The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets get it done in the 4th quarter to defeat North Carolina

This opening ACC Coastal Division game against North Carolina at BDS was going to determine for the first time how this Yellow Jacket team was going to respond facing highly recruited athletes on both sides of the football, especially in the trenches.  The triple option was working once again and the few times that it did bog down was due to Georgia Tech turning the ball over on an unforced fumble at the ten yard line, and Tevin Washington’s first interception of the season, it was pretty efficient.  Other than those two turnovers, the offense was moving the ball well against the stout defensive front line of the Tar Heels. 

Credit the guys up front, also known as the “Goon Squad” for going toe to toe all day with some future NFL defensive linemen and coming out the victors as they rushed for 300+ on the ground and nearly 500 yards in total offense for the game while also providing outstanding pass protection for Tevin Washington who was given plenty of time to find his receivers going 10 for 14 without getting sacked.  In addition, the blocking by WR’s Stephen Hill and Tyler Melton was outstanding once again in this game.  On the two yard Roddy Jones touchdown just before the half, Tyler Melton lined up as the smallest TE in the NCAA and blocked two Tar Heels on the play helping Roddy get into the end zone.  He only caught two passes all afternoon, but that type of team contribution by blocking on the perimeter shows up in the film room on Monday if not the final box score.

After the Tar Heels took the opening kickoff and went 67 yards for a touchdown, Al Groh held them to 22 yards the rest of the first half.  The defense played very well for the day getting two interceptions and more importantly, seven sacks against a Tar Heel NFL sized offensive line that must be the biggest in the entire NCAA.  Their smallest lineman went about 315 Lbs. going all the way up to 340+.  The entire Yellow Jacket defensive front 7 did more than just hold their own all day they made big plays when the team needed them the most. 

The defense played with great effort the entire afternoon and but for a couple of missed tackles on the 55 yard TD run by Giovani Bernard in the 4th quarter, the Tar Heels gained a total of 128 yards for the entire game.  Considering the tremendous size advantage North Carolina had up front in this contest, that number is very impressive.  NT Logan Walls was standing his ground all day in the middle of the line enabling our linebackers to aggressively pursue to the football unblocked all afternoon.  Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaouch had nine tackles and three QB sacks while he was beating a couple of 6′ 7″ 325+ Lbs. offensive tackles in the process.  That is how this 3/4 defense works best when the down 3 linemen are keeping the offensive linemen tied up on the line of scrimmage and allowing our linebackers to make plays from all over the field in the backfield.

With all of the outstanding personnel that North Carolina has on their team, you just knew at some point they were going to make this a game.  Which they did eventually tying up the contest at 28 with about seven minutes left in the 4th quarter.  This is where the Yellow Jackets showed what they are made of this season as they didn’t panic and proceeded to execute a four play 61 yard drive for a touchdown that only took a little over two minutes.  The big play of the drive was Roddy Jones on a toss sweep around the left side for a 48 yard gain down to the Tar Heel 9 yard line.  Tevin Washington took it in for a touchdown a few plays later untouched on a midline option in the A gap and a 35 to 28 lead with about 5 minutes remaining in the game.

Now it was time for the defense to step up and stop North Carolina to seal the victory.  In the past few seasons these types of situations evolved into a game of whoever has the ball last will win as the Yellow Jackets were unable to get a stop when needed and always depended on the offense to come through with the final score.  This was a statement stand for the Georgia Tech 3/4 defense and Al Groh to get it done against a good offense in crunch time and seal the victory against the Tar Heels.  After giving up a first down the defense came through with back to back quarterback sacks and forced a punt with about three minutes left in the game.

The Georgia Tech offense got a first down, but the Tar Heels had most of their time outs on the board and were able to hold the Yellow Jackets and got the ball back after a punt on their 16 yard line with about 1:32 remaining on the clock.  Now in the past that would have been a game probably headed to OT, so now the defense was asked to once again step up and stop the Tar Heels one more time for the win.  After a QB sack on second down the Tar Heels completed a 24 yard pass and had a first down on their 41 yard line. 

After a completed pass for 8 yards, another QB sack this time by Jeremiah Attaochu (3rd for the day) left the Tar Heels with one more play as the clock ran down to nine seconds left in the game.  North Carolina was called for an illegal shift due in large part to the tremendous NOISE that was being generated by the loyal fans at BDS, and with the new NCAA runoff rule in effect this season, the Yellow Jackets opted for the ten seconds to be run off the clock and that ended the game with a hard fought 35 to 28 ACC opening game win for the Yellow Jackets.

This was the first time in recent memory that the offense had to trust the defense to protect a lead not only once, but twice inside of five minutes left in the game and the 3/4 defense came through both times with QB sacks to help seal this win for the TEAM!  The special teams came out huge in the first half with true freshman WR Darren Waller partially blocking a punt and a heads up play by another true freshman safety/WR Corey Dennis picking up the ball after a bounce and ran it forward another 7 yards. 

