The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets let the coastal division title slip away

Georgia Tech entered this game against the Hokies with a chance to take control of the ACC Coastal Division only needing a loss by UVA in any of their remaining games to win the title outright.  While the Yellow Jackets played hard and battled all night they did not make the plays necessary when needed, but in the end the Hokies did.  So congratulations to Virginia Tech who will in all likelihood be representing the division in the ACC Championship in a rematch game against Clemson. 

Up from my seat at BDS I was unable to ascertain what exactly happened on that sack of quarterback Logan Thomas by Jeremiah Attaochu that resulted in a personal foul penalty.  However, I was able to see later on television replay that the officials made a good call.  While it was a very unfortunate and untimely penalty, it was the correct call and the team now has to move forward and learn from this event by keeping their composure and not giving opponents extra chances to score with the football.  Let me also say that although one play doesn’t necessarily make or break the whole game, each event comes with it a momentum swing which turned out to be the case in this situation.  Nevertheless, the Yellow Jackets had their share of opportunities to prevail and overcome this untimely penalty, but ultimately did not make enough plays on Thursday to win this game.

Under CPJ Georgia Tech has competed in all of their games and that is what I appreciate most as a fan.  While everyone wants to win every game, very few teams each year are able to achieve that lofty goal.  As of this past weekend only Oklahoma State, LSU, and Houston remain undefeated.  The Yellow Jackets have to regroup and get ready to play Duke who are also playing very well while just falling short in several of their games this season.   This season is far from over and I’m looking forward to finishing on a very strong note as I’m certain the entire team is doing the same.  It was great to see once again a very loud and involved crowd at BDS for this game.  The team deserves this support especially considering that no one expected them to have anything close to a winning record this season.

It was pointed out to me several games ago that of the 120 teams in the BCS division, Georgia Tech ranks 119th in experience with only Auburn having a younger roster of players.  With that much inexperience and energy out on the playing field, I can accept a little youthful exuberance from time to time.  So long as we don’t make a habit of it.  I will say this; I like the effort that is being put forth on both sides of the ball and Tevin Washington is doing a very good job running this offense.  What I appreciate even more is that Virginia Tech hates playing against the Georgia Tech triple option, making this game more of a rivalry each season.

  The best way to wash out that sour taste of defeat in a game like this is to go out and get a win on the road next week at Duke setting up a strong finish for the rest of the season.  I hope everyone appreciates that the Yellow Jackets win and lose as a team and no single player or play in a game is any more impactful when viewed in the context of the entire performance.  Otherwise, every tackle made by a defender past the line of scrimmage means that the defensive linemen did not do their job very well.  Offensively, each play that did not result in a score means that several players did not correctly carry out their respective assignments as every play is drawn up to result in a touchdown.

With that mind let’s immediately move past any discussion of any particular event on a play as in the grand scheme of the total team performance, it was but one of many breakdowns that take place in each and every game.  There were times that the triple option was blocked very well and resulted in large gains for this offense, but the Hokies to their credit came up with the conversions they had to outlast the Yellow Jackets in this contest.

Given that in most games the Yellow Jacket defensive line is much lighter than the offensive linemen they have to match up against in the trenches, missed tackles become more impactful resulting in large running yardage by opposing runningbacks.  In essence, Georgia Tech has to play with near perfect alignment on every play to be able to overcome these realities.  I noticed today in watching Wake Forest playing against Clemson that even the offensive line for the Demon Deacons was also in the massive 310+ range.  The big studs that play along the defensive line for Clemson were getting gashed quite often in that contest.

This just reinforces the fact that Georgia Tech cannot afford to give their opponents extra possessions as our defense is not only young, but currently not configured to take on these massive offensive linemen for any extensive time without bearing the consequences of the laws of physics.  Missed tackles on third down and long keep the defense on the field longer and exposes them to more violent collisions that tend to wear down our defensive linemen. 

Think of it as a wrestler weighing 35 to 40 Lbs. less than his opponent in a match, it results in a certain advantage to one over the other.  The best way to negate this situation is to keep the exposure time down to a minimum.  Meaning that Georgia Tech is best when they control the time of possession by keeping the defense rested enough to take on those 310+ folks and avoiding any more repetitions than are absolutely necessary.  I say this to make a point to negate the argument that a particular play had a larger than life impact on the game.  Actually, there were several plays that did that, just as there always are in any game other than the one played by the Yellow Jackets against Cumberland College many moons ago.

It’s time to move on and get ready for Duke by controlling the clock as we usually do when the Yellow Jackets prevail.  Go Jackets!

  • William A Casino Jr

    The only thing that is important now is beating Georgia. With all of the other team goals either achieved (bowl eligible, winning record) or out of reach (ACCCG), the last big accomplishment is going 2-2 with UGA under PJ’s watch. I know that we shouldn’t look past Duke, but that game is a stepping stone to a one level better bowl game at best. The UGA game is something much more important. I hope and expect to see our guys at their best on Thanksgiving weekend. Put this one behind us – VT was the better team without question. Imagine how invincible we would be if we had their QB.


    • Michaelgoldfeder

      Hi GT Nuke,

      I will really start to feel better if we go into the Duke and put up a solid win.  Duke has been playing very good football this season, but we need to make a statement in that contest.  Then, and only then will I start to feel much better about the upcoming UGA game.  But I need to see this team come out and get a convincing win on the road.

      VT played a very good ball game, but we helped them out with some ill timed penalties.  However, time to move on and finish the rest of the schedule and bowl game in a positive manner. 

  • Jackets Dad

    Michael:  The crowd was loud and into the game — as much as they were for the Clemson game.  It was a little cold for the white out (I was glad I had a white sweater), but a great evening for football.  While I agree with you that we shouldn’t blame the whole game on one play, I have to say that the play with Attaochu’s penalty was a turning point.  Instead of getting the ball back near midfield while up by five points, the Hokies took advantage of all the air going out of the defense to score and take the lead.

    Having said that, you are right that we now need to focus on the Duke game.  We can’t afford to let Thursday night’s loss mark the end of the season.

    OBTW, I agree with CPJ’s decision to go for it on 4th and 1 on our 31 — we should have been able to make a yard and couldn’t afford to give the ball back to them the way they were controlling the clock…

    Go Jackets!  THWG!

    • Michaelgoldfeder

      Hi Jackets Dad,

      Well put.  I have no issue with going for it on our 31 yard line at that point in the game.  Frankly, even we had to punt the ball again, the cold night air made it like kicking a rock and the prior punts didn’t travel that far all evening anyway.  I’m more than willing to put the penalty aside as Attaochu is playing some great football and there were several other plays that had some momentum swings at their own particular point in the game, but that serves no positive purpose for anyone.  Time to get a “W” at Duke.