cut the lead to 24 to 17 entering the locker room.
It was a good thing that Georgia Tech invited a bunch of high school bands to perform at BDS for this game, as I imagine the supplemental musicians certainly helped to drown out an intense half time address by Paul Johnson to his team as he did not looked very pleased with the way the Yellow Jackets closed out the second quarter. Georgia Tech received the opening kickoff of the second half and Orwin Smith had a very nice 29 yard return out to the 37 yard line but had to come off briefly for some rest as he crisscrossed the field during his return to benefit from some nice blocking by his teammates to open the third quarter.
No sooner did the offense snap the football with Tevin Washington running a toss sweep to the right side of the formation with Orwin’s replacement, Embry Peeples, taking advantage of some more outstanding blocking from the offensive line and wide receivers as he blazed down the sideline untouched 63 yards for a touchdown making the score 31 to 17. Next then the defense came out and stopped the Jayhawks on their first possession of the second half, and were really flying to the football as the crowd in BDS was making some noise and the team was feeding off of that enthusiasm. After forcing another Jayhawk punt (the defense forced “7” punts this game), the Yellow Jackets run a few plays and now have a first down on their own 33 yard line after getting penalized for a false start.
The next play from scrimmage Tevin Washington drops back and throws a pass right down the seam to Orwin Smith who catches it in stride for a 67 yard touchdown widening the Yellow Jacket lead to 38 to 17. The Kansas safety was nowhere to be found as he was watching from somewhere in the vicinity of the line of scrimmage leaving a void in the secondary allowing Orwin to score. Paul Johnson was just waiting for the right time to call this play ever since that quarterback sack on Tevin in the first half.
BDS was really rocking after this touchdown and when Justin Moore came on to kick off he boomed one into the end zone for a touchback and the Jayhawks had to start their next drive on the 20 yard line. I cannot remember the last time we had a kick off reach the end zone for a touchback. Great job Justin! Kansas manages to get a couple of first downs but the defense is really flying around making tackles and hold them to a 7 yard gain on a third down and 9 near midfield. Not wanting to give the football back to the Georgia Tech offense, Kansas goes for it on 4th down and 2 but the defense rises up and stops them short. The crowd at BDS is now in a pitched frenzy with the effort by the defense stuffing the Jayhawks on their side of the field at the 48 yard line.
The first play from scrimmage was an instant replay of the prior score only this time Tevin throws another spiral to Roddy Jones who takes it 52 yards for another touchdown with no Kansas safety in the same area code pushing the lead out to 45 to 17 with still almost 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. The defense is just playing fantastic and forces another punt! Tevin leads the offense on a 70+ yard drive mostly on the ground as the offensive line is just rolling and blocking anything moving and wearing a blue jersey. B-Back David Sims runs it right up the middle going 21 yards through the Jayhawk defense and now Georgia Tech has opened a 52 to 17 lead and the game has now officially become a rout!
Tevin Washington was 4 for 4 in the second half for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns. Paul Johnson played quarterback Synjyn Days the rest of the game, as well as a new compliment of offensive linemen and skilled position players who still managed to score 2 more touchdowns bumping the lead up to 66 to 17 before he put in all freshman and cleared the bench on both sides of the football. The Jayhawks scored a meaningless touchdown against the backup players to close out the scoring for the remainder of the afternoon.
It was a tremendous effort by Georgia Tech who now head into their ACC schedule next Saturday against the North Carolina Tar Heels at BDS. Hopefully we can have another great crowd to cheer on the Yellow Jackets who have shown that all of the experts were clearly off the mark in their pre-season assessments of this team. It’s time to get the first conference win this week and keep the momentum going after a very good start to the 2011 season. Go Jackets!