The play of Stephen Hill catching 6 passes for 151 yards with an incredible 1 handed leaping grab near the sideline to keep a drive going was another impressive performance this early in the season.  What he has really been doing well along with Tyler Melton on the edge this season is getting after defensive backs with tremendous blocking.  So nothing more needs to be said about a single play given his outstanding effort in this game and this season as he is really coming into his own as a standout player.  

 Time to get ready for the first ACC road game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack after playing last Thursday at Cincinnati now has extra time to prepare for Georgia Tech.  As Paul Johnson likes to say; “you need to win this game to make the next one a big game.”  So far so good, but it does look like this Georgia Tech squad is starting to trust each other by getting it done on both sides of the ball in crunch time, and that’s the first step in becoming a TEAM!  Go Jackets!

 

 

 

 

  • Anonymous

    Michael,

    As always, a great summary of the game.  I didn’t get to watch this week due to other family commitments, so I was living for the text message updates from my son (who was at the game).  As you so correctly said, a win is a win — they now have to take the lessons learned in this game and not commit the same mistakes against NC State.  As long as they focus on games one-at-a-time and don’t ‘look past’ any one of their opponents, they have the abillity to play with anyone.

    Go Jackets!

    • Michaelgoldfeder

      Hi Jackets Dad,

      The lessons learned from last season should be more than enough to keep this team focused on the next opponent, and only the next opponent.  The team really came through in this game as plays were made by the offense, defense, and special teams. Moving forward they have room to improve as does every team, but this win was very important as they had to struggle after not being able to put the Tar Heels away due to a lack of focus.  A good lesson to take from this win moving forward to NC State.

  • Scott

    Sorry guys, but I am not sold on this team.  The defense didn’t look great in the 2nd half and had to make big stops to win the game.  Also, very very suspect play calling in this game.  I was calling for passes much earlier on and finally we started throwing the rock.  Way too many conversions and big plays for UNC.  VT’s running game will be all over us!

    • Michaelgoldfeder

      Hi Scott,

      Welcome to isportsweb.  A win is a win.  I remember Alabama’s NC team in 2009 had to block 2 field goals by a pretty pathetic Tennessee team on the last plays of their game to win an ugly one 12 to 10.  As far as Va Tech is going to run all over our defense, they will have their chance in November at BDS.  Based on what CPJ and the triple option have done against Beamer the last 3 seasons, I’m going with Tech in that game.  As far as passing, other than the Hill miscue which would have ended the game, the passing game was working quite well.

      Another example is Clemson taking apart FSU after having to struggle with Wofford at Death Valley a few weeks earlier.  Every game is an adventure but as long as you have more points than your opponent at the end of the game, that is all that matters.  When North Carolina and Va Tech go at it, I see the Tar Heels winning that game.  North Carolina is a very talented team and will be right there at the end of the season with Georgia Tech.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-A-Casino-Jr/811252430 William A Casino Jr

    Well analyzed Mike. The crowd noise factored into many oopses on North Carolina’s part, and I was proud of the fans Saturday for stepping up to help! The D is looking better all of the time, but I hope Groh can shore up some of the issues over the next three games – the gauntlet is coming (Miami, Clemson, VT) and we need to be defensively stout to weather that storm. The TO is cruizing along just fine. I’m proud of the gang. We still have major issues with ST’s – when is CPJ going to deal with the 900 lb elephant in the room????

    Ranked 21 in AP this week. I think we made our statement. I’ll be in Raleigh next Saturday, and I’m feeling that we go 7-0 by Miami. OK Jackets, here we go!

    GO JACKETS! THWG!

    • Michaelgoldfeder

      Hi Gt Nuke,

      It was quite a game and just a pleasure to watch the defense grow (or Groh!) in the 4th quarter and stop the Tar Heels on 2 consecutive drives to seal this victory.  The fans were great with their support and I’m looking forward to selling out BDS for the rest of the home games this season. This defense has some nice personnel packages and has lots of players contributing every week.  On ST’s we need to be able to boot the ball better on kickoffs beyond the 25 yard line as the Tar Heels started every drive on the 35 yard line and that is too good of field position to keep giving away every week.  Maybe Justin needs to eat more Wheaties!  GT just needs to keep playing hard and get ready for NC State.

  • russ

    I didn’t think about it like that……two defensive stops, back to back, without any offensive help.

    The passing potential just really opens up that offense.  Just plain fun to watch.

    • Michaelgoldfeder

      Hi Russ,

      The defense came up huge this week in crunch time.  This was a good all around win and the team is really starting to show their mettle when it counts in the 4th quarter.  How about that blocked punt!  Tevin is a very effective passer and the protection has been excellent.  The “Goon Squad” is really making it happen this season!  Big game this week against the Wolf pack.